Guide to happy knees

a Mallorca Physiotherapy blog article

All about the knees

Knees can be “knobbly” or “chubby”, “bandy” or “knock”, and most importantly they can either be happy or sad…

It is so important to look after your knees, regardless of whether you are an athlete, you only get the one pair after all!

Many patients hobble into my clinic with knee pain of various causes. However, there is often a common factor…

“Poor patellar tracking” – What is that when it’s at home?

Well, sit yourself down and I’ll explain…

The knee joint is pretty complex, it’s made up of the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone) and the patella (kneecap). These are connected by a network of ligaments.

The kneecap sits in a groove at the end of the thigh bone, cushioned by a layer of shock-absorbing cartilage. This isn’t an accident…or a fluke…there is a very good reason for this design! When the kneecap sits nicely in its groove, the slippery cartilage on the underside makes sure that every bend of the knee is a nice, smooth, resistance-free movement, with not a creak to be heard!

There’s a but…

Here comes the “BUT”… In many cases, the kneecap isn’t just out of its groove, it’s lacking some serious rhythm!

The thigh muscles are designed to work together to produce movement at the knee. That is, the inner thigh muscles and the outer ones (collectively known as the Quads). However, very often the inner quads are a bit slack in their duties! Add into the mix a tight ITB (a band of fibres running from the hip to the outside of the knee) and you’ve got yourself a problem!

The kneecap is now perching, rather uncomfortably on the outer ridge of the groove…so what? Well, now every bend of the knee causes some rather unpleasant friction between the bony surfaces as it’s lost the comfy cartilage cushion. This leads to joint wear, inflammation, pain and general misery.

So what to do? Well, wake up your inner quads muscles (namely the VMO) and stretch out that pesky ITB and the kneecap can ease gently back into its rightful home, snug as a bug in a…groove!

Don’t be fooled that just by wearing supports on the knees, they’ll thank you later…they won’t! You need correct patellar tracking for truly happy knees.

You’re welcome!

Lauren Rigg

Mallorca Physiotherapy

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