The alignment of your knees greatly affects your gait and your gait greatly affects the way your body feels. If you have genu valgum, known as knocked knees, or the opposite problem, valgus angulation, your body is going to eventually let you know that it is not happy with the situation. When that happens, it’s time to act quickly to find a remedy!
Just like the vehicles that we drive, when the alignment is off, the tires (or in our case feet) start to wear improperly. If your knees bend in, it puts more weight on the inner foot. For knees that point outward the opposite is true. The negative chain of events can unfortunately spread upward to hips, back and eventually the neck area when the foundation of our structure is compromised. To make matters worse, for every pound over your ideal weight that your knees are carrying around, the problem intensifies.
Our bodies are amazing at adapting to less than perfect dynamics, but after a bit of time of being forced to comprise it will eventually loose the battle and start to break down. The feet might develop plantar fasciitis, which is a painful chronic foot pain that can take months to heal. From the feet up, nothing is off limits to go wrong when the base of support is off.
Plan of Attack
The best way to approach this is with a three pronged attack! You’ll need a
- Orthopedic Doctor
- Personal Trainer
- Massage Therapist
It’s a major project when your foundation is off, so it takes a team of three to get the job done. Working with all three simultaneously is the key to a speedier recovery and a less chance of re-occurrence.
Traditionally treatment for this kind of problem is orthotics to help change the biomechanical pattern of the foot and ankle complex. This will help support the foot and ankle to prevent it from collapsing toward the inner or outer side, keeping it in a more vertical position. Overtime, this will also help develop neurological compliance with the correct position for your foot and ankle. Over many years of having the wrong position, your brain starts believing that it is in the correct position, despite the fact that your muscles and joints are screaming that they are in the wrong position. Orthotics help bring back unity in your body.
While orthotics force the foot and ankle to comply, proper strengthening exercises will help the body resist being in the wrong position to begin with. Weak muscles and tight muscle will cause the body to become out of alignment. Although beneficial, it is not enough to simply work on strengthening the appropriate muscles, because the brain has been wired to accept the position that the foot and ankle has been in for years as correct. Try as you might to perfect the muscles, the brain will naturally try to move as it has done in the past. The orthotics will help introduce muscles to the correct position and as they are strengthened the two will come together beautifully.
Massage therapy is one of the most effective treatments for soft-tissue intervention. The intention of this massage is to loosen and increase extensibility of the tissue to make it free to move and to reduce overuse trauma. As you are building your strength and flexibility and wearing your orthotics, It will also reduce some of the aches and pains that you are experiencing as symptoms of the re-alignment process.
The bottom line is that if you are aware that your alignment is off, now is the time to take steps to correct this before chronic painful symptoms flare up. If you are already experiencing pain and suspect that it could be associated with your knees or other posture issues, get your team together as soon as possible to negate further problems. Any qualified orthopedic doctor, personal trainer or massage therapist should be able to assess your gait and recommend a strategic plan.
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