27 Feb 2017
Pre-season knee pain or niggles can be a real frustration but why do they happen and what can you do about them?
The lead up to the summer for many athletes can mean a change of training, an increase in load and an attempt to ‘nip’ up before the athletics, cricket, mountain bike or whatever summer sport you do, hots up.
In clinic we quite frequently see, around this time, a lot of knee pain. This includes complaints of pain or discomfort around the knee. There are many potential causes for this and only one of those causes we will discuss in this short blog.
Commonly an increase in training can lead to a new set of stressors, a slightly different posture maybe, or slight change to your gait (or stride pattern). Runners for example will know that to run at pace requires a slightly different muscle set to jogging.
If you skip your cool downs, or regular maintenance stretching, very quickly your gluts and hamstrings can start to increase in tone and become ‘up regulated’ by your nervous system giving you what you will feel as ‘tight gluts’. Subsequently the joints that these muscles protect or facilitate movement in can become 'tight', and potentially may not be working at their optimum. There are a number of ways to demonstrate this change but often it manifests as knee pain… but why?
Our gluts externally rotate our hip, our normal gait requires us to ‘toe off’ with our big toe. The knee, to put it simply is caught in the middle of these actions. The stress therefore on the knee becomes an irritator to the tissues of the knee or stabilising structures of the knee on the inside or sometimes the outside of the knee.
So what is the solution? Well, prevention is always better that cure. So look after yourself. Don’t skip cool down jogs or spins, stretch when you get home, consider your everyday posture to prevent adaptive shortening of muscle groups throughout the day. In our clinic we find treatment that addresses how the body functions such as chiropractic, is perfect for this kind of issue and prevention of this kind of complaint. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it. Ignoring irritated tissue can lead to tendon problems and these issues can really keep us out of our sport for some time.
Most of all, we want you to be fit and able to enjoy what you do!