Fact or Fiction, Article 3
Happy Friday everybody and welcome to the third article of the “Fact or Fiction” series. In conjunction with SportsMEDiscussion, we are going to be bringing you weekly Sports Medicine related information, but with a twist. Our goal is to give you quality scientific information that interests you, but in an informal, laid-back way. We hope that you use this information to finish your week of right, or start your next week off strong!
Hips Don’t Lie...
By Austin Martinez, MS, ATC, CSCS
Yes, Shakira was right... today we are going to talk about hip strength and how it affects knee pain. Last week, I wrote about how treating the source of an injury, rather than where the pain is presenting. This is always the best option and starting rehabilitation exercises are key. Let’s transfer that information to the knee, your first instinct is to start doing a bunch of exercises for the knee and think it’s going to get better... makes sense because that’s where the pain is. But research has shown us that the hip plays a MAJOR role with knee pain. In fact, when two patients with patellofemoral pain syndrome (general pain around the kneecap) began two separate rehab programs, the patient with the hip rehab reported better outcomes compared to knee rehab. This included no pain, more function and they were able to complete daily activities of life. Your body needs a strong foundation to work efficiently, for the lower extremity (hips and below), the hips are a large contributor. When I explain this to my patients I try to create a metaphor. “Imagine standing on some sand or a concrete sidewalk and you have to jump 5 feet. Is it going to be easier if you’re standing on the sand or concrete?” The answer is pretty obvious. The main reason for this decrease in pain is because of something called proprioception, which is “knowing where you or a body part is in space.” Not outer space, but the space around you. The researchers claim that increasing hip strength (your base) increases your ability to control your lower half and know where it is in space. People with chronic knee pain lack this ability. Therefore, they aren’t able to control their knee when completing different activities, potentially putting more undue stress on the joint.
In the end, the best option is to add exercises focusing on both hip and knee, this will be most effective. Next week we’ll be coming at you with fixes for your back pain, so stay tuned.