Don't Let Pain Below the Knee Stop You from Enjoying Your Summer!
Finally, we are getting some nice weather here in Ontario!
The beginning of summer, when many people become more active, is a time of the year when injuries are very prevalent. Often injuries are from over-use/repetitive stress or from increased intensity. I wanted to go over four injuries from the knee down that are very common this time of year because of this increase in activity. Hopefully,this can serve as a guide as to what to do if you experience these pains and/or to avoid any pains below the knees this summer!
Patello-Femoral PainSyndrome (PFPS)
The pathognomonic feature to this is that the patient will describe the issue as painful when going up the stairs but markedly worse when he/she is going down the stairs. As well,note that it is often from an overexertion. So, if you were cycling or runningyou might have to scale back from the intensity, dial down the tension, and/or stretch yourself/see a professional for deeper stretching techniques.
In this case, the pathognomonic feature is that the pain gets worse when you go from rest to increased movement (i.e.worse when you wake up and start walking). After a few minutes of walking/running the pain will often reduce/stop but as soon as you stop and rest for 20 minutes, it’s those first few steps you take that will bring back that pain to which you will find yourself hobbling on that ankle. So, finding the proper shoe for the activity is key. See a professional to help you get that activity dependant, supportive shoe. As well, to get rid of the pain and possible scar tissue build up, your Chiropractic Doctor and/or a Sports Medicine Doctor can help definitively diagnose your issue and treat the fascia to help speed up recovery of the tears/scar tissue build up in your heel/base of foot.
SO, WHAT DO WE DO?
1) SLOWLY RAMP UP! Prepare your muscles for this increase in intensity.
Strengthen the Vastus Medialis Muscle. The quads are made up of four muscles and so with Patella Femoral Pain Syndrome we end up having an imbalance in the pulley system of the quads pulling on the patella/kneecap which is why we get bad tracking, pain, and inflammation.
Strengthen the Tibialis Anterior Muscle. Begin with Toe tapping. Keep heels on the floor and lift the front of the foot off the floor.The key is endurance, so, if you are able to do about 80 of those in a row then you are probably able to start running/activity again without injury.
Proper support and Stretch the Plantar Fascia. If you can get your hands on a golf ball use it! Place the ball under your foot and roll it from your heel to your toes. Make sure you are on a surface that is not slippery or the ball will slide too much.
Stretch the Achilles Tendon. Before you exercise do a dynamic stretch by standing with the balls of your feet on a stair. Then drop both ankles off the stair with a count of two and then lift both ankles up until youare on your toes with a count of two. Repeat that movement ten times. After the exercise, cool down with a static stretch for the calf muscles. While standing, hold onto a high enough table or have hands on a wall and step back with your right foot keeping your ankle on the floor. Hold that there for 15 seconds. Note, that if you do not have a stair for the first dynamic stretch then you can do the static stretch but lift the ankle up until you are on your toes and back down holding each position for a count of only two seconds. Also note that the theory of dynamic stretching (i.e. jumping, lunging, etc. to increase blood flow and moving the muscles) before exercising and static (i.e.holding the stretch to elongate the muscles) stretching after exercising is true for all activities to help all muscles warm up, cool down and to prevent injury.
These stretches and exercises are not the be-all-and-end-all because they are only one of several that are needed for each injury. See your Chiropractic Doctor if you have previously or currently experience the pains that I discussed above. Chiropractors have the education and training to help you avoid injury and diagnose your injury in order for you to recover from any pains.
If you have any questions about the above blog and/or wish to learn more about injuries of the rest of the body send your comments to JointCare.firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if you would like to make an appointment please call 905-853-1490.
Dr. Alexandra Bouharevich, DC, MHK, BHK
Chiropractor, Rehabilitation Specialist, and Graston Technique Provider