Many researchers would agree that the knee is one of the most complex joints in the human body. It is also one of the most imperfect and most easily injured. However, Raleigh Chiropractor Dr. Michael Hoehle helps patients keep their knee joints in top form and ward off knee injuries with all-natural approaches.
Addressing the Source of Knee Injuries with Chiropractic Care
Knee injuries stem from many different sources. Read on to learn about these sources and how chiropractic care can help address them.
ACL, MCL and Meniscus Problems
The three most common knee injuries occur at the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the meniscus. The ACL is located inside the knee joint and stabilizes the joint by preventing the shin-bone (tibia) from sliding forward beneath the thighbone (femur). A hard twist or excessive pressure on the ACL can tear it, so that the knee gives out and can no longer support the body.
The MCL, located inside the knee, is another crucial knee stabilizer. MCL injuries often occur simultaneously with those affecting the ACL.
The meniscus is a wedge-like rubbery cushion where the major bones of your leg connect. The meniscus helps the knee joint carry weight, glide and turn in many directions. It also keeps your femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone) from grinding against each other.
While athletes often injure their ACL, MCL and menisci through twisting, pivoting and cutting motions that stress the knee joints, older people may suffer from knee injuries simply through the degenerative wear and tear of life.
Spinal Misalignment and Knee Strain
Although not directly connected to the knees, misaligned spinal bones (vertebrae) can wreak havoc on body posture and spark poor spinal alignment resulting in a cascade of improper kenetic chain problems.
How do spinal misalignments affect the knees? Sacroiliac (SI) and lumbar (low-back) misalignments may affect hip and, in turn, leg alignment, making one leg “shorter” than the other. This puts disproportionate strain on the entire lower body, including the knees.
Dr. Hoehle uses safe, all-natural manipulations known as chiropractic adjustments to care for patients with this all-too-common condition.
Hip Misalignment and Knee Pain
Clinical evaluation shows that anterior knee pain — at the front of the knee — is typically associated with SI joint dysfunction. This critical joint is located next to the spine and connects the sacrum (the triangular bone at the bottom of the spine) with the illium (pelvic bones).
The theory is that SI dysfunction may contribute to muscle inhibition, leading to knee pain. In a study of 18 patients with substantial muscle tightness and related knee pain, all showed significant improvement after chiropractic adjustment to the SI. A subsequent study involving 28 patients with anterior knee pain produced the same positive results.
Dr. Hoehle corrects SI dysfunction with chiropractic adjustments to the bones of the low back and pelvis.
Osteoarthritis, Knee Pain and Chiropractic Care
Osteoarthritis (OA) erodes protective cartilage in knee joints. When this occurs, bones rub against each other, causing pain, bone spurs and degenerative changes.
Restricted movement is a major instigator of OA. Fortunately, regular chiropractic care optimizes range of motion, preventing OA.
“Knock Knees” and “Bow Legs”
The causes of knock knees and bow legs are quite complex. While most children outgrow these conditions, they may instigate future knee problems lasting into adulthood.
A study of school-age girls between the ages of 7 and 11 concluded that knee structure may alter posture and negatively impact the quality of life during childhood and adulthood. That’s why it’s essential to understand the importance of posture. Fortunately, regular chiropractic visits help maintain optimal posture and healthy knees.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is a generally benign, self-limited knee condition most commonly found in rapidly growing and athletically active adolescents.
Warning signs include tenderness in the knee area, as well as pain and swelling. Symptoms are exacerbated with sporting activities that involve jumping (basketball, volleyball, running) and/or on direct contact (e.g., kneeling). The good news is that almost all patients respond well to non-operative treatment that includes rest, icing, activity modification, chiropractic care, and rehabilitation exercises.