The Danger Of Too Much Knee Flexion
Firstly when I refer to over-use I am not only referring to exercise but every day movements we think nothing of like sitting. In one of our articles from last year we examined how much damage is placed upon the discs in the spine from hours of repeated sitting. What surprises most people is the damage sitting causes to the knee which many would not even consider to be a problem.
The quadriceps muscle attaches directly to the knee cap and then the knee cap attaches directly to the tibia. This forms a strap. As the knee flexes further and further the strap tightens and compresses the patella into what is called the trochlear groove causing compression within the joint. If it is left in this position for too long and especially if you love to tuck your legs under the chair it is inevitably going to cause problems at the knee. This is one reason why people with knee pain find it difficult to stand up after prolonged sitting and it takes a while for their knees to loosen up. By leaving their body stuck in this position compressing the joint for a long period of time the body will react to this stress by stiffening muscles surrounding the joint to protect it from more harm, which only serves to make things worse as time goes on.
The more the knee goes into flexion and the harder the quadriceps contracts, the greater the forces on the patellofemoral joint.
Activities that require more knee bending tend to place larger stresses through the patella femoral joint:
What Are Quad Trigger Points
The quad muscles are a hearty bunch and can take a lot of abuse. But that also means quadriceps stretching and working out quadriceps pain can be quite a task.
There are a few different areas in the quad muscles that can be identified as trigger points. Trigger points in the quadriceps are basically knots in quad muscles that cause aches and pain there and elsewhere.
Theyre usually easily treatable with effective targeted massage and isolated or active isolated stretches. However, you need to know how to stretch your quads for effective relief.
Could One Of These 4 Things Be Causing Your Knee Pain
1. Tight Hamstrings
Can you touch your toes? No? Well, neither can most people. In todays chair-bound society, 3 things are certain;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; 1. You wish youd bought shares in Google,;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; 2. You never seem to get as many Facebook likes as your friends do, and;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; 3. Unless you stretch regularly, you have tight hamstrings.
Patello-femoral pain syndrome, an extremely common knee condition responsible for approximately 30% of presentations to sport injury clinics, is known to be linked to tight hamstrings. Tightness in the rear compartment of your leg , creates increased strain in the patello-femoral joint which can result in irritation of the joint.
2. Poor hip biomechanics
There are lots of different things that could lead to faulty hip biomechanics: weak gluteal and abdominnal muscles, tight calves, increased or reduced mobility at the ankle joint, among many other things. If your hips arent behaving correctly when you are standing, walking, running, or jumping , they can cause imbalances at your knee joints. This can result in patello-femoral conditions, arthritis, Osgood-Schlatters disease, patella or quadriceps tendinopathies, and more.;
4. Your spine
Well there we have it. There are lots of reasons why your knee could be hurting, and weve just mentioned a few of the more common ones. This list is by no means exhaustive, so make an appointment to see your LifeForce physio to begin getting on top of that knee pain! ;
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How Do Tight Quads Affect Your Athletic Performance
- Lower back and knee pain. Tight quads and weak glutes and hamstrings leads to a lack of mobility in the hips and knees that is often experienced as pain in the lower back and behind the knees.
- Reduced power and speed. When the quads are not restored to their optimal length, they are unable to produce maximal force.
- Compromised movement patterns.;Tight muscles restrict freedom of movement and this, unfortunately, is exacerbated with frequent repetition.
Tight Hamstrings And Their Relationship To Knee Pain
A muscle naturally begins to get smaller or waste away when it is not being used or when its nerve supply has been disrupted.
One study found that when the hamstrings muscles are smaller when compared to the quadriceps muscles , MRI showed more signs of knee meniscus and cartilage degeneration or swelling. In addition, when the inside quadriceps muscle was bigger than the outside portion, the researchers found the same thing.
What would cause the hamstrings muscles atrophy?
Again, we have to examine the low back. Weve seen a connection for many years between low-back nerve irritation and knee arthritis. The low-back nerves that supply your hamstrings are the most commonly irritated nerves in the back.
We believe, and the research supports, that this low-back nerve irritation can cause hamstrings to weaken and atrophy over time, making them less able to support and protect the knee. Lets focus in a bit more on this back, hamstrings, and knee connection.
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Determine If You Need To Stretch The Quadriceps And Hip Flexors
This is where it can get a bit messy for I will say with some people this is a great thing to do but of others I will avoid it completely and focus on releasing the posterior hip muscles. People who have just recently had knee surgery this step is absolutely CRITICAL and considerable time must be spend restoring mobility with flexion and extension to the joint. I cannot tell you how many people I have seen post ACL reconstruction surgery who skipped this stage only to be left with a permanently locked knee afterwards. In these cases stretching is essential.
For people with general knee stiffness however it is not so simple. The key is to identify what their pelvic posture is in static movement and also when they move. I will find stretching of the quads and anterior hip muscles beneficial only to those who have an .
The anterior pelvic tilt provides your lumbar spine with a small lordosis curve which is perfectly normal. This position is essential to the health of the spine and provides a stable and strong base required for efficient movement. Problems arise when there is either too much curve or not enough curvature of the spine and this is greatly influenced by the position of the pelvis.
A Quick Look At The Parts
Anyone who has knee pain knows exactly which activities they can and cant do without exacerbating their problem. For some people walking can be a trigger, while for others it might require something more dynamic like running. To understand why these seemingly simple and natural actions may cause knee pain, you first need to appreciate how the parts of the body should move when engaging in these activities.
When you are walking or running, you transfer weight from side-to-side as you step forward with alternating feet. Part of this weight transfer is possible because the feet have the capability to roll inward toward each other . When the foot pronates, the ankle rolls in with it, which in turn helps rotate the lower leg, knee and thigh toward the midline of the body. Simply put, the mobility of the foot and ankle enables the tibia and fibula to rotate inward. The femur , which fits into the pelvis to form the hip socket, should also rotate inward in time with the lower leg when the foot pronates.
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Using Single Leg Exercises To Control Knee Alignment
This last part puts all the remaining pieces together and exposes many of the problems with reflex stability which is not to be confused with strength. I find a lot of clients will be able to improve quickly at the squat but will find this much more difficult. Usually I will start with the single leg deadlift before progressing to the more difficult . Especially for the person who is in posterior tilt for this movement is the correction to their postural fault. It allows the head of the femur back into the glide deep into the acetabulum as it is meant to for optimal stability and centration of the joint and begins to restore their anterior tilt. For the person with too much anterior tilt I may prefer the single leg squat to begin with.
But the best part of these exercises is they require the foot and hip to work together in harmony to create the perfect alignment at the knee. And once this correct alignment is achieved and becomes an automatic program it reduces the stress on the knee and the patella therefor improving mobility as the body sees no need to create stiffness to protect itself.
There is a lot of moving parts to consider so it can take some time to get right and you will make many mistakes in the learning process. An awesome video to watch below explains all the things you need to look for when performing a single leg movement.
The Secret Or Hip Flexion Can Tight Quads Cause Hip Flexor Pain
Hip flexors are not weak, and also they execute a great deal of difficult activities. Nonetheless, harming them could make them weak. Target to decrease stress and also tear on these muscles. However, you might not have the ability to predict the movement in hip flexion at all times. When you are running, the motion is distinct, as well as when you perform stretches, it is additionally different. So, the key is to acknowledge the effect of flexion and also regulate activity.
The secret to unlock hip flexors and also prevent all hip flexor troubles is to consider the primary muscular tissues connecting to the legs and also assisting the hips. You will realize that the muscles have such names as iliopsoas, adductors, quadriceps, glutes, as well as hamstrings, however many people concentrate on the front of the hips.
Hip muscles get limited or stiff when you sit as well long, stroll upstairs with a wrong stance, draw hamstrings, or fall on the hips. The hip muscular tissues additionally consist of the various other team of muscles called adductors, which aid to uplift the legs towards the groin and centerline. The adductors become part of the hip flexors.
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Final Word Can Tight Quads Cause Hip Flexor Pain
You now recognize how to unlock hip flexors and also the hip flexor problems that you will certainly address. Bear in mind that some hip flexor problems are not straightforward, as well as you might require the support of a medical professional or professional. Try to avoid extreme pain as well as speak with an expert or doctor when you have any kind of issues.
Ultimately, share this information with anyone that might take advantage of much better hip versatility, as well as likewise do not hesitate to educate us regarding anything that we might deal with below.Can Tight Quads Cause Hip Flexor Pain
Pain Swelling And Knee Stiffness
First lets talk about pain: Its the bodys way of preventing you from making an injury worse. Since pain may limit movement, it can cause stiffness in the knees, as can any ongoing injury.
Knees become swollen when excess fluid builds up inside the knee due to an injury, overuse, or medical condition. This can cause sensations of tightness as well as pain. Swelling may be subtle, so you may not always notice it unless its a severe injury. Since the swelling may not be visible, you may feel this as stiffness in the knee.
Any type of swelling will cause limited movement since theres less space in the knee. Irritation, internal bleeding, and injuries in the knee can lead to fluid buildup. Arthritis, gout, and tumors or cysts are conditions that can also cause swelling.
Pain and swelling are two mechanisms your body uses to protect itself. Together they can lead to stiffness in your knee. Next, lets look at possible causes.
The Kneeling Quad Stretch
A slightly different form of quad stretch, this position will help to loosen the muscles just above the knee joint, increasing mobility and preventing knee pain.
Tight Hamstrings And Their Impact On Knee Pain
A group of researchers looked at the size of the hamstrings muscle versus the quadriceps . Why would size matter? A muscle gets smaller either when its not being used or its nerve supply is poor. Remember big strapping ex-superman Christopher Reeves? After a spinal cord injury, despite having the best electrical stimulation exercise equipment money could buy, his muscles shriveled up. This is mostly because a muscle gets naturally smaller when its nerve supply is disrupted. This research group also looked at these ratios against fancy MRI images of the knee that measured early signs of cartilage and meniscus wear and tear. They found that patients with smaller hamstrings muscles versus quadriceps had more MRI signs of cartilage and meniscus swelling and degeneration. In addition, when the inside quadriceps muscle was bigger than the outside portion, the researchers found the same thing.
The upshot? If your hamstrings;are tight, you may want to hit the gym to see if theyre also weak. If;you can do much more weight on the knee extension machine than you can do on the knee flexion machine , you may have;a problem with muscular imbalance. You may also want to consider;having a qualified specialist check to see if a low back nerve may;be the problem. Regardless, strengthening weak hamstrings to help your aching knees may well be worth a shot!
Chris Centeno, MD
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How To Stretch Your Quadriceps Muscles
- Stand next to a chair or wall.
- Grasp the ankle, with the hand on the same side, and pull it back and up.
- Keep the leg you are stretching parallel to the leg you are standing on. DO NOT flare your leg out.
- Keep the knee on which you are standing slightly bent.
- Maintain an upright posture. DO NOT arch your back nor lean forward.
- Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds .;
- Repeat same for other side
- Stretch each side 3 times
It is important to note that you should feel only a comfortable stretch in the front of your thigh
If you are unable to hold your ankle and keep a good posture, you can place your ankle on a bench or chair, as in;picture to the left. Place pillows or blankets on the chair to make it the right height for a comfortable stretch.
About the Author
Domenic Lopez B.Sc., is a;Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, licensed Massage Therapist and;owner of Healthy Moves, a private practice where massage therapy and movement education help you achieve better living.
DisclaimerSuggestions made in this blog are no substitute for medical advice. If you have any pain or difficulty performing this stretch seek advice from your appropriate health professional.
Pain In Your Quadriceps How Targeting Quad Trigger Points Can Help
A pain in the quad is, well, a big pain!; After all, the Quadriceps muscle group is one of the largest muscle groups in the body. If you have a muscle tear or strain in this group of muscles, it can cause a log of leg pain and be very debilitating.
But you may be surprised that what you think you know about your quad pain is only half the story.
If you feel you have a quadricep injury or quadricep strain, or if youre experiencing persistent discomfort or chronic pain, learn more about how honing in on quad trigger points can help you avoid aches altogether, including joint pain.
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Examples Of Quad Trigger Points
Quad trigger points are often the cause of larger pains in the knees and hips and the thigh itself. Its also common to experience back pain as a result of tight quads.
A trigger point in the rectus femoris often shows up as deep knee pain. Even though the aches are in the knee, the trigger point is actually in the hip area.
A single-leg stretch, a great stretch for runners, can really hone in on this trigger point.
Another close relative to quad pain is tightness in the IT band. This is a thick band of tissue that runs all the way from the hip to the knee and on the outside part of the thigh. IT Band Syndrome pain is often combined with knee soreness. Aches there are often related to an IT band trigger point in the vastus lateralis.
There really arent any stretches that can effectively target this trigger point. You may want to see a physical therapist that can release the knots in the vastus lateralis and ask about foam-rolling techniques.
How Do Tight Hamstrings Relate To Knee Pain
The hamstrings are biarticular, they will affect the health of the knee, hip and even back.; Most athletes who are tight in their hamstrings can suffer a host of problems.
For example, when squatting with a heavy weight, they will not be able to lower their hips past 90 degrees.; This keeps them working in a safe mid range zone, but exasperates the issue as the hamstring will not be fully lengthened. Then when it comes time to explode out of the squat, the full length of the hamstring muscles are not utilized.; This can get into a vicious circle, ending in weak and tight hamstrings.
If the hamstrings are too tight and do not allow full hip extension, the quadriceps will take over from the inefficient hamstrings, putting a tremendous load and strain on the knee. All four quadriceps converge to form a single tendon above the knee that attaches to the top and sides of the patella, before attaching via the patellar ligament to the tibial tuberosity.;Therefore, if the quadriceps group works needlessly overtime, its going to affect the knee.
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