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The Chiropractic Approach to Knee Rehabilitation

By Michael Cole

The knee is a more complex joint than it might seem at first look. Yes, it is basically a single hinge joint that only bends one way with no possibility of rotation. However, it is also the largest joint of its kind in the human body and bears much of its weight while walking. To keep it strong enough for this function, evolution has designed it be crossed by more than a dozen separate muscles originating from different places in the body. Furthermore, several smaller joints and muscle group add to the knee joint's motion, function, and stability.

The knee quickly becomes  a complex structure upon deeper examination requiring many ligaments to function. These ligaments are essential for delivering the power generated by the motion of the hip, pelvis, and gluteal muscles to the knee while walking. For this power to arrive in the knee, four ligaments that create a three-dimensional cross between the tibia and femur are required. As long as the tendons hold these bones together with the correct degree of tension, walking is a painless and easy affair.

This crossing of four ligaments can be likened to certain tools created by humans, such as vise-grips, water pumps, car jacks, oil well pumps, folding chair joints, and umbrellas. Testimony is paid to the efficiency of this set-up by prosthetic knee joints for amputees, which try to mimic the natural design of the knee. 

Knees and Seniors

When older patients experience knee problems, as is common for seniors, performing sit-to-stand motions can become difficult. To utilize the natural effectiveness of the knee, chiropractors train older patients to use a flex of their gluteal muscles while standing up from a sitting position to transfer power down to the knee joints. Eventually the conscious utilization of this muscle group for this purpose becomes second nature and the health risks of invasive knee surgery and anesthesia can be avoided.

A Chiropractic Role

Chiropractors will also recommend certain exercises to rehabilitate the knee, such as closed-chain motion lunges. Squatting motions and gluteal bridging are also helpful in this regard. Exercises that emphasize open-chain motions of the knee, such as leg extensions and leg curls, however, should be avoided. 

Interestingly enough, chiropractors assert that a reliable factor in maintaining painless knee functionality is to develop the gluteal muscles. These overlooked muscles contribute power along the four main tendons that cross in the knee and this strength protects the knee from injury and promotes athletic ability.

Although backpain is typically associated with seeking the care of a chiropractor, these doctors commonly examine knees, ankles, ribs, wrists, shoulders and elbows. With the all-important spinal cord encased within the spine, it's clear that chiropractic is an all-body healthcare option. At The Joint Chiropractic, there's no need to bother with insurance or appointments, and the hours are accessible, open weekends and extended hours on weekdays.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Clayton, Mo.

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