Why Strengthen the Hips for Knee Pain?

Why Strengthen the Hips for Knee Pain?

A common question that patients ask their physical therapist is “why are you treating my hip when I am coming in for knee pain?” This is a valid question and one that warrants discussion. After all, in order to heal and get better, you want an understanding of why you’re doing what you’re doing.

The lower extremity is one big chain of anatomical connections (recall the song “the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone…”). In other words, the muscles in your trunk and hip have a direct connection to your knees and even your feet and ankles. Considering movement in general, it’s an obvious thing to note that movement doesn’t happen in isolation. Movement occurs (and is successful) when muscles unite as a group and work together in order to facilitate ease of joint motion. This principle makes sense when you think of the whole body as a chain. If there’s a kink in the lower extremity chain, then the system is likely to be altered. Example: if your knee is painful, usually certain muscles within the hip or core have also either become weak and/or adopted an altered movement strategy (i.e. a bad habit). The old ‘chicken or the egg’ adage comes into play here: what came first, the painful knee or the weak core/hip muscles? After all, your core and hip muscles are noted to be your center of gravity and “power house,” and if they aren’t working properly, then the lower extremity joints often sound the alarm system. This same concept applies to feet and ankles. The foot and ankle need the core and hip muscles and vice versa. After all, chains operate most efficiently when all components are in working order.

The notion that the “knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone” helps us view the entire body as one working unit. If we only evaluate and treat individual joints, then we miss the larger picture of what truly is the source of the problem. This is what keeps movement and the rehabilitation process fun and interesting (well, physical therapists are biased). So next time your ankle and/or knee is giving you fits, consider the hips and the core as a potential starting point to getting the chain up and running again.

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Covid-19 Notice

06/09/2020 Covid-19 Notice:

Our clinics are open for in-clinic physical therapy visits, telemedicine physical therapy visits and virtual Pilates sessions. This allows us to comply as much as possible with the phased reopening of WA State, while also meeting our obligation as essential infrastructure workers. For in clinic treatment, the PT will wear a mask and patient needs to wear a mask of their own, social distancing is observed throughout the clinic and rigorous cleaning guidelines will be followed. At times during your treatment, it may not be possible for your PT to observe social distancing, such as during certain manual therapy techniques. The need for in-clinic treatment vs. telehealth treatment will be a joint determination between you and your PT. You may review our Covid-19 Exposure Control, Mitigation and Recovery Plan for the details of how we provide safe in-person care.

We are grateful for and support all of our clients who have been able to march and protest in support of Black Lives Matter. In order to continue to provide the safest clinic experience possible for our clients and providers, we are asking that any client who has participated in a march or protest do one of the following: 1.) Switch to telehealth visits for 14 days. 2.) Get tested for Covid-19 and provide us with negative results. Note that Seattle's mayor has cleared the way for those who march to get tested without symptoms and encourages participants to get tested. 3.) Wait 14 days after marching/protesting to return to the clinic. Thank you for understanding that this policy is in place to allow us to meet our responsibility to all clients, which is to do no harm.

We remain passionate about helping you improve and maintain the function of your movement system so that you can do the activities you love. We invite you to follow/Like our  Facebook page, where I am offering complimentary weekly Pilates mat class on Fridays at 7am. All are welcome to participate in these classes or view them anytime on our Facebook page.

Please contact me directly with any questions or concerns. Be in touch with your PT to schedule your physical therapy visit. We are available via clinic phone (206-535-7356) and email (elizabeth@elizabethrogerspt.com). We will update you here and our Facebook page as things change.

Thank you for your support of this small, locally-owned physical therapy private practice!

Elizabeth Rogers, PT

Owner, Elizabeth Rogers Pilates & Physical Therapy, PLLC