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

3/27/2020 Covid-19 Notice:

On March 19th, we made the difficult, yet important decision to close both clinics, in order to do our part to flatten the curve. We will reopen the clinics part time on Monday, April 6th, with an emphasis on telemedicine. This will allow us to comply as much as possible with the governor's Stay Home Stay Healthy order if it is extended, while also meeting our obligation as essential infrastructure workers. According to Dr. Matos, an expert in biological surety and the management of select agent programs at federal facilities: "Physical therapists are essential in flattening the curve of the Covid-19 pandemic. They play a key role in keeping people they can help out of doctors' offices and ER's. This will not only free up the medical teams to treat those impacted by Covid-19, but also limit the exposure of those seeking the care of the physical therapist." To that end, we will focus on telemedicine, but also allow for select, necessary in-office treatments for low risk, healthy individuals. This will be a joint determination between you and your PT. Many, if not all of our patients, have come to appreciate the effectiveness and efficiency of the hands-on manual therapy techniques our physical therapists use to help relieve pain and improve function. So, we recognize that a telemedicine visit may not seem as appealing. At this time, telemedicine is the appropriate and safe way to continue your care without further interruption and your physical therapists are prepared to alter their approach in order to still provide effective care.

During our temporary closure, your physical therapists have been on unemployment and not able to contribute to our communities financially as they normally would like to. Getting back to work, providing your care will allow us to resume caring for you and our community. For every telemedicine visit we provide in April, the clinic will donate $5 to the following organizations:

Kelsea Cannon, PT- Westside Baby
Lauren Esmailka, PT- Treehouse
Elizabeth Rogers, PT- Rainier Valley Food Bank

We remain passionate about helping you improve and maintain the function of your movement system so that you can do the activities you love. I remain available for urgent (i.e. post-op care, acute injury, treatment needed to decrease/avoid use of NSAIDs and Opiods) in-clinic treatment and telemedicine treatment from now until April 6th. We invite you to follow/Like our  Facebook page, where I am offering complimentary weekly Pilates mat class on Wednesdays at 7am and foam roller 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. If you are a current patient, you should have received an email from me with scheduling/rescheduling info. Be in touch with your PT to schedule your telemedicine visit. I am available via clinic phone (206-535-7356) and email (elizabeth@elizabethrogerspt.com). We will update you here and our Facebook page as things change.

We are counting the days until we get to resume our work together both virtually and in the clinic! Thank you for your support of this small, locally-owned physical therapy private practice!

Elizabeth Rogers, PT

Owner, Elizabeth Rogers Pilates & Physical Therapy, PLLC

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