Stiff Knees?!? Try This Exercise Today!
– One of the important things to remember about the knee, is that it’s a relatively simple joint. The knee mostly bends and extends with a little bit of rotation. But above the knee, the hip is a very complex joint. It adducts and abducts, rotates, flexes and extends. And the same thing below the knee. The ankle is a very complex joint that can have a lot of activity. So really, the simple joint of the knee has to do what the hip and foot allow it to do in the position. So when we’re working with somebody that’s had some knee pain or stiffness, we’re going to make sure that the hip and the foot allow the knee to move in a beneficial direction.
So this is a great exercise that we use for rehabilitating the alignment of the hip, the knee and the foot. So if you can stand facing me, you’re going to put your back leg up on the table in that externally rotated position. And we’re going to put most of your weight onto the front leg. You can stay with your hands like that, and your spine nice and straight. So this is going to put a bigger portion of her weight on the leg that we’re focusing on. When we look at the foot, I want the big toe, the fifth toe and the heel all to be pushing into the ground. And ideally, the toes will be spreading. It’s a really good activation for the foot.
Now if I look at a line, I want the knee to be right in line with the hip and the foot. And in this case, the patient tends for the knee to be more to the inside. So we’re going to ask her to use her gluteal muscles and her foot to rotate the knee so that a line coming out of the front of the knee would cross somewhere over the middle of the foot.
This is good.
Now we need to increase the demand for bending. So she’s going to push off of her back leg and allow the front leg to lunge forward over the foot. And then she can straighten up through that knee. This is forcing the hip and the foot to put the knee in a healthy position. And as she goes through that flexion and extension, we start to work out some of the stiffness of the knee. And we make the brain and body build a better, safer strategy for the knee. This is an exercise you can try at home. But just be careful not to let the knee rotate too far to the outside or too far to the inside of the foot.
This is called a split stance knee exercise.
Give it a try.