Lower Body Dysfunction

October 5, 2015 | By | Reply READ MORE...

Lower Body Dysfunction

The lower limb kinetic chain is comprised of a linkage between the ankle, knee hip, sacro-iliac/ pelvis and the spine.

  • In order to have an efficient movement, optimal function of every individual joint complex is essential.
  • Dysfunction in any one of them could result in abnormal force distribution to the others leading to a variety of injuries.
  • This dysfunction could result from abnormal alignment of joints, weakness of certain muscle groups or a combination of both.

ABNORMAL JOINT ALIGNMENTS

ANKLE- FOOT COMPLEX: The most commonly found alignment issues are pronated or flat feet, supinated or high arched feet. These alignments could be a result of weak muscles, previous ankle injuries or familial predisposition.

  • Pronated/flat feet cause the shank (tibia) and thigh (femur) bone to rotate inwards.
  • This results in increased forces on the medial structures of the knee and hip joints causing injuries like patellofemoral syndrome, groin injuries, hip impingements.
  • Unilateral pronation is also known to cause low back pain due to the asymmetry in the force distribution

Flat Arch, Normal Arch & High Arch

Flat Arch, Normal Arch & High Arch

Unilateral Pronation

Unilateral Pronation

  • On the other hand, supinated/high arched feet cause external rotation at shank and thigh bones resulting in excessive forces on the outer/lateral aspect of knee and hip joints.
  • This results in injuries like ITB friction syndrome, pyriformis syndrome, gluteus medius tendinopathy.
  • Several studies have also shown that abnormal foot alignment especially pronation can result in low back pain.
  • Treatment is indicated based on the cause of misalignment and commonly includes corrective orthotics, ankle strengthening exercises and balance training.

KNEE AND HIP COMPLEX:

  • The two common misalignments in the knee are genu varum (bow legs) and genu valgum (knock knees)
  • Both of these abnormalities could result from congenital deformities of the hip joint ( coxa vara , coxa valga) or may develop over a period of time due to abnormal load distribution on the shank bone.

Lower Body Dysfunction

  • As observed, bow legs result in greater stress on the inner aspect of knee and ankle and on the outer aspect of the hip joint.
  • Knock knees on the other hand cause the exact opposite.
  • The results of these misalignments are the injuries as mentioned above.
  • Hip joint misalignments include coxa vara , coxa valga, anteversion and retroversion.
  • These are congenital deformities of the thigh bone and cannot be corrected with exercises.
  • Based on the degree of deformity and its impact on day to day activities surgeons could advise physiotherapy exercises or corrective surgery as treatment options.

MUSCLE IMBALANCES:

  • Muscle imbalances in the hip, knee and ankle can results in abnormal distribution of forces amongst the three joints.
    For eg: the hip joint lies between the knee and the low back. Weakness of the buttock muscles can cause decreased ability to distribute the force from the knee to the back.
  • This could thus result in excessive strain on the knee joint along with poor stability of the hip and spine leading to knee and low back pain.
  • Similarly weakness of ankle muscles could lead to excess force on the knee and hip joints due to decreased ability of shock absorption.

Lower Body Dysfunction

Treatment thus includes specific strengthening exercises targeted to correct the imbalances. If you feel you fit into any of these categories, consult your doctor or physiotherapist today. Getting rid of aches and pain may just have a simple solution!

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