Saturday, August 13, 2011

Can weak abdominals cause knee pain?

A few very common problems today that I see and hear about today are poor posture, weak abdominals and chronic knee pain. Did you ever think that all of these problems could be interconnected and related somehow? Let’s take a look and see how it all fits together.

First, we have to look the abdominal wall and the pelvis. The pelvis is supported by the abdominals, so if the abdominal wall looses coordination or doesn’t work properly the pelvis will tilt forward. To give you a visual, think of pouring water out of a bucket by tipping it forward. So if your pelvis is not supported and tips forward, this causes a shift in your spine to balance out the weight, but it also causes your knees to turn in. Contrary to that, if you tip your pelvis back, your knees will go outward. You can easily stand up and try it for yourself to see what I mean.  When the knees turn inward it is called pronation. When the knees are pronated this causes the knee cap (or patella) to shift laterally. If the knee moves laterally while walking it will start to wear the cartilage out, this then triggers a chronic inflammatory process in the knee joint.

An extreme case of weak abdominals is called Visceroptosis.  Visceroptosis means that the abdominal wall is so dysfunctional that the organs behind it can not properly be supported.  A quick test you can do to see if you have visceroptosis is to take a couple deep breaths (in through the nose) while standing and observe how much effort it takes.  Then do the same thing while lying down on your back.  If you can breathe much easier while lying on your back it could indicate visceroptosis.  

Getting the core functioning properly is very important on many levels and these are just a couple of examples mentioned in this article.  There's no point to going to the gym and doing 100 sit-ups if your abdominal wall is so screwed up it can't support the pelvis.  I recommend having a thorough assessment to make sure your abdominal wall is working properly and helping to support the rest of your body.

Thanks for reading and stay healthy!

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