Knee Tracking: The Do’s & The Don’ts

Knee Tracking: The Do’s & The Don’ts

Here we will be talking about exercises addressing knee problems mainly looking at knee alignment. The knee joint consists of the femur, tibia, fibula, patella, ligaments and cartilage to hold the knee in place. The muscles surrounding the knee needs to work in unity to ensure optimal tracking, strength and stability in knee movements.

Knee stability is essential in everyday tasks, whether its climbing up or down stairs, running, or playing sports. The most common faulty movement of the knee is when your knee collapses or rolls in when weight bearing. When your knee rolls in during activity, it either means that your femur is internally rotating (turning in towards the other leg) due to weakness of the gluteus medius, tight adductors (inner thigh muscles), a pronated (flat) foot or a motor control issue due to poor spatial awareness of your legs. The knee joint can also track outwards when playing sports however this is not as common. This can be caused by tightness through the ITB, TFL (muscles on the side of your leg) and glutes causing the femur to spiral outwards.

How to check your knee alignment and stability:

– Stand in front of a mirror with your knees hip width apart with feet pointing forwards.
– Squat and check to see where your knees are going. Are the knees or feet rolling in or going out?

Your patella should track in line with your second toe as you go down into a squat.

Pic B: Non optimal squat      Pic C: Optimal squat

One legged squat in front of a mirror. Again check to see where your knees are tracking, how stable your knee is going down and up from the squat. Again knees need to track with your second toe and hips need to be levelled.

Non optimal single leg squat alignment

If you find your knees roll in you may need to balance out your leg muscles by strengthening your VMO muscles, hip external rotator muscles and address foot position. Some exercises to improve knee alignment and stability include doing squats with proper technique, clams to strengthen deep hip stabilisers, squat with theraband walking to strengthen glutes and bring awareness to foot, hip and knee alignment.

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