Your knee aches every time you go down the stairs, it flares up after a long run, maybe you’ve even iced and foam rolled and gotten treatment of the knee itself, but the pain continues. What’s going on?
Many of my patients are surprised when they find out that a mechanical dysfunction in their foot was the cause of their knee or hip pain. Especially because they never had any foot pain!
When you push off the ground, your big toe (hallux) dorsiflexes, the rearfoot and midfoot supinate, the forefoot pronates on the midfoot, and the tibia externally rotates. This mechanism is called the Windlass effect.
If the Windlass effect is not working well or if the big toe is limited in its ability to dorsiflex, then we have a mechanical problem known as functional hallux limitus (FHL). When the foot is unable to move properly, something else will move more than it is supposed to in order for us to get from point A to point B. The forces get transferred abnormally into the soft tissues in the lower leg and around the knee, causing knee pain. If the issue continues upwards, hip or gluteal pain will often result as well.
There is a movement test that we do in the office to find out whether a patient has FHL. If the Windlass effect is not working correctly, we adjust the joints of the foot/ankle that are preventing this mechanism from occurring, and we strip the adhesions out of the overly tight muscles that go along with these joint fixations.
Book your appointment now to find out whether you have a mechanical problem in your foot. Call 510-465-2342.
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