Our bodies are one long connected chain with thousands of parts and pieces all moving together to achieve the same goal - successful movement. It is no surprise that within this amazing system, no single part can work alone.
Our knees are one link in this chain and are one of the major weight-bearing joints within the body. So, when looking to protect the knees it's essential to also understand the kinetic chain.
The below provides a high level overview, for more specific ways to ensure knee health: Five tips for taking care of your knees.
Understanding the kinetic chain
The kinetic chain describes how our body’s joints, muscles and nerves influence one another when in motion. Each individual chain within the movements also impacts how the body functions.
For example, the lower body chain that enables you to do a squat. This movement involves coordinated flexion (bending) of the ankles, knees, and hips on both legs. If one of these joints is unable to move correctly, then the other joints movements are also compromised.
When there is a lack of mobility, strength, flexibility, or power within a muscle, it causes an imbalanced movement. Imbalances lead to compensation patterns which can progress into long term injuries.
Some of the most common injuries which occur due to an imbalance are damage to the cartilage, ligaments, bone and muscles around the affected joint.
Protect the knees
Within the rehab setting, the kinetic chain plays an important role in recovery and injury prevention. If one part of the chain is strengthened, then the benefits radiate throughout all the other joints.
There are steps which can be taken to strengthen and protect your body prevent a knee injury. These include:
Imbalances can be corrected by an increased focus on full-body strength training. Increased muscular strength not only relieves pressure from ligaments and joints but can also improve performance.
When supporting the knee, it’s important to build strength in the following areas:
- Ankles, building both strength and stability
- Glutes and hips
- Calves and Achilles
Wearing support or a brace
Supports and braces are also beneficial to protect and stabilise the injured or imbalanced area. These improve muscular activation to provide extra stability during rehabilitation and to also avoid re-injury.
Featured above: the GenuTrain
A holistic approach
For coordinated and painless movement, it’s important to not only focus on the point of injury. Strategies that incorporate all the links in the chain will have a greater impact on recovery and management and will, in the long run, be more beneficial for your overall health.
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Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.
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