Health & Wellness: Taking care of your knees

Throughout my chiropractic schooling there were a few experiences that left a major impression on me, one of which being the first time I had my knee adjusted.
When we look at the knee we see four bones, the patella (or knee cap), the femur (on top), and the tibia and fibula below. These bones, along with the muscles and ligaments that connect and protect them, are like the hardware of the knee joint.
What an adjustment to the knee, or any other joint for that matter, accomplishes is like an effective software update. By software I mean that the muscles and nerves around the joint can be reset with an effective adjustment and this was my personal experience years back in school. Just as your phone, laptop, or desktop computer can function more efficiently after receiving a software update so can the joints throughout your body benefit from adjustments. This therapeutic update of the knee joint is what I personally experienced years back and it ended a chronic pain I had following an ACL tear and subsequent surgery.
At the time I was no stranger to the night and day difference a specific and skillful adjustment could make to the bones of the spine and pelvis. Chiropractic adjustments to my spine had provided instantaneous relief to sharp stinging back pain I experienced as a teenager. This pain was a result of the wear and tear from avid snowboarding coupled with year round involvement in competitive team sports.
My body needed a break and a chance to heal and it communicated that need clearly to me through a sharp pain which slowed me down in many aspects of my life. It was the incredible difference I felt after an adjustment that inspired me to pursue a chiropractic degree so I could help others achieve relief and gain their life back.
One of the mistakes I made both on the slopes and the soccer field was choosing stability over mobility of the foot and ankle when picking boots and shoes. It is possible to have strength in such mobile joints as the ankle, or comparatively the wrist. However, if tightly fitted snow boots or soccer cleats compensate for a lack of strength of what are known as the intrinsic foot muscles, or the muscles that connect the lower leg to the foot, then excessive stress is translated unto the knee joint.
Think of each leg as a series of shock absorbers, beginning with the foot. If the foot is bound by too tight a shoe then the body is not able to dissipate the stress of each step efficiently. The buck is passed up the leg into other joints, some of which are not designed to handle such stress.
Routinely in my practice I see patients with horrible hip, knee, or lower back pain who wear shoes that are excessively tight, restricting the movement of their foot bones and changing the biomechanics of the leg for worse. Because I see this during thorough evaluation, I address it with adjustments to the bones of the foot, the ankle, the knee, the hip and of course, the pelvis and spine.
From a holistic perspective, the foot bone is connected to the knee bone… and the knee bone is connected to the hip bone.
Where can you start? Consider listening to your body as if it were trying to intelligently communicate with you. Ask questions. If you have elbow pain, check to see how well you can move your wrist and your shoulder. Knee pain? How strong are the muscles that support your ankle?
Be sure to ask the healthcare professionals you trust about how different joints of the body are related, and for effective means of achieving lasting relief, stability and strength. Look into such options as wide shoe sizes that give the bones of your foot ample room to splay out upon each step.
Also, routine self care like massaging and moving the bones of your feet twice a day can be a great investment in the foundation all of the other joints of your body rest upon. It only takes one minute, 30 seconds each foot, to manually bring each toe and the ankle through full range of motion. Do yourself this favor and your body, especially your knees, will thank you!