To properly strengthen and rehabilitate the knee we have to understand why the knee does what it does!
“The knee is caught in the middle with few places to go and no place to hide!”
In the middle of what?
The leg … with its northern neighbor, the hip, and its southern neighbor, the foot. The knee is constantly
influenced (positively or negatively) by what its neighbors do and are capable of.
As we evaluate the knee, it is critical to determine the cause, compensations, and symptoms.
Healing your knee and restoring it’s function isn’t about just making the knee ‘stronger’.
An injury may not be the knee’s fault. Traditionally, the knee has been looked at in an isolated manner when testing, training, and rehabilitating. However, as we look at the muscles around the knee, one of the fascinating things is that many of the muscles that control the knee itself don’t actually cross the knee. What we are finding now is just how dependent the knee is on the rest of the body . . . particularly the foot and hip.
Let’s go deeper:
As the foot walks or runs, it reacts to the body, gravity, ground reaction, and momentum immediately feeds information to the knee.
The hip likewise is a great asset to the knee during motion, loading as the hip flexes.
As the hip and foot move, the knee has to go along. Thus as we analyze the knee, we need to assess if the foot and hip are helping or inhibiting the function of the knee?
In other words, the hip and the foot, first of all, have to be functionally cleared for three-dimensional motion and loading before we go to the knee. This analysis will facilitate our understanding of the knee’s capability to feed forward the right information to the hip and to the foot and to the rest of the body.
As we train, condition, strengthen, and rehabilitate, we want to fully understand function through the knee. We have to look at the knee as well as the knee's friends. Only then can we approach the knee from a very functional approach. We will begin to ignore some of our nonfunctional concepts because there is a huge gap between traditional knee exercises that have nothing to do with function and functional exercises that we can objectively quantify, appreciate, and take advantage of.