This Video explains with the help of 3D animation how your knees and thighs function and explains the triggers that cause you pain and discomfort.
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The Knees and Thighs
The knee joint is like two long bones with roundish ends stacked on top of each other with a couple of cartilage washers in between taking up the slack. Ligamentous straps hold it together and the muscles that come down from the thigh, wrap around the knee and attach to the lower leg.
Muscle pain typically presents in the belly of the muscle or where it attaches to the bone. Often when we feel a painful joint it isn’t actually the joint, it is the tightness of the muscle pulling at its attachment point, which is in close proximity to the joint.
So, if you have pain on the inside of the knee it is probably excessive tension in the Adductor group - the muscles on the inside of the leg. Pain above, below or under your knee cap is likely from excessive tension in the Quad group. Pain at the back of the knee can be the result of hamstring tension or a Bakers cyst. Pain on the outside of the knee can be excessive tension in the ITB.
Cartilage disc or ligament damage can be another reason for pain in the knee. The muscles and ligaments of the thigh and knee tend to weaken gradually over time, especially if you work in an office or are relatively inactive.
Inherited increased ligament elasticity, sports injuries and repetitive activities such as yoga, gymnastics and dance can also lead to weak knee joints. These activities or in-activities typically destabilize the knees making them more prone to injury. The use of elastic or neoprene knee supports will also help the unstable knee joint.
As always there are a number of possible components that can be affected. The cartilage of the knee might be worn or damaged causing pain, clicking or even locking of the knee joint. There may be arthritis in the knee. The muscles of the thigh might be too weak or have too much tension in them to allow good mechanics, which will result in pain and inflammation. This is common in teens with growing pains. It’s hard to understand but bones can grow faster than muscles can stretch. This increase in muscle tension increases the drag on the muscle attachments causing inflammation around the joint as well as putting a lot more compression on the joint surfaces. Because of the muscle crossover, the problems can spread up into the pelvis, hips and lower back or problems can refer down from there.
There are many possible causes of pain and discomfort in the thigh and knee region so if you are not sure of what is going on then you need to seek medical diagnosis from your Osteopath or Doctor. Then you can confidently carry on with the full Stretch for Life home program. Good posture can also benefit this zone.