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If you have knees that cave in (a condition known as knee valgus) then you are going to want to watch this video. Whether your knock knees are present only during the bottom portion of a squat or are there all the time, you are going to want to fix them since leaving them alone is going to eventually wreak havoc on your body.
The condition known as knee valgus refers to the inward pointing of the knees. This creates stress on the inside of the knee joint in the form of tensile gapping of the medial collateral ligament, and compression forces and stress on the outside of the joint. Because of the altered position of the knee joint, your movement is affected and the repercussions are often felt higher or lower in the body; namely in the ankles, hips or back.
It is important to understand that the knee joint itself is a consequential joint. That means, that it is simply a hinge joint that is at the mercy of what is going on at the ankle below and the hip above. If the mobility or strength of the ankle is altered then the knee is going to be affected by the impact these changes have on the tibia (the lower half of the knee joint). If the hips are too tight or lacking the strength required to stabilize the femur (the upper half of the knee joint) then you are going to have problems at the knee as well.
In this video, I show you how to ascertain whether you have issues in the ankle that you want to address. As you will see, the ankle is also affected by what happens at the foot. When you have flat feet or over pronated feet, the joints above are dramatically affected. It is important to understand the causes and the effects of flat feet in order to be able to intervene and do something about it so the normal knee motion and mechanics can be restored.
Most of the time, flat feet will cause the ankle to cave inward and this drags the tibia along with it. The stress is immediately transmitted up to the knees in the form of a valgus. The peroneal muscles on the outside of the lower leg get adaptively shortened and tight from being in this position too long. They are not the cause of the pronation however. Their tightness is simply the result of the pronation so you want to make sure you strengthen these muscles as well.
The muscles of the ankle that act as a stirrup that supports the joint are the peroneals and the posterior tibialis muscle. Both of these can be strengthened with the exercises for your ankle shown here with just a single band. Of course, you will want to stretch the peroneals as well and address the soft tissue changes that have caused tightness as shown with the two drills in the video.
As for the hip, weakness of the external rotators and abductors is almost always the cause of troubles at the knee. Why is this? Because no matter how many squats we do, we are simply not addressing the rotation at the hip without paying attention to some of the smaller exercises that often get overlooked. This is critical. Here I show you an exercise to strengthen both the abductors of the hip without any equipment and an exercise for your hip rotators that requires just a band.
Either of these can be done just a few times a week and you will see a dramatic improvement in the condition of your knee valgus. When you combine the drills for both the ankle and the hip together, watch as your knee positioning corrects itself and you start moving better than you ever have before. Your strength should improve as well since your body will finally be operating out of its desired alignment.
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