What Does My Hip Have to Do with My Knee Pain? - Breakaway Physical Therapy
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What Does My Hip Have to Do with My Knee Pain?

Hip Muscle

If you have knee pain, then you or your physician, may decide to use physical therapy to get you back to doing what you love, without pain. There are many types of knee conditions and injuries that can cause knee pain, including ligament tears, repetitive stress, and arthritis. Finding the source of knee pain can be difficult and often requires the use of a skilled Physical Therapist. On your first day, the therapist will look at all the components of your knee to determine the source of the problem. The therapist will also most likely check the strength and flexibility of your hip muscles.

Why do the Muscles in My Hip Matter? 

The knee is a complex structure, many muscles, ligaments, and bones need to work together to ensure we walk, squat, jump, swim, etc. without difficulty. The knee likes to be pointed forward. As much as the knee does for us, it is a hinge, it only moves in one direction: it bends and straightens. The hip, however, is a ball and socket joint, it can move in many more dimensions. The hip also has a complex network of muscles which can change the orientation of the entire leg. If a hip muscle is too tight or too weak it can cause the leg to turn. When the position of the knee changes from forward facing to side facing, (even a small amount) uneven pressure can cause inflammation, tenderness in the muscles of the knee, and even overall knee pain.

What Muscle is Usually Responsible?

One critical muscle that is often the cause of hip instability is the Gluteus Medius (glute med). Glute med moves the leg to the side away from the body and also rotates your leg outward. Many people are familiar with “the glutes”, but this specific glute muscle plays a big role in hip and pelvic stability when standing, walking, and pretty much any time your feet are on the floor. While we use it all the time, if not properly strengthened, it can lead to instability in the hip and pelvis that will then cause the leg to rotate and abnormal forces to be put on the knee causing pain. The pain can present as patellofemoral pain, IT band pain, knee bursitis, Pes anserine bursitis and much more. There is even research to suggest that hip weakness can lead to knee ligament tears, if not addressed.

What can be Done About it?

If you have knee pain and do not remember a specific incident or injury that caused it, hip weakness may be a contributing factor. Physical therapists are uniquely able to help get you back to your activities without pain or injury. In the first session a skilled physical therapist, at Breakaway Physical Therapy, will look at the strength and flexibility in your hip and knee muscles, knee and hip range of motion, check your pelvic stability, balance, and gait to determine the cause of your discomfort. We will use this information to develop a unique plan including hands on therapy, exercises, and stretching to get you back to doing what you love.

Don’t live one more day being held back by knee pain.

Give us a call today at 410-721-6333 to schedule your evaluation!

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Brittany Gunter

Brittany Gunter

Brittany graduated from University of Maryland Baltimore with an emphasis on the pelvic floor. She attended Penn State for Kinesiology before that. I became interested in PT in college and also had a women's health course that opened my eyes to disparities in care and ultimately lead me to specializing in pelvic floor treatments. I’m Super excited to have joined the Breakaway team. My favorite part of PT is empowering patients by giving them the tools they need to get better and remain healthy/maintain wellness for the rest of their lives. In my free time I enjoy hiking, yoga/ Pilates, trivia, and traveling.
Brittany Gunter

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