Singer Songwriter Jewel and her knee hyperextension. One of our favorite television shows is “Alaska: The Last Frontier”.  What some of you might not know is that the show is about Singer Songwriter Jewel’s family, the Kilchers. Yes, Her name is Jewel Kilcher.  The theme to the show is written and sung by Jewel and her father Atz Kilcher.  The Kilcher’s are tough folk who live off the grid (mostly) and maintain a subsistence living off the land in Alaska.   Use the photo above to help you clearly understand what we are talking about in this video here (link)  where we see Jewel and her dad getting ready to sing the show’s theme. In this video, Jewel is in some insanely high heeled shoes and being the gait geeks that we are we could not help but notice the degree of knee hyperextension she was displaying.   What can we extrapolate from this genu recurvatum / hyper extension knee posturing  ?: We are going to keep it to things from pelvis down or we will be here all day. Anterior pelvis tilt. She appears to be sitting back into her pelvis so to speak, doing so we can see an increased lumbar lordosis pressing the pelvis anterior.  In many cases combine this with suspect weak lower abdominals and the pelvis drops in the front. This position is often met with isometric contraction of the gluteals helping to maintain the forward/anterior shifted pelvis. The above, will create an abnormal (possibly increased) tensile load on the hamstrings since the ischeal tuberosities are being drawn cephalad (up). This can create a net posterior shift of the knee joint since she is in relative hip extension, the pelvis is often also translated forward into the sagittal plane pushing the head of the femur into anterior glide into the front of the acetabulum. The knees are often locked into hyperextension. This will create meniscal tensions and certainly cause increased patellofemoral pressures.  This can also create the rarely diagnosed, but often present, anteriormeniscofemoral impingement syndrome. In this type of presentation the anterior compressive forces are so great compared to what should be balanced forces around the entire joint that the superior leading edge of the anterior mensicus (can affect medial or lateral menisci) begins to become impinged and irritated as the femur rolls and translates too far anterior. You have to know it exists to make the diagnosis. She will be in ankle plantarflexion because of the footwear instead of balancing the tibia neutrally over the talus.  The tibia will rest on the posterior talus. If constant, the plantarflexion means shorter posterior compartment (gastroc-soleus) and usually weak anterior compartment (tibialis anterior and long extensors of toes).  If she is a runner we bet shin splints were on her holiday list of things to resolve.  These are just the sagittal plane flaws we can assume. There are more but this is plenty to think about right now.  Remember, these are just assumptions. Like in video analysis, anything you pic up on film is just a compensation. It does not tell you what you have wrong until you can test them for neuromuscular integrity and motor pattern assessments.  Do not hang your hat on photos or video analysis. Do the extra work that is required.  After all, you know where ASSUMPTIONS get us. The Gait Guys. Shawn and Ivo

Singer Songwriter Jewel and her knee hyperextension.

One of our favorite television shows is “Alaska: The Last Frontier”.  What some of you might not know is that the show is about Singer Songwriter Jewel’s family, the Kilchers. Yes, Her name is Jewel Kilcher.  The theme to the show is written and sung by Jewel and her father Atz Kilcher.  The Kilcher’s are tough folk who live off the grid (mostly) and maintain a subsistence living off the land in Alaska.  

Use the photo above to help you clearly understand what we are talking about in this video here (link)  where we see Jewel and her dad getting ready to sing the show’s theme. In this video, Jewel is in some insanely high heeled shoes and being the gait geeks that we are we could not help but notice the degree of knee hyperextension she was displaying.  

What can we extrapolate from this genu recurvatum / hyper extension knee posturing  ?:

We are going to keep it to things from pelvis down or we will be here all day.

  1. Anterior pelvis tilt. She appears to be sitting back into her pelvis so to speak, doing so we can see an increased lumbar lordosis pressing the pelvis anterior.  In many cases combine this with suspect weak lower abdominals and the pelvis drops in the front. This position is often met with isometric contraction of the gluteals helping to maintain the forward/anterior shifted pelvis.
  2. The above, will create an abnormal (possibly increased) tensile load on the hamstrings since the ischeal tuberosities are being drawn cephalad (up). This can create a net posterior shift of the knee joint since she is in relative hip extension, the pelvis is often also translated forward into the sagittal plane pushing the head of the femur into anterior glide into the front of the acetabulum.
  3. The knees are often locked into hyperextension. This will create meniscal tensions and certainly cause increased patellofemoral pressures.  This can also create the rarely diagnosed, but often present, anteriormeniscofemoral impingement syndrome. In this type of presentation the anterior compressive forces are so great compared to what should be balanced forces around the entire joint that the superior leading edge of the anterior mensicus (can affect medial or lateral menisci) begins to become impinged and irritated as the femur rolls and translates too far anterior. You have to know it exists to make the diagnosis.
  4. She will be in ankle plantarflexion because of the footwear instead of balancing the tibia neutrally over the talus.  The tibia will rest on the posterior talus. If constant, the plantarflexion means shorter posterior compartment (gastroc-soleus) and usually weak anterior compartment (tibialis anterior and long extensors of toes).  If she is a runner we bet shin splints were on her holiday list of things to resolve. 

These are just the sagittal plane flaws we can assume. There are more but this is plenty to think about right now. 

Remember, these are just assumptions. Like in video analysis, anything you pic up on film is just a compensation. It does not tell you what you have wrong until you can test them for neuromuscular integrity and motor pattern assessments.  Do not hang your hat on photos or video analysis. Do the extra work that is required.  After all, you know where ASSUMPTIONS get us.

The Gait Guys.

Shawn and Ivo