Have you seen this?

Patterns. That’s what it’s about a lot of times. Dr Allen and I are always looking for patterns or combinations of muscles which work together and seem to cause what appear to be predictable patterns; like a weak anterior compartment and a weak gluteus maximus, or a weak gluteus medius and contralateral quadratus lumborum.

Here is an interesting story and a new combination that at least I have never seen before

I had a 11-year-old right footed soccer player from my son’s soccer team coming to see me with bilateral posterior knee pain which began during a soccer game while he was “playing up” on his older brothers team. He did need to do a lot of jumping as well as cutting. He is generally a midfielder/Forward. Well experienced player and “soccer is his life“.

My initial thoughts were something like a gastroc dysfunction or a Baker’s cyst. On examination, no masses or definitive swelling noted behind either knee. He did have tenderness to moderate degree over the right plantaris and tenderness as well as 4/5 weakness of the left popliteus. There was a loss of long axis extension of the talo crural articulations bilaterally with the loss of lateral bending to the right and left at L2-L3.

If you think about the mechanics of the right footed kicker (and try this while kicking a soccer ball yourself) it would be approximately as follows: left foot would be planted near the ball and the tibia/femur complex would be internally rotating well the foot is pronating and the popliteus would be eccentrically contracting to slow the rotation of the femur and the tibia. The right foot will be coming through and plantarflexion after a push off from the ball of the foot firing the triceps surae and plantaris complexes. He would be “launching“ off of the right foot and landing on his left just prior to the kick, causing a sudden demand on the plantar flexors; with the plantaris being the weak link. As the kicking leg follows through, the femur of the stance phase leg needs to externally rotate (along with the tibia) at a faster rate than the tibia (otherwise you could injure the meniscus) the popliteus would be contracting concentrically. A cleat, because it increases the coefficient of friction with the ground would keep the foot on the ground solidly planted and The burden of stress would go to the muscles which would be extremely routine leg and close chain which would include the semimembranosus/tendinosis  complex as well as the vastus medialis and possibly gracilis and short adductor, along with the popliteus.

I have to say and all of my years of practice I’ve never seen this combination type of injury before involving these two muscles specifically and am wondering if anyone else has seen this?

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

#footproblem #gait #thegaitguys #soccerinjury #bilateralkneepain #popliteus #plantaris

image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Slide2ACCA.JPG

image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Slide2ACCA.JPG

Knee braces and long legs?

Knee brace fixed at a zero to 5 degree flexion angle, creating a long leg? 

We know that the knee is supposed to flex during stance phase, usually around 20-25 degrees (depending on speed and weight, increases in bot increases the flexion requirement) to create dampening from vertical oscillation of the pelvis. What happens if they cannot flex? This creates a virtual "long leg" on that side this will usually result in:

  • Increased vertical translation of the pelvis upward on the braced side and

  • A compensation to make up for this "long leg; circumduction in this case,  but it could be any of the other compensations that we have talked about in posts here on the blog. 



work arounds? They are tough as each can create their own set of problems

  • allow more flexion in the knee on the braced side (not always possible)

  • place a full length sole lift on the opposite side to make up for the difference

  • use crutches

  • use a skateboard : )

we are sure you have some as well that you would LOVE to share with us

Dr Ivo Waerlop, one of The Gait Guys

#shortleg #LLD #compensations #legbrace #gaitproblem #thegaitguys

 

K ShamaeiGS SawickiAM Dollar Estimation of quasi-stiffness and propulsive work of the human ankle in the stance phase of walking - PloS one, 2013 - journals.plos.org

MORAIS FILHO, Mauro César; REIS, Renata Albertin dos  and  KAWAMURA, Cátia Myuki.Evaluation of ankle and knee movement pattern during maturation of normal gait. Acta ortop. bras. [online]. 2010, vol.18, n.1 [cited  2019-04-25], pp.23-25.

Motion control Shoes + Internal Tibial Torsion = Knee Pain

Thinking about putting a motion control shoe under that foot to control pronation? You had better make sure you make friends with the knee, as it will often (depending on the compensation) be placed OUTSIDE the SAGGITAL PLANE. Like Dr Allen has said many times before , the knee is basically a hinge joint placed between 2 ball and socket joints, and it is usually the one to start grumbling...

Learn more as Dr Ivo Waerlop of The Gait Guys explains in this brief video

#gait #Gaitanalysis #gaitguys #thegaitguys #kneepain #motioncontrolshoes #internaltibialtorsion

https://vimeo.com/154496722

Does Manual Therapy help with OA?

Footnotes 7 - Black and Red.jpg

The answer is yes, at least according to this lit review.

The “data crunching” found that manual therapy, defined as any hands on treatment rendered, with (and without) exercise therapy resulted in reducing pain, improving function, ROM and physical performance in patients with knee OA, at least in the short term. 

Anwer et al., Effects of orthopaedic manual therapy in knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Physiother 104 (2018) 264-276.

Shoe causing knee pain? You decide… 

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This gentleman presented with left-sided knee pain at the medial collateral ligament. His left foot was planted when he rotated to the left. Take a close look at the shoes in the picture. If you look closely, you will notice the right shoe is tilted on its axis due to a rear foot to forefoot deformity (forefoot supinatus)and the left shoe upper was assembled canted on its axis, Most likely in manufacturing defect. Can you see the subtle valgus in the left shoe rearfoot?

Think of the implications of a shoe with this orientation. Putting the rearfoot in valgus “prepronates“ the foot, causing medial rotation of the tibia and femur and increase valgus stress on the knee, stressing the medial collateral ligament and stabilizing complex. This will most likely manifest itself as anterior rotation of the ilium on the left-hand side with relative posterior rotation on the right and a clockwise Pelvic distortion pattern. With the foot planted on the left side and it being pre-pronated, can you see how the rotation to the left leaves a greater amount of external rotation that must occur to just get the foot to neutral, never mind supination for stability and pushoff?
What about the popliteus having to work on time to assist and extra rotation and the appropriate femoral/tibial rotation ratios to spare the medial meniscus?

These are the kind of things to keep us awake at night…

And why does this guy have hip pain?

line up the center of the heel counters with the outsoles, and what do you see?

line up the center of the heel counters with the outsoles, and what do you see?

can you see how the heel counter is centered on the outsole, like it is supposed to be

can you see how the heel counter is centered on the outsole, like it is supposed to be

notice how the heel counter of the shoe is canted medially on the outsole of the shoe, creating a varus cant

notice how the heel counter of the shoe is canted medially on the outsole of the shoe, creating a varus cant

Take a guy with lower back and left sided sub patellar pain that also has a left anatomically short leg (tibial) and bilateral internal tibial torsion and put him in these baby’s to play pickleball and you have a prescription for disaster.

Folks with an LLD generally (soft rule here) have a tendency to supinate more on the short leg side (in an attempt to make the limb longer) and pronate more on the longer leg side (to make the limb shorter). Supination causes external rotation of the lower limb (remember, we are trying to make the foot into a rigid lever in a “normal” gait cycle). this external rotation with rotate the knee externally (laterally). Folks with internal tibial torsion usually rotate their limb externally to give them a better progression angle (of the foot) so they don’t trip and fall from having their feet pointing inward. This ALSO moves the knee into external rotation (laterally), often moving it OUTSIDE the saggital plane. In this case, the knee, because of the difference in leg length AND internal tibial torsion AND the varus cant of the shoe, has his knee WAY OUTSIDE the saggital plane, causing faulty patellar tracking and LBP.

Moral of the story? When people present with a problem ALWAYS TAKE TIME TO LOOK AT THEIR SHOES!

Recalcitrant medial knee pain? Have you heard about the "Problematic Pes"...

image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Slide2DADE.JPG

image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Slide2DADE.JPG

Recalcitrant knee pain just below the medial tibial plateau? Worse with sprints, hills and after running a while? It may be the pes anserine insertion(s).

Made up of the tibial insertions, from anterior to posterior, of the sartorius, gracilis and semitendinosis which lie superficial to the distal tibial insertion of the superficial medial collateral ligament. This structure is named from the way it looks, like a goose's foot (anserine pes), rather than its anatomical location. The pes anserine bursa lies below it and between the MCL and hamstring tendons and can be subject to compressive forces if compromised in some way, by injury or pathomechanics

The muscles of the pes anserine arise from three different compartments in the thigh. The sartorius originates from the anterior compartment,  the gracilis from the medial compartment and the semitendinosus, the posterior compartment. Their varied origins, paths, and actions, as these muscles approach their insertion all add stability to the medial aspect of the knee.

During an ideal gait cycle, the sartorius fires from toe off through nearly terminal swing, the semitendinosus from mid swing through nearly loading response, with a brief firing at toe off  and gracilis tonically throughout stance phase with bursts from terminal swing through initial contact and again from pre swing to initial swing.

image source: Tom Michaud, with permission

image source: Tom Michaud, with permission

We remember that the abdominals should initiate thigh flexion with the iliopsoas, rectus femoris, tensor fascia lata and sartorius perpetuating the motion. Sometimes, when the abdominals are insufficient, we will substitute other thigh flexors, often the psoas and/or rectus femoris, but sometimes sartorius, especially in people with excessive midfoot pronation. Think about all of the medial rotation occurring at the knee during excessive midfoot pronation and when overpronation occurs, the extra compensatory external rotation that must occur to try and bring the knee back into the sagittal plane. The sartorius is positioned perfectly for this function, along with the semitendinosus which assists and external rotation and closed chain with the innocent pes anserine bursa directly beneath. This is complemented by the compressive forces of this gracilis firing because of the increased coronal plane motion occurring at the pelvis.

Call it pes anserinus bursitis or pes anserine tendinitis but they both add up to medial knee pain when the thigh needs help flexing.

Look to this troublesome trio the next time you have recalcitrant medial knee pain.

 

 

Gupta, Aman & Saraf, Abhinesh & Yadav, Chandrajeet. (2013). ISSN 2347-954X (Print) High-Resolution Ultrasonography in PesAnserinus Bursitis: Case Report and Literature Review. 1. 753-757. 

https://www.anatomy-physiotherapy.com/knee/articles/systems/musculoskeletal/lower-extremity/knee/test-your-knowledge-the-pes-anserinus

 Michaud T: in Foot Orthoses and Other Forms of Conservative Foot Care Williams & Wilkins, 1993 Pp. 50-55

 Michaud T: in Human Locomotion: The Conservative Management of Gait-Related Disorders 2011

Podcast 138 (for real). Are you fighting your own gait/running neurology?

Topics:
1. Running with the extensors. Convergence and divergence of neurons.
2. Fighting your gait neurology. The lies about the Bird dog rehab exercise.
3. ACL and ACL rehab. Surgery or no sugery. Wise? Risks ? How social media discussions might just be getting it wrong.
4. Cross over gait and lateral heel strike and ensuing problems at great toe off. A failure to medial foot tripod high gear toe off ?
5. Are the hip flexors actually hip flexors in gait ? what are your high knee drills doing? Anything good?

Key words: acl, analysis, cross, extensor, flexors, gait, heel, hip, instability, knee, over, plri, pools, problems, running, strike, surgery

Links to find the podcast:

iTunes page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gait-guys-podcast/id559864138?mt=2

Direct Download:http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegaitguys/pod_138_real_-_82818_2.12_PM.mp3

Permalink URL:http://thegaitguys.libsyn.com/podcast-138-for-real

Libsyn URL: http://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/6978817

Our Websites:
www.thegaitguys.com

summitchiroandrehab.com

doctorallen.co

shawnallen.net

Our website is all you need to remember. Everything you want, need and wish for is right there on the site.
Interested in our stuff ? Want to buy some of our lectures or our National Shoe Fit program? Click here (thegaitguys.com or thegaitguys.tumblr.com) and you will come to our websites. In the tabs, you will find tabs for STORE, SEMINARS, BOOK etc. We also lecture every 3rd Wednesday of the month on onlineCE.com. We have an extensive catalogued library of our courses there, you can take them any time for a nominal fee (~$20).

Our podcast is on iTunes and just about every other podcast harbor site, just google "the gait guys podcast", you will find us.

QL and Patellofemoral Pain?

photo credit: https://www.t-nation.com/training/training-disasters

photo credit: https://www.t-nation.com/training/training-disasters

"Subjects with PFP(patello femoral pain) have a higher prevalence of MTrPs (Myofascial trigger points) in bilateral GMe (gluteus medius)) and QL (quadratus lumborum) muscles. They demonstrate less hip abduction strength compared with controls, but the TPPRT (trigger point pressure release therapy, AKA ischemic compression) did not result in an increase in hip abduction strength. "

It is not surprising that when the hip is involved, the knee will be involved. As Dr. Allen often likes to say "the knee is basically in joint between 2 ball and socket joints ".

The gluteus medius and quadratus lumborum, along with the adductors are coronal plane stabilizers of the pelvis. They both have rotational components to their function as well affecting the hip directly for the former and lumbar spine for the latter. You can see our other QL articles about this here and here.

It is not much of a stretch to imagine that dysfunction of these muscles could result in trigger points and/or dysfunction of the knee (or foot for that matter ) could cause trigger points in these muscles.

Here is an article (1) examining trigger points in the gluteus medius and quadratus lumborum which, if you are familiar with Porterfield and DeRosa's work (2), are intimately linked during gait. We found it interesting that skin nick compression did not increase hip abduction strength where we find dry needling and intramuscular therapy often do.

Don't overlook these muscles and this important relationship.

 

 

  1. Roach, Sean et al.Prevalence of Myofascial Trigger Points in the Hip in Patellofemoral Pain Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation , Volume 94 , Issue 3 , 522 - 526link to free full text article: http://www.archives-pmr.org/article/S0003-9993(12)01079-9/fulltexthttp://www.archives-pmr.org/article/S0003-9993(12)01079-9/fulltext

  2. J. Porterfield, C. DeRosa (Eds.) Mechanical low back pain. 2nd ed. WB Saunders, Philadelphia; 1991

 

The Q angle and Kids: The Basics

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Genu valgum in kids: What you need to know

We have all seen this. The kid with the awful “knock knees”.  It is a Latin word “which means “bent” or “knock kneed”. It appears to have 1st been used in 1884.

This condition, where the Q angle angle exceeds 15 degrees, usually presents maximally at age 3 and should resolve by age 9. It is usually physiologic in development due to obliquity of the femur, when the medial condyle is lower than the lateral. Normal development and weight bearing lead to an overgrowth of the medial condyle of the femur. This, combined with varying development of the medial and lateral epiphysies of the tibial plateau leads to the valgus development. Gradually, with increased weight bearing, the lateral femoral condyle (and thus the tibial epiphysis) bear more weight and this appears to slow, and eventually reverse the valgum.

Normal knee angulation usually progresses from 10-15 degrees varus at birth to a maximal valgus angle of 10-15 degreesat 3-3.5 years (see picture).  The valgus usually decreases to an adult angle of 5-7 degrees.  Remember that in women, the Q angle should be less than 22 degrees with the knee in extension and in men, less than 18 degrees. It is measured by measuring the angle between the line drawn from the ASIS to the center of the patella and one from the center of the patella through the tibial tuberosty, while the leg is extended.

Further evaluation of a child is probably indicated if:

  • The angle is greater than 2 standard deviations for their age (see chart) 
  • If their height is > 25th percentile 
  • If it is increasing in severity 
  • If it is developing asymmetrically

Management is by serial measurement of the intermalleolar distance (the distance between ankles when the child’s knee are placed together) to document gradual spontaneous resolution (hopefully). If physiologic genu valgum persists beyond 7-8 years of age, an orthopaedic referral would be indicated but certainly intervention with attempts at corrective exercises and gait therapy should be employed. Persistence in the adult can cause a myriad of gait, foot, patello femoral and hip disorders, and that is the topic on another post.

Promotion of good foot biomechanics through the use of minimally supportive shoes, encouraging walking on sand (time to take that trip to the beach!), walking on uneven surfaces (like rocks, dirt and gravel), gentle massage (to promote muscle facilitation for those muscles which test weak (origin/insertion work) and circulation), gait therapeutic exercises and acupuncture when indicated, can all be helpful.

Varus anyone?

Varus anyone?

Does patello femoral pain have anything to do with rearfoot varus? Perhaps, according to this study:

" A small but significant increase in rearfoot varus was found in the patellofemoral pain group compared with the control group (8.9 vs. 6.8 degrees; p = .0002). These results suggest that increased rearfoot varus may be a contributing factor in patellofemoral pain and should be assessed when evaluating the events at the subtalar joint and the lower extremity. In addition, it has been demonstrated that consistent rearfoot measurements can be obtained by an individual clinician."


Powers CM, Maffucci R, Hampton S. Rearfoot posture in subjects with patellofemoral pain. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1995 Oct;22(4):155-60.

Unless you have ownership....

Compliance is often the issue ...especially in younger folks

Just say no to the exercise video. You need:

  • understanding on the patients part of the pathology and the importance of the rehab
  • buy in on the patients part
  • a way to monitor progress with objective outcomes

a nice review article in LER, full text here

additionally, this was covered in a great PODcast by David Pope here: http://physioedge.com.au/physio-edge-039-patellofemoral-pain-adolescents-dr-michael-rathleff/

The Knee and Macerating Menisci

Take a good look at the above 2 slides.

Notice that, during pronation, there is a medial rotation of the lower leg and thigh. We remember that, during pronation, the talus plantar flexes, adducts, and everts. This anterior translation and medial rotation of the talus causes the tibia and subsequently the femur to follow. This, if everything is working right, results in medial rotation of the knee.

From the slides, it should also be evident that the medial condyle of the femur and a medial tibial plateau are larger than the lateral. This allows for an increased amount of internal and external rotation of the knee. We remember that the meniscus, like a washer, is between the tibia and femur. We if you think about this kinematically, it would make sense that the tibia, during pronation (which occurs from initial contact to mid stance) would have to rotate faster than the femur otherwise the meniscus would be caught "in between". If there is a mismatch in timing, the meniscus is "caught in the middle", which causes undue stress and can cause fraying, degeneration, etc.

Likewise, during supination (from mid stance to pre swing) the femur must externally rotate faster then the tibia, otherwise we see this same "mismatch". This is a scenario we commonly see in folks who over pronate at the mid foot and remain in pronation for too omg a period of time. 

We think of pronation as being initiated from the movement described above by the talus, and it is attenuated by the popliteus muscle as well as some of the deep flexors of the foot, which fire mostly during stance phase. You will notice that the popliteus  is eccentrically contracting at this point.

Supination, initiated by swing phase of the opposite leg and momentum, is assisted by concentric contraction of the popliteus muscle, internal rotation of the pelvis on the stance phase leg, contraction of the vastus medialis, deep flexors of the foot and peroneii.

Taking moment to "wrap your head around" this concept. Now you can see how complicated it can be when we started to throw in femoral and tibial torsions as well as possibly some orthotic therapy. For example, in an individual with internal tibial torsion, if you do not valgus post the forefoot of the orthotic, the knee is placed at outside the sagittal plane in external rotation further by the orthotic and this thwarts the function of his mechanism, leaving the meniscus holding the bag. 

Know your anatomy and know what is supposed to be firing when, your patients and clients knees depend on it!

 

So here is somewhat of a controversial subject.     Perhaps, though not discussed in this article, activating more axial extensors (vestbulospinal pathways, things like your erector spinae) could be somewhat protective, in that it could, at least theoretically, help to normalize flexor/extensor ratios in the lower extremity.   We see flexor dominance (increased corticospinal activity) in many cases of lower extremity problems causing an imbalance. Perhaps activating extensors the lower extremity (tibialis interior, extensor digitorum longest, etc.) could explain, in part, some of these (controversial) results.    We’re not recommending or condoning taking up smoking to preserve your knees. This is merely food for thought in the ever-changing landscape of clinical application.      http://lermagazine.com/cover_story/smoking-knee-oa-from-clinical-controversy-to-therapeutic-possibility

So here is somewhat of a controversial subject.

Perhaps, though not discussed in this article, activating more axial extensors (vestbulospinal pathways, things like your erector spinae) could be somewhat protective, in that it could, at least theoretically, help to normalize flexor/extensor ratios in the lower extremity. 

We see flexor dominance (increased corticospinal activity) in many cases of lower extremity problems causing an imbalance. Perhaps activating extensors the lower extremity (tibialis interior, extensor digitorum longest, etc.) could explain, in part, some of these (controversial) results.

We’re not recommending or condoning taking up smoking to preserve your knees. This is merely food for thought in the ever-changing landscape of clinical application.


http://lermagazine.com/cover_story/smoking-knee-oa-from-clinical-controversy-to-therapeutic-possibility

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Holy twisted tibias Batman! What is going here in this R sided knee pain patient?

In the 1st picture note this patient is in a neutral posture. Note how far externally rotated her right foot is compared to the left. Note that when you drop a plumbline down from the tibial tuberosity it does not pass-through or between the second and third metatarsals. Also note the incident left short leg
In the next picture both of the patients legs are fully externally rotated. Note the large disparity from right to left. Because of the limited extra rotation of the right hip this patient most likely has femoral retro torsion. This means that the angle of her femoral head is at a greater than 12° angle. We would normally expect approximately 40° of external Rotation. 4 to 6° is requisite for normal gait and supination.

In the next picture the patients knees are fully internally rotated you can see that she has an excessive amount of internal rotation on the right compare to left, confirming her femoral antetorsion.

When this patient puts her feet straight (last picture), her knees point to the inside causing the patello femoral dysfunction right greater than left. No wonder she has right-sided knee pain!

Because of the degree of external tibial torsion (14 to 21° considered normal), activity modification is imperative. A foot leveling orthotic with a modified UCB, also inverting the orthotic is helpful to bring her foot somewhat more to the midline (the orthotic pushes the knee further outside the sagittal plane and the patient internally rotate the need to compensate, thus giving a better alignment).

a note on tibial torsion. As the fetus matures, The tibia then rotates externally, and most newborns have an average of 0- 4° of internal tibial torsion. At birth, there should be little to no torsion of the tibia; the proximal and distal portions of the bone have little angular difference (see above: top). Postnatally, the tibia should twist outward (externally) a total of 15 degrees until adult values are reached between ages 8 and 10 years of 23° of external tibial torsion (range, 0° to 40°). more cool stuff on torsions here

Wow, cool stuff, eh?

What are we listening to this week?     The Physio edge podcast with David pope. This week they interview Kurt Lisle about anterior knee pain. Here is our synopsis:     One of the things they empahasized right off the bat was that patellofemoral pain not only refers about the knee but also below or most importantly posterior to the knee. The fat pad had a tendency to refer more locally where is other structures can refer to other areas.    Aggravating factors for patello femoral dysfunctional pain tends to be flexion or activities involving flexion as well as compression of the knee and rest is in alleviating factor.    The fat pad pain tends to be to either side of the patellar tendon and sometimes directly under it. This can be aggravated by standing, particularly with the knee and hyperextension, which compresses the fat pad.    Patellar tendon pain tends to remain at the inferior pole of the patella on the tendon whereas patellofemoral pain has a tendency to refer more.      Physical examination pearls:     Patellar tendonopathy alone generally does not have effusion present where as the patellofemoral or fat pad injury may.   Is there pain in passive hyperextension? This generally can mean fat pad injury or potential he ligamentous injury.   Visually you may palpate a thickened fat pad, particularly in females.   Pain with passive motions generally points away from patellar tendon.   Dialing in as to where and when they are having their pain is an important part of the functional evaluation.   Kurt likes to do a table top examination first to ensure functional integrity of the knee before jumping right to functional tasks. His concerns are (which are valid) is the knee up to the task you’re about to ask it to do? Good advice here. He emphasizes the need to be systematic and consistent in your examination, no matter how you examine them. Develop a routine that you follow each and every time. He recommends passively looking at the knee in extension and 90° flexion.    There is a discussion on functional movement about the hip and pelvis, knee, and foot and ankle. Emphasis is made, for example at the knee, as to “is the knee moving medially and laterally or are the femur and tibia rotating mediately or laterally” in which is precipitating the pain?    “Catching” of the patella is often due to patellofemoral pathology such as a subchondral defect, slap tear of the chondral surface, or abnormalities of the trochlea of the femur.    Advanced imaging strategies are also discussed with a brief overview of some of the things to look for.    Finally treatment strategies were discussed. It is emphasized that identifying the specific activity or change activities that’s causing any pain he’s made as well as activity modification. We were happy to hear that footwear and its role in knee as well as hepatology was discussed as well as looking at occupational contributions to the pain.    There was emphasis on exercise specificity particularly with respect to if the problem was unilateral not giving “blanket” exercises for both knees but rather concentrating on the symptomatic side.    A discussion on the use of EMG and activation patterns was also entertained with some good clinical pearls here. More marked rather than subtle changes and activation side to side seem to be more clinically significant. In other words, with respect training, can they achieve similar levels of activation on each side with a similar activity (for example isometric knee extension with the leg bent 60°).    The judicious use of tape from a functional testing standpoint was interesting. Emphasis was made that tape is not a cure and will merely a tool.     All in all and informative, concise podcast with some great clinical pearls and a nice review of the knee and patellofemoral pain.          link to PODcast:  http://physioedge.com.au/pe-029-acute-knee-injuries-with-kurt-lisle/

What are we listening to this week? 

The Physio edge podcast with David pope. This week they interview Kurt Lisle about anterior knee pain. Here is our synopsis:

One of the things they empahasized right off the bat was that patellofemoral pain not only refers about the knee but also below or most importantly posterior to the knee. The fat pad had a tendency to refer more locally where is other structures can refer to other areas.

Aggravating factors for patello femoral dysfunctional pain tends to be flexion or activities involving flexion as well as compression of the knee and rest is in alleviating factor.

The fat pad pain tends to be to either side of the patellar tendon and sometimes directly under it. This can be aggravated by standing, particularly with the knee and hyperextension, which compresses the fat pad.

Patellar tendon pain tends to remain at the inferior pole of the patella on the tendon whereas patellofemoral pain has a tendency to refer more.

Physical examination pearls:

  • Patellar tendonopathy alone generally does not have effusion present where as the patellofemoral or fat pad injury may.
  • Is there pain in passive hyperextension? This generally can mean fat pad injury or potential he ligamentous injury.
  • Visually you may palpate a thickened fat pad, particularly in females.
  • Pain with passive motions generally points away from patellar tendon.
  • Dialing in as to where and when they are having their pain is an important part of the functional evaluation.

Kurt likes to do a table top examination first to ensure functional integrity of the knee before jumping right to functional tasks. His concerns are (which are valid) is the knee up to the task you’re about to ask it to do? Good advice here.
He emphasizes the need to be systematic and consistent in your examination, no matter how you examine them. Develop a routine that you follow each and every time. He recommends passively looking at the knee in extension and 90° flexion.

There is a discussion on functional movement about the hip and pelvis, knee, and foot and ankle. Emphasis is made, for example at the knee, as to “is the knee moving medially and laterally or are the femur and tibia rotating mediately or laterally” in which is precipitating the pain?

“Catching” of the patella is often due to patellofemoral pathology such as a subchondral defect, slap tear of the chondral surface, or abnormalities of the trochlea of the femur.

Advanced imaging strategies are also discussed with a brief overview of some of the things to look for.

Finally treatment strategies were discussed. It is emphasized that identifying the specific activity or change activities that’s causing any pain he’s made as well as activity modification. We were happy to hear that footwear and its role in knee as well as hepatology was discussed as well as looking at occupational contributions to the pain.

There was emphasis on exercise specificity particularly with respect to if the problem was unilateral not giving “blanket” exercises for both knees but rather concentrating on the symptomatic side.

A discussion on the use of EMG and activation patterns was also entertained with some good clinical pearls here. More marked rather than subtle changes and activation side to side seem to be more clinically significant. In other words, with respect training, can they achieve similar levels of activation on each side with a similar activity (for example isometric knee extension with the leg bent 60°).

The judicious use of tape from a functional testing standpoint was interesting. Emphasis was made that tape is not a cure and will merely a tool.

All in all and informative, concise podcast with some great clinical pearls and a nice review of the knee and patellofemoral pain.


link to PODcast: http://physioedge.com.au/pe-029-acute-knee-injuries-with-kurt-lisle/

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What were they thinking? Oh, they weren’t thinking…

Here is a simple case of knowing your anatomy. 

make sure to use the toggle bar to the right and left of the picture to see all the pictures : )

This woman came in with right sided lateral knee pain with hiking and skiing; worse with fatigue, better with rest. The pain was localized at the lateral joint line and at the tibial fibular joint. 

She had been previously been diagnosed with tibial fibular hypermobility and subsequently had an arthrodesis (fusion) performed at that joint for knee pain. The surgery helped for a short time and a newer, slightly different pain developed. 

Yes, she has a moderate genu valgus, R > L. Yes, she has a left, anatomically short (tibial) Left leg. Yes, she has has NO MOBILITY at the tib/fib articulation and the focus of pain is just above at the joint line and at the lateral aspect of the patello femoral joint. 

The tibial fibular joint is a syndesmosis (not a true synovial or diarthrodial joint) that is supposed to have a a superio/inferior gliding motion (see diagram) with ankle dorsiflexion, due to the wedge shape of the talar dome and talo crural articulation. It also is supposed to have an anterior/posterior gliding movement at the superior aspect of the joint and a reciprocal movement in the opposite direction at the ankle (see diagram).

Whenever we take away movement in one area, it needs to occur somewhere else; in this case, at the femoral tibial joint and patello femoral joints.

Does it make sense that her left sided leg would cause hypermobility on the right side with a supinatory moment of the foot on the left to attempt to lengthen the leg and a pronatory movement of the foot on the right, in addition to valgus angulation of the joint on the right to attempt to “shorten” that extremity? Would this increased valgus angluation of the knee, in turn, cause abnormal, lateral, tracking of the patella? Wouldn’t the increased pronatory moment cause a more supple foot on that side with increased requirements for “push off” on that side with increased calf recruitment? Do you think that may impair proprioception on that side?

What if you put a sole lift in the left shoe (like we did) to help to alleviate some of the discrepancy and gave her some anterior compartment exercises (toes up walking, lift/spread/reach exercises, heel walking, simple balance on 1 leg exercises? Her world becomes a much better place to live in and she can return to the activities she loves to do with her 65 year old friends, like hiking 14′ers, skiing and mountain biking,

What we do to one joint affects all the others. You cannot make one change without expecting others. Be on the lookout and know your anatomy! This case was relatively straight forward. Many are not. Do a thorough exam and expect the unexpected. 

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Now THERE”S some internal tibial torsion!

So, this gent came in to see us with L sided knee pain after it collapsed with an audible “pop” during a baseball game. He has +1/+2 laxity in his ACL on that side. He has subpatellar and joint line pain on full flexion, which is limited slightly to 130 (compared to 145 right)

 We know he has internal torsion because a line drawn from the tibial tuberosity dropped inferiorly does not pass through or near the plane of the 2nd metatarsal (more on tibial torsions here)

What would you do? Here’s what we did:

  • acupuncture to reduce swelling
  • took him out of his motion control shoes (which pitch him further outside the saggital plane)
  • gave him propriosensory exercises (1 leg balance: eyes open/ eyes closed; 1 legged mini squats, BOSU ball standing: eyes open/eyes closed)
  • potty squats in a pain free range
  • ice prn
  • asked him to avoid full flexion

Is it any wonder he injured his knee? Imagine placing the FOOT in the saggital plane, which places the knee FAR outside it; now load the joint an twist, OUCH!