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A Chiropractic View on Knee Injuries and Rehabilitation

A Chiropractic View of THE KNEE

IF YOU HAVE had a knee injury, you soon realize the importance of the joint you once took for granted. Knee injuries can affect athletes at any time and, if not treated properly, can plague one for years.

A higher degree of knee injuries occurs in athletes due to the huge demand on them, the direct trauma of a fall, for example, or from repetitive stress factors.

Direct Trauma

Trauma to the knee requires doctors to check for fractures, meniscus tears, and cruciate or collateral ligament tears. Questions a specialist will ask:
  • Was the knee hyperextended at the time of injury?
  • Was the knee twisted or hit from the outside?
  • Was there a pop at the time of injury?
  • Immediate or delayed onset swelling?
  • Does the knee give or lock in a certain position?
Torn ligaments come in varieties: mild, moderate, severe, and completely torn. This case demands that the knee be stabilized and braced, and, in some instances, surgery is recommended to attach any loose ends.

Repetitive Stress/ Non-Traumatic Injuries

Soft tissue injuries to the knee are often the result of either imbalance to the large muscles that move and support the knee or stem from excessive foot pronation, ankle instability, and pelvic misalignments.

Joint misalignments stress the normal biomechanics of the knee. Performing a marathon or a century ride will compound these forces and cause pain. Debilitating as they are, repetitive stress injuries are preventable. The challenge is to find the cause, not just medicate the symptoms.

Chiropractic View of the Knee

The knee is composed of the three longest bones in the body. The bones in the calf, the tibia and the fibula also form the ankle joint below and transmit the force of every step up to the knee. Misalignment of the tibia generates excessive torque on the knee. Lateral knee pain can result from fibula misalignment. The longest bone, the femur, rests on the tibia and forms the hip joint as it meets the pelvis. Pelvic misalignment will disrupt leg balance and torque the knee externally, causing medial knee pain. The foundation of the knee and the body is the feet. A fallen arch and excessive pronation undermine the support of all the leg joints and, if ignored, can lead to degenerative arthritis. Hypertonic, tense muscles can be massaged to give relief. However, this tension often reacts to an opposing muscle’s failure to balance. A “tug of war” ensued between over-tight muscles and inhibited, weakened muscles, with the knee joint caught in the middle. A tight muscle is a reaction to an opposing muscle that is inhibited. Posture gives a clue to muscle inhibition.¬†
  • Knock knees: inhibited sartorius and gracilis.
  • Bow legged:Inhibited adductors.
  • Hyperextension of the knee: inhibited quadri- ceps or gastrocnemius.

What Are the Choices?

Here is a dream list of professionals for knee injuries:
  • A Sports Chiropractor who corrects extremity joint alignment and Applied Kinesiologist to assess and correct muscle dysfunction.
  • A physical therapist is needed to rehabilitate damaged tissues, and a physical trainer is required to help with muscle strengthening.
  • Foot supports, called orthotics, are fitted by a Podiatrist or Sports Doctor. Massage and yoga instruction are highly recommended.


Rehab protocol begins with gentle exercises: first passive, then active with simple balancing exercises. Next comes resisted active exercises, lightweight training, and specific balancing exercises to develop joint proprioceptors. The severity of the damage will dictate when rehabilitation begins.

A Chiropractic View of THE KNEE

Struggling with Knee Pain?

Schedule a consultation with Dr Craig to get to the root cause and start your path to recovery.

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The Final Words

When the skeleton is aligned with all the muscles, firing performance is raised to its highest potential. Most professional and Olympic-level competitors know and live by these principles. They are out of pain quickly, and other physical problems may begin to subside.

Dr. Craig Eymann owns Aloha Chiropractic in Santa Cruz, CA. He is a muscle and joint specialist and sports-applied kinesiologist who helps athletes with many special needs. Call Santa Cruz at 831-325-9286.

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Dr. Craig Eymann

Musculoskeletal Injury Specialist

Dr. Craig Eymann

Musculoskeletal Injury Specialist

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