Knee Pain & Orthotics

Many of us suffer from pain in the knees, hips or lower back. Often, there is a connection between these complaints and the way you walk. There are a number of different causes for knee pain. With age, wear and tear occurs in the knee joint. Also, over-use causes knee problems (for example in rugby/football players, and dancers etc). Over time softening of the cartilage beneath the knee cap (the patella) will result in tissue breakdown and pain in the knee joint. Instead of gliding smoothly over the knee, the knee cap grinds against the thigh bone when the knee moves. In turn this may result in heavy erosion of the cartilage. Apart from age and over-use, the third most common cause of knee pain is faulty gait (i.e. the way we walk). Overpronation (the rolling inwards of the feet and lowering of the arches) is a major factor to knee pain.

Here’s why…

The knee joint forms the link between the upper and lower leg. It is a hinge joint, which means it is only designed to flex and extend the lower leg, and not rotate it. Unlike for instance your elbow joint, which allows your underarm to move up and down, as well as rotate it. Overpronation of the feet means that with every step our foot rolls inward too much. As the foot rolls inward the bones in the lower leg are forced to rotate internally and this results in a twisting motion at the knee joint. This irregular motion of the knee will inevitably lead to excessive wear and tear in the knee joint causing long-term damage and chronic knee pain.

The most commonly prescribed treatment for knee pain is Orthotics, which are recommended to stabilize the feet and correct poor foot function. They can be used to prevent the unnatural rotation of the lower leg, thereby treating the cause of this type of knee pain. By supporting the arches, they force the ankles and legs back into alignment, reducing the twisting on the knee and thereby providing relief to the painful knee joint. Orthotics can improve knee pain in a number of ways:

  • They can change the distribution of force through the foot and ankle, which can result in a change in the distribution of force through the knee.
  • They can act as cushions to reduce the force through the foot and ankle, which can result in a reduction of force through the knee.
  • They can change the alignment of the foot and ankle, which can result in a change of alignment at the knee. For example, they can control, overpronation (rolling in) of the foot. Orthotics can help control overpronation of the foot, which in turn, improves alignment of the knee and thereby reducing knee pain.

More about Orthotics

Orthotics can be made by many different materials. The choice of material depends on what the orthotic are trying to do. Soft orthotics are beneficial if cushioning is required. Semi-rigid orthotics provide more stability than soft orthotics and still provide good shock absorption while rigid orthotics provide maximal support and stability. They can be custom made or pre-made and are designed to fit easily into most casual or sports shoes. After an initial break-in period orthotics should feel comfortable. Feet and knees need time to adapt to new orthotics. If the orthotics are not comfortable in 2-3weeks they may need to be adjusted. Orthotics, when used in conjunction with a general knee rehabilitation program orthotics can serve an important role in the treatment of knee pain. If you are suffering from knee pain do not hesitate to visit us here at the Madison Clinic located in North York, ON near Yonge & Sheppard. Chiropractic, Physiotherapy and Massage therapy can help to treat these issues and at our clinic, The Madison Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Centre we provide therapist in those disciplines to help you with your rehabilitation and goals.