The Forgotten Joint, Part 2

Last month, we talked about what the patellofemoral joint (PFJ) is and where it is located (The Forgotten Joint, Part 1). This month, we will continue with how to differentiate pain from the knee area and pain from the PFJ. But first we need to understand the biomechanics of the PFJ.

Biomechanics of the PFJ
The knee cap works as a single pulley with the quadriceps and the patellar tendon being the ropes attached to the top and bottom ends, respectively. Its function is to increase the efficiency of the quadriceps muscle in stabilizing the knee, especially in weight bearing position. The resultant force from the pull of these two ropes is the compression force to the PFJ. Just like in other joint pain, the more compression is at the joint, the more pain a patient will experience. At the PFJ, the compression increases as the knee goes into more bent positions.

What is Alexander Technique?

Backaches, headaches, sore necks and shoulders…what causes the pains of life?

According to the late F. M. Alexander, it is life-long patterns of misuse of our bodies which lead these problems. We slouch and slump, compressing the spine and constricting breathing, digestion and circulation. Over time, we accept these bad habits as “normal,” unaware of the extent to which we are contributing to our own physical pain, stress and dysfunction.

Alexander proposed these unhealthy patterns can be changed (or unlearned) and developed a technique to assist others. His method as been used worldwide for over 100 years.

The American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT) has created an animated summation of the Alexander Technique and its benefits. Watch the video to learn more.

When Life Is a Pain in the Neck...

Many of us suffer from neck and head pain, making life difficult or even unbearable at times. The possible causes are numerous: muscle tightness, muscle weakness, spinal misalignment, poor posture, injury, jaw dysfunction, overuse, etc. In many instances, therapeutic massage can help relieve or prevent pain and restore tissues to their proper function by elongating muscles and releasing tense areas in the soft tissues.

Looking at the images below may give you a better understand of the makeup of the head and neck and realize why there are so many potential problems in this area.

How to Treat & Beat Shin Splints

After training for, or running in, one of the many races during the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon weekend you may begin to experience common pain associated with running called shin splints. Shin splints, also known as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), present themselves as pain along the tibia (the large bone in front of the lower leg). This pain can feel either dull or sharp. It is caused by improper running mechanics, repetitive pounding, or increase in exercise intensity/duration without proper progression.

Running is a repetitive, high impact movement. With as much repetition that occurs through training and racing, you may start to experience trauma or a “wearing down” of certain muscles or joints. Muscles, tendons and bone tissue may become overworked and inflammation and pain will occur.

Stay Safe While Shoveling Snow

Winter is here, and the inevitable snowfalls that accompany it. While shoveling snow can be a good exercise when performed correctly and with safety in mind, many people are shoveling with incorrect biomechanics—which put them at risk for injury.

Snow shoveling is a repetitive activity believed to cause tens of thousands of back, neck and shoulder injuries each year, ranging from muscle strain and sprains to significant medical emergencies requiring emergency room visits.

To protect yourself from potential injury, shovelers should follow these common-sense tips:

Harness Your Pain

Fall is here! Which brings with it a season of harvest, perennial planting, and lawn and garden cleanup before the colder weather hits.

These Autumn activities can be physically demanding—or even hazardous—when done in repetition or with poor technique. This may lead to pain or discomfort in your shoulder, wrist or hand.

Common mistakes of Fall gardening:

  1. Forgeting to take breaks
  2. Remaining in one position for too long causing sore muscles and joints
  3. Holding a firm grip with a bent wrist
  4. Carrying/lifting too heavy a load

Safe gardening tips:


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