Can your knee pain be connected to your feet? The short answers is yes! The long answer is it depends on the bio mechanics of your foot, structure of your body and the functions you are placing across them.
Our bodies are subject to the kinetic chain. This means anything from the ground up can influence the next joint up. Dysfunction in foot joints can lead to problems in the ankle, knee, hip and lower back. I have even had patients with one leg shorter than the other develop significant neck pain from compensation. Running on uneven terrain or around a track in the same dirrection each day can overload and stress one side over the other and lead to pain.
So how does this relate to our knees? Undo stress can be applied to the knee when the foot is overly pronated such as patients with flat feet. This can lead in compensation at the ankle and knees, causing the patient to become "knock kneed". This in turn can lead to abnormal tracking of the knee cap causing knee pain. This problem can also lead to uneven wear of the cartilage, stress on the medial (inside) knee ligaments and impingement of the capsule. Similarly, high arches can lead to under-pronation or supination causing the opposite effect on the the knee.
When we have abnormal bio mechanical or structural alignment on the knee, injury can occur. We often treat these injuries symptomatically, treating the symptoms and not the underlying causes. Knee braces, injections and even surgery may be prescribed, but pain may continue without addressing the underlying causes. In Podiatry, we look to address the bio mechanical root of the pain to offload the joint and return functionality. This can usually be achieved with an orthotic insert for the shoe, shoe gear, physical therapy, or even surgery in rare cases.
If you suffer from knee pain, especially while running, come in for an evaluation today!
Chris Suykerbuyk, DPM, FACFAS