Can a Weak Hip Be the Cause of Knee Pain?

Feb 3, 2022

ProActive Physical Therapy

by ProActive Physical Therapy

We’ve learned since childhood that all the bones in the body are connected, and research shows weakness in one area can lead to injury in another. Chronic knee pain is caused by a number of different issues, and at ProActive Physical Therapy, we can help determine exactly what the problem is and how to fix it. Here’s some of what we know about knee pain, how it’s connected to the hips, and how we can help.

Knee Pain is Often Related to Hip Weakness

Knee pain is one of the most common injuries and is common across all ages. A study of over 2,000 runners showed that 17% of their injuries were related to knee pain. Insidious knee pain, meaning pain starting without an obvious reason, is more common in women (62% of cases) as compared to men (38% of cases). There have been several theories proposed as to why this is the case. One theory is that women have a deficit, or lack of, hip muscle strength. According to many scientific journals, there is a strong correlation between patellofemoral (front of the knee) pain and hip weakness in external rotation, abduction, and extension.

In other words, because the knee bones are connected to the hip bones, knee pain is often related to hip weakness. When the hips are weak, the femur (thigh bone) is more internally rotated, meaning when you are standing straight, your knees tend to point inward, rather than straight ahead. This reduces the amount of contact between the thigh bone and the knee bone, which impacts the way the knee moves and can result in overuse injuries over time. The femur relies on muscles at the hip and the knee to keep it stable during movement, and to control the motion of the hip and knee. Therefore, muscle weakness at the hip directly affects knee motion.

How Can Physical Therapy Help?

Given these complicated interactions in the body, how can physical therapy help? Our physical therapists are experts in biomechanics – the way the body moves. This means we can identify your injury and trace it back to its true source. We also address specific issues related directly to your knee pain and design an individualized exercise program to help you get better and return to your active lifestyle. Our specialized care enables you to develop new habits and reduce the likelihood of experiencing the same pain again in the future. We make sure you understand how to do exercises correctly and effectively, so you can continue to practice these exercises on your own at home after you complete therapy. Our priority is not only to help you get better but to help you remain pain-free far into the future.

ProActive is a leading provider of physical therapy in Tucson and serves patients who have a vast variety of injuries and musculoskeletal pain. Our commitment to hands-on, individualized therapy makes it possible for us to help you achieve your specific goals. To schedule a free consultation with one of our therapists, go online here today!

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