In Wednesday’s blog, we reviewed the anatomical elements of the hip to knee Q-angle. Today, by working with each of the components within an unfavorable valgus knee/ Q-angle pattern, we can begin to tame the ‘chicken-egg’ assault on lower body tissues. Use of Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls helps to release muscle fiber micro-spams (trigger points) that cause inhibition of optimal strength production in affected muscles. These trigger points contribute to uneven, unbalanced forces around the joints; in this case particularly hip and knee. By combining Therapy Ball rolling with Yoga Tune Up® corrective exercise techniques, healthy tissues can be mobilized and retrained to enjoy proper anatomical directions of movement. This science-based approach to ‘pre-habilitation’ aims to not only relieve current discomfort, but especially, to avoid excessive wear of affected areas or future injury.
Start with Therapy Ball massage techniques to relax taut tissues. Targeted areas include: quadriceps tendon above the kneecap (patella), inner thigh muscles (adductors); and on the lateral side of hip and thigh, the tensor fascia latae (TFL) and iliotibial (IT) bands. Give mindful attention to the inferior, anterior edge of the IT band (above and outside of knee) from where it infamously adheres to the vastus lateralis muscle. Since excessive medial (internal) hip rotation results in overuse of the adductor muscles and often weak hip abductors, the Leg Stretch series, dynamic Prasarita Lunges and Half Happy Baby Minivini are all effective techniques to bring equilibrium and strength to the lower body alignment. The kinetic chain reaches all the way to/from the feet, so faulty lower leg mechanics do, indeed, contribute to Valgus knee and Q-angle issues. Dysfunctional lower leg mechanics are also related to excessive foot pronation and often a measure of arch collapse, so Yoga Tune Up® self-massage and stretches for feet and lower legs are essential to address this pattern.
Yoga Tune Up® DVDs offer many targeted exercises to address these areas, especially Quick Fix Rx KneeHab or the customized At Home Series. Below is a sample of Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball work for the lower leg peroneal muscles: