Who put the pop in your popliteus? Who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong? Well, whoever it was, we are about to get it back. In my last article we discovered a very intricate muscle called the popliteus that originates from the outside of the bottom of the thigh, lateral femur, and fans out the the inside of the lower leg bone, the tibia.
This muscle has the very important function of keeping the femur connected to the tibia when in flexion and also controlling medial rotation. If the popliteus is not functioning correctly, or it is weak, it can manifest as general knee or cartilage pain. Because the popliteus holds the two bones together it controls the smoothness of the patella tractioning directly over the joint. If the tibia is not in alignment with the femur it can pull the patella off to the lateral side causing issues such as patellar tendonitis, which is felt behind the knee.
The popliteus will draw the patellar tendon into alignment by rotating the tibial tuberosity to line up with the femur bone. This is why strengthening the popliteus is important for the health of your knee joint and its many functions.
Try these knee strengthening yoga poses to target the muscle and help you get back on the dance floor!
Sqaut with Arms Up: work towards parallel feet and keep the knee tracking over the ankles. You can activate the muscle by trying to energetically screw drive the heels laterally away from each other.
Shin Jive: focus on the internal rotation of the shin to activate the popliteus muscle as you shin jive your way to better knee health.
Splat Frog with Internal Rotation: this pose focuses deeply on the internal rotation of the hip, but with the knee bent there is also opportunity to work the external rotation in the knee to strengthen the popliteus and its control over the patellar tendon alignment.
Prasarita Lunges: use the pushing of the opposite heel away from you to sway your body from side to side. This action of the foot highlights the energetic medial rotation of the active leg and fire up and strengthen the popliteus.
With these great Popliteus muscle excercises, you’ll be hopping, jiving and twisting again, just like you did last summer! Enjoy!