When you injure a joint in your body, you should not merely focus on repairing that joint – you must also tend to the muscles that contribute to the stability and movement of that joint. Those muscles are called the kinetic chain. Saint Francis Medical Center’s Knee, Hip, Shoulder Clinic helps patients rehabilitate from joint injuries by treating the entire kinetic chain.
“Whether you have experienced an acute injury or an overuse injury, our goal is to make sure it does not happen again,” says Jimmy D. Bowen, MD, FAAPMR, CSCS, physiatrist at Saint Francis. “We will look above and below the joint to make sure your kinetic chain is optimized.”
For example, if a runner experiences knee pain due to repetitive activity, the problem may be that the kneecap does not track, or ride, correctly in the joint. This could be because there is a problem with the muscles in the buttocks that control the movement of the pelvis. Additionally, the runner’s foot movement could also be contributing to the knee problem.
“If we just focused on the knee, we would miss the problem that got the runner there in the first place,” says Bowen. “Any physical therapy exercises would aim to increase flexibility and range of motion in the calf, hamstring, quadriceps and hip flexor.”
Doctors at Saint Francis use the kinetic chain to treat not just athletes, but also people who have joint problems due to workplace or home injuries, or overuse. “If you are at home caring for your children or trying to walk regularly for health, your joints are influenced by your kinetic chain,” says Bowen.
Everyone who experiences a joint injury, says Bowen, should understand that simply resting the joint is not always the best solution. “If you rest a joint to try to become better, you actually decondition it,” he says. “Additionally, while taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help you feel better, they will not solve the problem. You want to be smart about reconditioning and improving your kinetic chain so you do not have that problem in the future.”
For more information, visit www.sfmc.net or call 573-331-3996.