Healthy Knees: 3 Tests to Check Your Alignment
Having healthy knees makes all the difference in life and sports. Whether you’re a competitive teenage soccer player, a weekend warrior, or an active senior you want to have happy knees.
Getting sidelined with knee pain can not only be frustrating, but also debilitating. It can stop you in your tracks.
As physiotherapists we treat people with knee pain on a daily basis and getting to the core of knee pain will involve looking at your alignment.
Alignment is Key
Alignment is the key with the body. Whether you are looking at your overall posture or your knee health. Optimal alignment makes all the difference. Why? Because it helps to take excess stress off of just a few joints and ligaments and puts the right amount of stress throughout the entire movement chain.
When looking at your knees, we want to make sure that your knees stay well aligned whether you’re standing still or doing various movements. Squatting, hopping, running, twisting are just a few of the movements your knees need to handle with confidence and control.
Although it’s best to be assessed by a licensed physiotherapist, I wanted to provide you with 3 simple tests you can do yourself. These tests can help you better understand how well your knees stay aligned.
Equipment You’ll Need
- A Full Length Mirror
- Firm Floor
- You should wear shorts and bare feet
2 Legged Squat
There is a lot you can analyze with the squat. But to keep things simple, I’m going to have you focus on your knee alignment when looking from the front. Stand in front of the mirror and do a partial squat.
Key Question: Do your knee caps stay pointed towards the mirror? Look to see if your knee caps start to turn in towards each other.
If you were able to perform your squat with good knee alignment, you can move onto the next test.
Single Leg Squat
The single leg squat is more challenging and can reveal key challenges. If you’re a runner, soccer player or hockey player, you’ll want to make sure that you can perform this test without issue.
With the single leg squat, begin with standing on one leg and then slowly lower yourself down into a squat with one leg.
Key Question: Does your knee cap stay pointed towards the mirror. If you’re able to do that, you’ll want to check to see if your hips stay level as you squat down.
If you pass the single leg squat test, you’ll want to try the hop test.
The Hop Test
The hop test adds movement to the squat and assesses your ability to control your knee through dynamic movements.
To do the test, stand on one leg and stand in a semi-crouched position. From this position hop forward about 2 feet and land on the opposite foot. Stick the landing for about 5 seconds and use your mirror to assess how well you control your knee positioning.
Key Question: Did you knee alignment waiver when you hopped? Were your arms moving a lot or was your trunk twisting to stay upright?
How did you do with your knee tests? These tests can be a great way to get a sense of how well you can control your knee alignment which will have long term impact on the health of your knees.
As I mentioned, there are a lot of things to look at when assessing knee alignment and control. Physiotherapists are movement specialists that have the skill and experience to get to the root of your movement problems.
Interested to learn more? Book an assessment with one of our physiotherapists at any of our four physiotherapy clinic locations in Edmonton and Sherwood Park.
About Trevor Anderson, Physiotherapist | Innovation Physiotherapy South Edmonton
Trevor graduated from the Master of Physiotherapy Studies program at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Trevor has years of experience working with elderly patients, and worked as the on-field trainer for an elite rugby team in Australia. He is an integral part of our South Edmonton physiotherapy clinic location in the community of Riverbend. To learn more read Trevor Anderson’s bio.