• Healthy Knees: 3 Tests to Check Your Alignment

    October 23, 2021 | By Tony Yong

    Healthy Knees: 3 Tests to Check Your Alignment

    Having healthy knees makes all the difference in life and sports. So whether you’re a competitive teenage athlete, a weekend warrior, or an active senior, you want to have happy knees.

    Getting sidelined with knee pain can be not only frustrating but also debilitating. It can stop you in your tracks.

    As physiotherapists, we treat people with knee pain daily, and getting to the core of knee pain will involve looking at your alignment.

     

    Alignment is Key

    Alignment is the key for the body. Whether looking at your overall posture or your knee health, optimal alignment makes all the difference. Why? It helps to take excess stress off just a few joints and ligaments and puts the right amount of tension throughout the entire movement chain.

    When looking at your knees, we want to ensure that your knees stay well-aligned whether you’re standing still or doing various movements. Squatting, hopping, running, and twisting are just a few of the activities your knees need to handle with confidence and control.

    Although it’s best to be assessed by a licensed physiotherapist, we want to provide you with three 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.

    Essential 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 could perform your squat with good knee alignment, you can move on to the next test.

     

    Single-Leg Squat

    The single-leg squat is more challenging and can reveal critical 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.

    Essential Question: Does your knee cap stay pointed towards the mirror. If you can do that, you’ll want to check to see if your hips remain 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.

    Essential Question: Did your knee alignment waiver when you hopped? Were your arms moving a lot, or was your trunk twisting to stay upright?

     

    Next Steps

    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 a long-term impact on the health of your knees.

    As I mentioned, there are many 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.

    Want to take a step in the right direction? Call one of our six clinics located throughout Edmonton & Sherwood Park, including RiverbendMeadowlarkBelvedereNamao, West Henday or Sherwood Park.

    If you have any further questions, contact Innovation Physical Therapy today. We’re here to help you, “Love Getting Better!”

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