The knee, writes Vernon physiotherapist Cheryl Witter, is the lower body’s answer to the ‘middle child.’ (Photo submitted)

The knee, writes Vernon physiotherapist Cheryl Witter, is the lower body’s answer to the ‘middle child.’ (Photo submitted)

COLUMN: Oh knee, oh my

Physio columnist suggests the knee is like the ‘middle child’ of the lower body

The knee is like “The Middle Child.” It’s stuck between the hip and the foot. The following are apparently some traits of Middle Children. Let’s have some fun and I will show you what the knee’s personality is like.

1) Pro at keeping the peace: this is what the knee does best. It makes up for hip or foot issues. Medial knee pain from ligaments, menisci or osteoarthritis often stems from weak hip abductor muscles or an over-pronated flat foot. Both of these hip/foot issues make the knee bow inwards. This stresses the inside of the knee and therefore the knee has to deal with it. So, keeping the peace, the knee takes one for the team!

2) Creative ways to get attention: Is there any joint in the body that gets as noticed as the knee with the large variety of knee braces available? Big ones, minimalist ones, clunky ones, shiny ones, colourful ones. Knee straps. Kneecap tensors. It’s bionic-anything-goes! Look at me, says the knee.

3) A tad melodramatic: sorry middle kids. I didn’t make this trait list up! But has anyone ever seen someone just twist slightly funny with their foot planted and they just drop to the ground in agony? You roll your eyes and think that’s a little much. But it’s not actually. The knee cap can actually pop out of its little groove on the femur just by having the foot planted and twisting while contracting the quad muscle. This is definitely a drop to the ground dramatic moment. May look “melodramatic,” but it’s not. Ouch!

4) Self-motivated: Anyone with a bum knee knows that there is no way around rehabilitation. The owner of the bad knee must be self-motivated to strength train, stretch, improve balance and agility. It takes a lot of work and dedication to rehab a total knee replacement, ACL repair, meniscal tear, fractures and more. It’s a must. Remember how much the hip and foot rely on it? It needs to be strong.

5) Alone time: apparently middle children like “alone time.” So does the knee. More than the other joints in our body, it likes to swell. Often randomly. Often unexpectedly. It is just a joint that reacts to overuse, injury and irritation with swelling. So it’s “alone time” is rest, elevation and some ice. Especially after an event or long day. A little bit of quiet icing time goes a long way with the knee.

6) Easy time making friends : This is my favourite. Who hasn’t been at the dog park, neighborhood barbeque, grocery store line up and struck up a conversation about your “bad knee” with someone? Knee people love sharing their knee stories. Instant bond …Instant friend!

So, now I will add that I have a middle child. So I hope no one is offended here! Middle children are unique and as special as is the knee. They have a tough job. A healthy, well-functioning knee isn’t easy. It takes work. But worth the effort. Take away here? Your knee is precious, important and any issue should be dealt with and solved.

The hip and foot are relying on it!

Cheryl Witter is the owner of Spine and Sports North End Physical Therapy and Massage Therapy in Vernon

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Cheryl Witter

Cheryl Witter