Did you know that your knee pain can be the result of a weak ankle? Did anyone ever tell you that your neck pain may be a result of weak core muscles? The body is built like a machine with interconnecting systems that rely on one another to work together and do their individual jobs to keep things running smoothly.
What is the kinetic chain?
The kinetic chain refers to the system of joints in the body that connect one section of the body to another. In general, the major joints help to divide the body into functional sections: ankles, knees, hips, lumbar spine (lower back), thoracic spine (mid and upper back), and cervical spine (neck). All of these sections work together to help the body maintain balance. An example of this natural balancing act is when a person swings their arms as they run.
What is kinetic energy, and how does it relate to the kinetic chain?
The kinetic chain is what allows the body to move. When discussing movement, one can point to kinetic energy which is the amount of force created when an object is in motion. Every time you move your body, you create kinetic energy. An example of this is when you are sprinting or running fast. When you attempt to stop quickly, it is difficult because your body is still moving forward. The force propelling your body forward as you attempt to stop is kinetic energy. With this in mind you can say that if your body were a bicycle your kinetic chain would be made of the pedals, wheels, and chain. The kinetic energy produced from pedaling would be the force that keeps the bike rolling down the street even after you have applied the brake.
The Kinetic Chain and Your Pain
As stated above, the kinetic chain refers to the series of joints that make the body move. These joints work together with a check and balance system to ensure that the body continues to have unhindered motion as much as possible. An example of how the kinetic chain can cause you pain is when looking at the knees. Among other functions of the knee, it stabilizes the body to allow a person to stand up and walk. In the kinetic chain the knees are directly connected to the ankles. If an ankle has suffered an injury or is weak the kinetic chain places extra stress on the knee to compensate for the ankle. While the individual may feel pain in their knee and think the problem is related to the location of the pain, the real problem is in their weak ankle which has no pain. Upon assessment from a physiatrist the patient will learn that their ankle has reduced range of motion and needs to be strengthened through exercise in order to relieve the stress on the knee.
Ask your provider for more information on the kinetic chain and how it can play a role in your pain. Also visit us at www.valleysportsandspine.com for tips on preventing injuries and recognizing pain related to your own body’s kinetic chain.