Causes of Knee Pain You Had No Idea Existed

Not all knee pain is created equally. Knee pain can be a symptom of a problem in another part of the body. Valley Sports and Spine finds the cause of the pain.

People complain of knee pain every day. In fact, knee pain is one of the most common complaints among active adults over the age of 30. While most people chalk up their discomfort to ‘getting old,’ it can actually be a symptom of a problem in the ankle or hip joints. If untreated, the ankle, hip, and knee can all suffer long-term damage that may require surgical repair, but if diagnosed and treated by an osteopathic physician early on, surgery can be completely avoided.

Common Causes

All of the joints on the leg work together, starting at the ankle and reaching all the way to the hip. This system of movement is designed to support one another to promote a smooth action, like walking. Unfortunately, due to a culture of poor body mechanics, it is becoming commonplace to see stiffening in hip and ankle joints. This stiffening can often be attributed to prolonged periods of sitting or inactivity as well as footwear that promotes poor alignment of the spine.

Knee pain is often a late symptom of limited range of motion in the hip or ankle joints. When considering a runner, as the runner attempts to stride, if the ankle is stiff, the knee is forced to bend at a greater angle. As a result the hip is unable to fully rotate which causes a shorter stride and harder impact on the knee. While the runner is feeling the hard impact on the knee, the real problem is the stiff ankle.


Rehabilitative medicine is ideal for treating knee pain that may not have an obvious cause. Rehabilitative physicians, more commonly referred to as physiatrists, do more than examine the aching knee, they examine your body mechanics. With consideration for the systems of the body all working together, physiatrists evaluate the whole person and then investigate possible causes for atypical pain. Once the cause of the pain has been identified, a personalized treatment plan is created to fit the patient’s needs. Under most circumstances, a regiment of exercises that focus on stretching and strengthening specific muscles groups, while lubricating the joints, can correct the problem in no time.

For more information about knee pain, please visit our website at and learn how Valley Sports & Spine Clinic can get you moving!

What Your Hip Pain is Trying to Tell You


Pain in your hip can be a symptom of an injury in another location of the body. The kinetic chain links the joints of the body together to keep the body moving.  



Are you suffering with hip pain? Does your hip ache day and night for no apparent reason? Do you remember a specific activity that initially brought on the pain, or did it seem to come out of nowhere? The truth is that the pain you are feeling in your hip may not signify that anything is actually wrong with your hip. What you may be experiencing is something called referred pain, and you can blame the kinetic chain. Referred pain is pain felt in one area of the body that has actually originated in a completely different area of the body. You may not feel pain, or any symptoms at all, in the point of origin, but your hip sure feels something!

What is the kinetic chain?

The simplest way to describe the kinetic chain is to think about the division of responsibility. If you have a job to do and four workers to do it, the job will get done efficiently as everyone knows their role and works together. If you take away one of these people and now only have three people to complete the task, the job will still get done but not as quickly and with a greater burden placed on each worker. Now let’s put that in terms of the body. The joints are an interconnected system that all work together to allow the body to move. If one joint suffers a set-back such as stiffness or injury, the other joints will absorb the extra stress in order to keep the body moving.

How does pain relate to the kinetic chain?

When speaking in terms of the kinetic chain and your pain, try imagining a pebble dropped into a pool of water. Think of how the ripples in the water are larger where the pebble hit the water and smaller the further away they get until they disappear. This is what many physiatrists, or function specialists, call the kinetic chain ripple effect. The body spreads out the stress that it endures as it compensates for the area actually experiencing complications.

What this means for you?

The next time that you go to see your physiatrist do not expect the examination to be focused solely on your hip. You can expect your provider to ask you several questions about your daily activities and what aggravates the pain or makes it better. You can also expect radiological imaging of your hip as well as your entire back and possibly a knee.  Through the use of x-ray, your doctor can identify any underlying stressors or injuries along the kinetic chain.

It’s hip to be informed.

For more information about the kinetic chain and how it relates to your pain, please see our webpage at  Asking questions and getting involved in your care are great ways to get your pain under control because knowing what causes your pain can also help you prevent it.

Good Luck!

Dr Ethan Colliver


Linking Together the Kinetic Chain

The kinetic chain refers to the system of major joints in the body that connect one section of the body to another and allows the body to create motion.  tennis


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 for tips on preventing injuries and recognizing pain related to your own body’s kinetic chain.