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!

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.  


Introducing Holly Williams, PA-C

Have you met our PA, Holly Williams?  She started with us in May 2013, and is now seeing a full schedule of new and follow up patients.

Holly Williams is a board certified Physician Assistant from Southern West Virginia, with specialty training in sports injuries and  back and neck pain. She received her Bachelors Degree of Arts at at Bluefield State College. Then, continued her education at Mountain State University to receive a Bachelors of Medical Science and Masters of Science, Physician Assistant.

Miss Williams not only has specialized training in back and neck pain but also treats chronic migraines with botulinum toxin (BOTOX) injections. In addition, Miss Williams can treat chronic knee and shoulder pain with ultrasound-guided steroid injections and geniculate nerve blocks.

In her spare time, Miss Williams enjoys the outdoors, fishing, camping,skiing, and kayaking.

RFA of the Knee | Valley Sports & Spine Clinic

Do you suffer from knee pain?  You are not alone.  Knee pain is one of the most common pain complaints in the U.S., and the number one reason for joint replacement surgery. Common treatments include exercise, pain medicines (Tylenol and Ibuprofen), and injections (steroids or Synvisc/Euflexxa).

If you continue to have knee pain, knee replacement surgery is an option you could discuss with an orthopedic surgeon.  However, some patients are not ideal candidates for surgery either because they are too young (less than 60), too ill for surgery, or choose not to have surgery.

Now there is another option for persistent knee pain, radiofrequency ablation (RFA).  The knee joint is supplied by six nerves (genicular nerves).  If you disrupt the nerves, you can block the pain signals from the knee.  The RFA procedure is done in two steps.  The first step involves temporarily blocking the nerves in order to see if most of your knee pain goes away.  If so, then you can proceed to the second step––radiofrequency lesioning (disrupting) the nerves that supply the knee.  This lasts for 6 or more months and can be repeated if needed.

RFA of the knee does not affect the strength or range of motion and the patient may still have a knee replacement surgery in the future.  To learn more about this exciting new option for knee pain, check out this article from the Journal of Pain, May 2011, by Choi, WJ:
Radiofrequency treatment relieves chronic knee osteoarthritis pain: a double-blind randomized controlled trial.

Valley Sports & Spine Clinic
Giving you Back your Life
Dr. Ethan Colliver