The Knee -- Part 1
By David Keil • August 18th, 2006 • 8175 Views
Making our way up the body from the feet, the next major joint we come to is the ever elusive and sometimes tricky knee. This knobby pair of joints are often an enthusiastic topic of conversation amongst yogis as it seems everyone knows somebody who's either injured a meniscus or torn and ACL, or done "something" to it.
Let's start by looking at the bigger picture of the knee joint. To understand the inherent problem with the knee requires that you look at it's function in our most common activity, no, not sitting, walking! Imagine your body without a knee. Frankenstein comes to my mind with a sideways waddle and swing of the big heavy leg to get it in front of the other. We would not get around very well or very quickly for that matter.
The knee is the middle joint of the leg that is, it sits between the ankle and the hip joint. It is the connection between the tibia (shin bone) below and the femur (thigh bone) above. At the other end of the tibia is the ankle joint and at the other end of the femur is the hip joint where the femur connects to the pelvis. The tibia and femur are the two longest bones in the body and that makes for more work in the knee.
All joints could be classified as levers and when a lever has a long arm it means there is a potential to create more power or force with that lever. This is a good thing because the knee has a lot to do with regulating how we move and run which requires a lot of force. At the same time, that means that joint has to be able to handle the force created by the two longest bones in the body acting on one another.
Therefore the knee has to be strong to handle that force and at the same time it has to be flexible to handle the variety of movements that occur both below at the ankle joint as well as above at the hip joint. This makes its functions somewhat contradictory in nature.