Updated: May 23, 2022
Knee pain and/or injury is one of the most common reasons people visit a physician or sports therapist. But research has found the key to lowering the risk of knee pain and injury has nothing to do with the knee.
Core strength Is key
Medical researchers have repeatedly found that core strength and stability have a profound effect on the dynamics of the knee joint. The muscles in your torso, including back, abdominals, hips and upper thighs, make up the core. These muscle groups work together in synergy to stabilize the lower extremity.
The core facilitates the transfer of forces from the upper and lower extremities. It stabilizes the spine and hips when you run, cut and jump. It serves to help accelerate and decelerate the force you create during sports activities. Poor core control puts extra torque on the knee, straining the ligaments that hold it in place.
Backed by research
In a study published in The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, researchers had participants perform core strengthening exercises. They found that knee pain decreased throughout the strengthening series.
Further, doctors found that poor control during weight-bearing exercises created more stress on the knee joint. This was leading to instability. There was an increase in knee pain with more movement and instability in the core and hips. As the participants grew stronger in the core, they noticed less pain in the knee.
An essential training component
Proper form and incorporating the right strengthening exercises in a training regimen is beneficial not only to injury prevention but also to performance and athletic efficiency. If core work is not part of your training program, seek the counsel of a certified professional who can assist in establishing a program that includes these vital exercises. Your knees will thank you.