Knee Pain: Is It All In Your Hips?

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If you think about it, running is a one-legged sport with only one leg pushing off the ground at a time. (KFSN)

If you think about it, running is a one-legged sport with only one leg pushing off the ground at a time. Where you put it and how loudly and often it lands is the key to one physical therapist's approach to keeping his running clients out of pain.

The mother of twins, Melissa Young's running is the welcome, healthy escape she needs for herself.

Young told Ivanhoe, "The time I get to run is actually just being outdoors and having the time for myself and clearing my head."

But intense pain in her shins sent her to see physical therapist Ron Miller, DPT, at Pursuit Physical Therapy in Orlando who says too often, injured runners don't look in the right spots for relief.

Miller told Ivanhoe, "I'll have runner patients that come in with knee pain and I treat the hip and strength, and the pain resolves because that's the cause of the pain."

Specifically, weak hips. Miller continued, "If you take a look at the whole approach, the whole body, look at how the hip and the ankle is affecting the mechanics at the knee, then you'll solve that problem."

Young explained, "I always think of that song 'this bone's connected to that bone'... it's never the spot that hurts that's causing the problem, it started somewhere else."

Sound, strides and steps. If runners focus on those 'three S's', Miller says they'll avoid a lot of injuries.

"You want light feet, you want a shortened stride length and you want a faster step rate. That's been actually proven also by research to decrease injury rates," Miller explained.

Every year, an estimated six out of 10 runners get injured, but Miller says exercises concentrating on building hip strength and increasing ankle flexibility can help keep runners like Melissa Young on the road versus the rehab table.

If you're a runner with an injury that's just not responding to treatment, Miller suggests that you search out another physical therapist or health care provider. But he also cautions: runners can hurt their own recovery if they delay seeking help and let their injury linger ... and most likely, get worse.
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