In the last decade or so people have taken to extreme sports like Running (Marathons), Ultra Marathons, Trail Running, Cycling and High Altitude Trekking. But, most are not aware of how to take care of their body or that they should go for a full body assessment to check if all is ok before they start on an extreme activity.
They do not realise that over doing these activities does not help the body in the long run. Many do it because their friends are doing it and many do it because they think this is the only way to prove to people that they are fit, not realising that over doing such extreme sports and doing it without enough knowledge can lead to fatal injuries. One of the worst injuries that people develop is knee injuries.
How can one avoid such injuries while training? Let us understand from Dr Anjana Laungani, a renowned physiotherapist from Mumbai who consults celebrities and has her own brand of a clinic – Physio Rehab in Mumbai tell us how people develop knee injuries and what can be done to avoid and treat such injuries.
She explains that the knee is the most common joint in the body that gets injured and one must understand why that happens. It happens because knees are in between the foot, the hip and the back. Knee sorts of gets whacked around because of any problem that might be there in the foot or in the hip or in the back.
“I call the knee the middle child syndrome, you know how in the family we have an elder child, a younger child, and a middle child gets really whacked around by them and bullied. The knee is exactly treated that way,” says Dr. Anjana.
According to her when one looks at knee injury one should also look at the foot, hip and the back. Because these could actually be the cause of the knee problems. When one is participating in extreme sports, you are not just climbing or running or walking only with your knees, the knee works as a team with the foot, the hip, and the back. This is called the Lower quadrant of the body and they have to work in synchrony with each other.
All those with knee injuries should always get themselves assessed entirety looking at how is the foot alignment. For instance, if you are flat footed you will be prone to injuries. If an individual has a hip muscle which is extremely weak especially the gluteus muscle will he develop knee problems, the risk factor is very high if the individual does not have a very good core muscle that gives him the power to run. Then all he would do is jam the weight of his body into his knee. So commonly according to Dr. Anjana only 20% of people have direct knee problems but 80% have knee problems due to other issues.
It is therefore very important to get assessed and looked at by professionals especially a physiotherapist who can do what we call as a lower limb kinetic chain assessment, these evaluations will give you a very good idea on where the problem is coming from. You need to look at foot you need to look at the hip muscles you need to look at the core muscles which could probably give problems to these areas.
Dr. Anjana says it is best when people approach physiotherapist when they do not have an injury and consult for how to avoid injuries rather than go for treatment after getting themselves injured.
Physio rehab is one such clinic where one does not have to go only when in pain. She and her team work with those who wish to improve their fitness so that they can undertake physical challenges like treks, pilgrimages, adventure holidays, overseas travel etc.
Dr. Anjana has practiced for over 25 years and put together this clinic as a vision to be able to provide quality, scientific physiotherapy services to the community which she thinks was lacking when she started. “I feel that physiotherapy needs to be approached in a more scientific manner, there has to be proper assessment, proper diagnosis and most importantly patient education. I think the patient first needs to understand what is it that is going on with them and actually give them a sense of responsibility,” she concludes.