How Heel Pain Causes Knee & Hip Pain

Let me tell you a quick story about a lady who recently came to see me for her left knee pain…

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Melissa started experiencing pain on the outside of her left knee about 3 months ago. When I spoke with her about her knee pain, she told me that it probably had something to do with her new job, which requires her to be on her feet all day and to lift up to 50# at times.

What I didn’t tell you about Melissa is that she’s had 5 previous right ankle surgeries, so I’ve worked with her quite a few times before. Naturally, I asked her how her right ankle was feeling…

It feels awful, and I can barely walk on it at times” was her response!

I continued to look over Melissa’s left knee issue, and we eventually came to her left hip and buttocks muscles. As I was checking over her muscles, it turns out she’s having pain and soreness in her left outer hip and buttocks as well.

So here sits Melissa in the treatment room, referred to physical therapy for her left knee pain, and it turns out she also has issues with her right ankle and left hip.

Where to go from here…

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So what’s the point of Melissa’s story?

Here it is: I can very easily help Melissa get rid of her left knee pain by treating the inflamed tissues around the knee.

I can help her reduce the irritation in her IT band, take her through exercises to strengthening her quad muscles, and use taping and other hands-on techniques to make her knee feel good again.

But I’d be doing her a huge disservice if I don’t also help her out with her right ankle and left hip, especially her right ankle.

You can probably see where I’m going with this, but let me be perfectly clear: if I could only help Melissa with one body part, in the hopes of all 3 of her issues going away, I would definitely treat her right ankle.

No doubt about it!

And that’s because the ROOT CAUSE of Melissa’s left knee and hip pain is the fact that she has limited flexibility and strength in her right ankle, due to the ongoing pain.

If I can eliminate her right ankle pain, tightness and weakness, chances are her left knee and hip pain will go away all on their own.

Lucky for Melissa, I don’t have to pick just one body part! While I help her ease the pain in her left knee and hip, I can also help her get to the underlying problem with her right ankle.

So that’s how heel pain (or ankle or foot pain) causes knee and hip pain. And if you’re really unfortunate, it can also cause lower back pain as well (oh boy!).

Let’s wrap up this blog post with a quick summary…

The moral of the story is this: if you’re dealing with things like knee pain, hip pain and lower back pain, you must uncover and understand what’s truly causing your pain. I like to call this the ROOT CAUSE of your pain.

Once you understand the root cause of your pain, then you can figure out how to get rid of it and return to the activities you enjoy, like taking long walks, exercising, playing with your kids, dancing, hiking, etc.

I hope you’re enjoying all of your favorite activities this time of year! And if you have something holding you back and are looking for some help, please shoot me a quick email so we can get the ball rolling!

If you are suffering from ankle, knee or hip problems because of an old injury or a new injury then consult with an Expert Physical Therapist to confirm what the root cause of that problem is. The road to relief is shorter than you think.

If you found this article helpful, share it with someone that could benefit from this information!

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Trupti Mehta, PT, MS, OCS

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