Due to the fact that the majority of the supporting weight of our entire body rests on the hip sockets (femoroacetabular joint), it stands to reason that any bio-mechanical abnormalities can eventually cause pain in the hip joints. And any imbalance of the feet or knee’s will eventually work it’s way up to the hips and into the low back.
The Many Causes To This Problem- Walking Improperly For Starters
To find the cause of your hip, knee or ankle pain, there must be a careful analysis of your gait. Many people walk with very poor posture and over time create many of their own problems. By walking with the head looking down in a forward head posture or with your feet flared outward, or with the knees inappropriately bent, imbalances may eventually ensue. Your brain and central nervous system have memory and if you move your body with improper biomechanics, then you are literally training your nervous system to remember these neurological pathways. It would be like practicing a poor golf swing over and over again vs. a more perfect golf swing. By practicing something improperly, you are engraining that movement pattern into your nervous systems memory and reinforcing the muscles and pathways to perpetuate an improper gait.
Ultimately the feet carry the weight of the entire body. Many of you who have hip and knee problems also have feet problems and may not even know it. Maybe your feet roll in (pronation or a collapsing of the arch of the foot) or roll out ( too high of an arch causing you to put more weight on the outside of your foot). Both can cause major problems. Addressing the feet can fix other problems that spread up the leg.
The knee can be more tricky because it is a source of injury. Sports, falls, an abrupt force or blow to the knee can all cause ligamentous or meniscal damage. If an injury has occurred, it does not mean it cannot be rehabilitated. The knee is also directly in between the hip and foot and it cannot be stressed enough that a careful evaluation of both the feet and hip’s, in addition to the knee must occur to help a knee condition. For example, internal hip rotation (misaligned hip) can put torque on the knee causing knee joint inflammation and swelling. Over time this can cause damage to the knee. Likewise, foot pronation can put torque on the knee in the same way.
Pinched nerves in the low back can refer pain down the leg. Referred pain patterns can be due to nerve root compression from spinal and pelvic misalignments, disc herniation, spinal or foraminal stenosis (openings where the spinal cord and nerve roots travel become smaller then normal). Referred pain can also be due to muscle or myofascial damage. This should not be mistaken with peripheral neuropathy caused by vascular or a hypoxic based etiology or brain imbalance. In order to treat your condition, an evaluation of the entire low back and legs must be performed.
Pinched Nerves In The Low Back
If you have a nerve compression in the low back it is important to understand what this can do. You may have numbness, tingling or weakness of some of the leg muscles. You will usually be aware of the numbness and tingling, but most likely are not aware of the weakness. Ankle, knee and hip joints get their support through strong functioning muscles. If muscles are weak, you will eventually develop a problem in the form of some type of pain in the joint or surrounding muscles. When you place a load on a weak functioning muscle group, it will often be painful to use and over time become strained and inflamed. This is because of the nerve compression causing the weakness.
The Bottom Line, It Comes Down To A Proper Evaluation
With doctors so busy, it’s no wonder you aren’t getting the help you are looking for. YOU MUST be evaluated in the following way: 1) Range of motion to the low back, palpation to find tender spots (areas of inflammation and soft tissue damage) in the low back, leg muscles and joints. 2) A reflex, sensory and motor (muscle strength tests) exam to see which nerves are not functioning. 3) Posture and gait analysis to look for imbalances and structural misalignments. 4) X-rays if needed.