Hip, Knee and Ankle Pain

Postural Lower Extremity pain- Leg, Knee, Ankle and Foot

If you’ve sat in a chair, car, or an airline seat for many hours, what’s the first thing you feel like doing when you find get up? You want to stretch. When you stand after a long time sitting and feel tightness, swelling, hip, knee and ankle pain, or other pain in your lower extremities-knees, ankles or feet- it is a reaction to lack of motion.

Motion: The Body Is Designed to Move    1st Posture Principle walking and motion

If you have hip, knee, ankle pain or pain in areas of your legs or feet, you might be noticing the effects of stress on those joints from not moving them often enough, or you might be stressing your lower extremities by moving with poor posture. Postural lower extremity pain is a common and often painful problem which can begin with an injury, accident or from long-term habits.  When your upper body is not aligned with your lower body, weight bearing is not balanced and you put uneven pressure on your lower extremity when you move. Even sitting “wrong” can stress the pelvis and set up lower extremity and leg imbalance.

Look at the posture of anyone who sits with one foot tucked under them or always crosses the same knee over the other leg: the uneven stresses show in the unbalanced way they sit, stand, and move.Weak and poor posture from posture stress from weak body mechanics causing pain and breakdown ( i.e. Arthritis /Degenerative Joint Disease) in the spine and other joints from daily wear & tear

spine and nerves

The nerves which control your lower extremities begin in the low back and lower spine which is why low back posture problems are a common cause of pain radiating to the Hip, Thigh, Knee, Leg, Ankle & Foot.  When structural distortions in the low back caused by chronic poor posture or prior trauma cause a spinal distortion and compress delicate nerves, pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness traveling down the lower extremity often result.

Lower extremity pain is often positional– it gets better, worse or different as body position changes. Frequently episodic, pain may come on after over-activity or without apparent cause, and is triggered as body adapts to mechanical stress, weak posture and inefficient motion. e.g.

  • Excessive sitting or hunching over a computer for hours at a time
  • Standing, bending or being in an “awkward position”
  • Chronic posture stress such as carrying a heavy backpack, pocketbook, or child

See Posture Science for more info on body compensation, adaptation and how posture distortions tighten overused MUSCLES, weaken underused muscles, stretch and distort ligaments, and pinch and traction nerves teaching the body to move in uneven, stressed motion patterns.

Related Conditions: Foot pain; Ankle pain; leg pain; thigh pain; Achilles Tendonitis; gait imbalances; hip pain; iliotibial band syndrome; meniscus or knee injury; plantar fascitis; running injuries; sciatica; shin splints; Pinched nerve in back; muscle pulls; hamstring strain; muscle imbalances, muscle pulls, muscle strains, muscle weakness, myofascitis, Postural adaptive muscle strain; Pinched nerve

Self-Help Solutions: Lower Extremity Pain Relief

posture exercise on the ball>Do Posture Exercises every day to strengthen posture.  StrongPosture exercises can help balance knee and hip joint stress.  If you keep it moving well when you are young, distributing stress across the joint surface, you may save yourself a hip or knee replacement when you get older.

>Be conscious of your posture

  • Head tall and strong
  • Shoulders back and chest open
  • Pelvis Tucked and centered

>Change body position and posture frequently

  • Adjust your chair,car seat or anyplace you spend time often during the day
  • Alternate which arm you use to carry loads such as a pocketbook or child

>KEEP MOVING- The Body Is Made To Move

  • Take frequent body-stretch breaks
  • Stretch your body opposite to the way you have been using your body.

>Best Sleeping Position for Lower Back Pain

  • On your side, with a pillow between your knees.  A contoured cervical pillow under your neck will help keep your head aligned with your spine.
  • Consider memory foam or supportive fiberfill or waterfloat pillows.
  • Change your sleeping position if you are  a stomach sleeper!

>Avoid regular use of aspirin, NSAIDs (Advil, Ibuprofen, etc) and over the counter pain medication to avoid stomach, liver and kidney damage associated with frequent use of these drugs. 
58% of people using NSAIDs more than 3 months have ulcers. NSAIDs cause 103,000 hospitalizations and 16,500 deaths/year (Wall Street Journal, 10/2006)
Try Topicals for equal or superior pain relief.  Also, try alternating hot and cold compresses (15-20 minutes) to relax tight muscles and relieve pain.

Consult a professional if pain is severe or persists over two weeks

Doctors of Chiropractic relieve mid-back pain by freeing locked joints to restore full-range mobility and alignment.  Chiropractors reduce mechanical stress to balance motion and nerve function.
Massage Therapists apply gentle pressure to relax muscle spasm and break up soft tissue & fascia adhesions to remove restrictions to full, balanced joint motion.
Osteopaths, Physical Therapists, Trainers, Coaches and other Posture Professionals also help sufferers of mid-back pain

SITE DISCLAIMER & Health Note : If there is no trauma and pain initially begins in the chest, if the pain is not affected by motion, or if there is fever, nausea, vomiting, uneven pulse, anxiety, a sick feeling, burning urination, loss of bowel or bladder control, or severe pain, call your Physician.