The relationship that the lower extremities have with the Pelvis is an interesting one. By being a bipedal or a two footed individual, the hip joint takes on a new dimension. In the instance of an animal or quadrupedal creature the hip joint is primarily a mover that doesn't have to support the full body weight for prolonged periods of time. In fact most quadrupedal creatures only go on their hind legs in cases of self defense or feeding. Humans on the other hand require their hip joints to help support and move at the same time. The head of the Femur or thigh bone is a round object that fits into a round space. The problem arises in the movement of the thigh bone during ambulation in that it moves in an elliptical pattern. In other words you have a round object moving in a manner that creates an unusual stress pattern to the joint. When this joint is misaligned or the tension on the joint is not in a natural state many instances and different scenarios of pain are prevalent. You are taking a round object and moving it in an oval format. This is just one of the issues are abused hip joints are subject too.
In today's society we often overlook the fact that male and female pelvis' are different. The female pelvis is 5 degrees wider than the male pelvis. This little engineering adjustment is often overlooked in many of the movements that are performed in today's busy lifestyles. It is also the indirect cause of many of the common pain issues that are experienced such as Sciatica, chronic hip and knee pain, low back discomfort (normally in the vertical from the tailbone upward), foot and ankle discomfort and yes it does affect the jaw. This engineering discrepancy needs to always be factored in when assessing the Pelvic Girdle. This will also alter the alignment of the hip joint especially in women that are or have been pregnant.
The Femur or thigh bone is affected by large muscles such as the Quadriceps (front of the thigh), Hamstrings (back of the thigh), the adductor muscles which line the inner thigh, and the large tendon that runs down the outside part of the thigh. There are many smaller muscles that will accommodate the larger movement and make those subtle little adjustments as sit, stand, and move.
The Tibia and Fibula or shin bones are supportive bones as the larger of the two supports 1/2 of 80% of body weight, while the Fibula or the outside smaller bone supports 20%. The Tibia also makes up the bottom have of the knee joint and the upper portion of the ankle joint so is very instrumental in the lower legs ability to adjust to small changes as the body senses them.
The knee cap protects the joint from blunt trauma and acts as guide for the pulling of the Quadriceps on the Tibia (shin bone).
This brings us to the mechanical end of the leg, the FOOT! These 26 bones will have an effect on the entire body. Mechanically I have found their dysfunction to cause problems throughout the body. Recently a young girl with chronic neck pain came in and after a couple of sessions the realization came that the collapse of her arches were causing the neck to have to sustain abnormal pressures.
Next week we will delve into more of the issues found in the lower extremity and how they affect your day to day activities. Until then, remember there is always................
a Reason to HOPE!