Patella Tracking Dysfunction (PTD) is a common condition that can cause pain and discomfort in the knee joint. While there are many potential causes of PTD, chiropractors often identify that it can be associated with dysfunction and imbalance of the pelvis. In this blog, we will explore how chiropractic care addresses pelvic imbalances to manage PTD.
Understanding Pelvic Imbalances and PTD
The pelvis serves as the foundation of the body, and it attaches to many muscles and ligaments that support the lower back, hips, and legs. When there is a dysfunction or imbalance in the pelvis, it can lead to altered mechanics in the lower extremities, including the knee joint. Two types of pelvic imbalances that contribute to PTD are:
- Anterior Pelvic Tilt – This is a postural imbalance where the front of the pelvis is rotated forward and the back of the pelvis is rotated backward. This can cause the muscles in the front of the hip, including the hip flexors, to become tight and overactive, while the muscles in the back of the hip, including the glutes, become weak and underactive. This can lead to altered mechanics in the lower extremities, including the knee joint, and contribute to PTD.
- Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction – The sacroiliac joint connects the sacrum to the pelvis. Dysfunction in this joint can cause altered mechanics in the pelvis, leading to imbalances and compensations in the lower extremities, including the knee joint.
Chiropractic Care for Pelvic Imbalances and PTD
Chiropractors use various techniques to address pelvic dysfunction and imbalance, including spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and corrective exercises. By addressing these underlying issues through chiropractic care, patients with PTD can experience the following benefits:
- Reduced Pain and Discomfort – Chiropractic care can help to reduce pain and discomfort associated with PTD by addressing the underlying imbalances in the pelvis.
- Improved Range of Motion – Chiropractic care can help to improve range of motion in the knee joint by addressing the underlying imbalances in the pelvis.
- Improved Function – By addressing the underlying imbalances in the pelvis, chiropractic care can improve overall lower extremity mechanics, reducing the risk of PTD and improving function in daily activities.
Chiropractors may also recommend specific exercises to improve pelvic stability, such as quad sets, straight leg raises, clamshells, step-ups, and foam rolling. Additionally, chiropractors may recommend stretching, taping, orthotics, modalities, and home care strategies to help manage PTD.
PTD is a condition that can cause pain and discomfort in the knee joint. Chiropractic care addresses underlying pelvic imbalances to manage PTD, reducing pain and discomfort, improving range of motion and function, and preventing future injuries. If you are experiencing PTD, speak to a chiropractor about how they can help you address the underlying pelvic imbalances contributing to your condition.
In addition to chiropractic care, specific exercises can help improve pelvic stability and manage Patella Tracking Dysfunction (PTD). Here are some exercises that a chiropractor may recommend to their patients:
- Quad sets – This exercise helps to strengthen the quadriceps muscle group, which helps to stabilize the knee joint. To perform this exercise, sit with your legs straight out in front of you and your back against a wall. Tighten your thigh muscles and hold for 5-10 seconds, then relax. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
- Straight leg raises – This exercise helps to strengthen the hip flexors, which can become tight and overactive in individuals with an anterior pelvic tilt. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with one leg straight and the other bent. Tighten your thigh muscles on the straight leg and lift it off the ground to about a 45-degree angle, then lower it back down. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions, then switch legs.
- Clamshells – This exercise targets the gluteus medius muscle, which helps to stabilise the pelvis during movement. To perform this exercise, lie on your side with your legs bent and your feet together. Keeping your feet together, lift your top knee up while keeping your heels together. Lower back down and repeat for 10-15 repetitions, then switch sides.
- Step-ups – This exercise helps to strengthen the quadriceps and glutes, which are important for lower extremity mechanics. To perform this exercise, stand in front of a step or platform. Step up onto the step with one leg, then step back down. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions, then switch legs.
- Foam rolling – Foam rolling can help to release tight muscles and improve mobility in the lower extremities. To foam roll the quadriceps, lie face down with a foam roller under your thighs. Roll back and forth from your hip to just above your knee for 30-60 seconds.
Chiropractors may also recommend stretching exercises for the hip flexors, hamstrings, and IT band, as these muscles can become tight and contribute to PTD. Additionally, they may recommend using kinesiology tape to support the knee joint during activity, or custom orthotics to address any underlying foot or ankle imbalances.
It is important to note that exercises and other home care strategies should be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and goals, and should always be performed under the guidance of a healthcare professional. A chiropractor can work with their patients to create a personalised exercise and management plan to address their PTD and improve their overall lower extremity mechanics.