During this squat she had significant knee pain. Outside of pre-existing aliments we’re navigating, I had to consider what may be a simple way to alleviate discomfort while still accomplishing the goal of the day. Perhaps we could try some soft-tissue work, perhaps some more stretching, perhaps more mobility work. But, what if the solution were less intensive and more immediate-- staring us in the face?
The more she tried to squat, the more it became evident her knee would sink in. I would ask her to push it out (external rotation of the femur, abduction) while squatting, and not only did it continue to collapse, but she experienced even more pain. We theorized it was her hip replacement/femur rod that didn’t allow adequate external rotation or abduction from the hip itself.
Her foot remained neutral the entire time. Now, this is not a bad posture or foot placement (anatomically neutral), but what if this small thing was a domino effect of “collapse” in her movement?
So we tried an asymmetrical squatting stance. Her right foot (the “problem” foot) we shifted out, and let the other foot remain where it was. Now to squat, she wouldn’t need as much abduction or external rotation to accomplish a hinge and sit. Life was good and we avoided knee pain.
1. Continuing to move through pain can lead to degeneration of boney anatomy or connective tissue. We should avoid this.
2. If we figure out what our “need” is, we can take action to improve upon it.
3. If we lose our attachment to “anatomically neutral” positioning, we can take an objective look at our movement. If we cannot physically accomplish it, anatomically neutral can be more dangerous than an asymmetry. Eventually, we can work towards better positioning, either through stretching or mobility improvement. We should accept that we’re imperfect creatures and that seeking constant symmetry can do more harm than good. AKA: our bones don’t change shape!
4. Realize that pain doesn’t necessarily come from the place we feel it. There can be many causes of pain, and the more options we have at our disposal, the better we can make decisions.
5. Lastly, sometimes little shifts and fixes can make a world of difference. If we overcomplicate things, we’ll avoid making any forward progress and maintain stalling. This can lead to boredom, frustration, and quitting. The last thing we need to do in a lot of cases is “stop, rest, try again” if we don’t change what was bothering us in the first place.