If your kneecaps are stuck up you are putting yourself at risk of knee and hip problems and possible knee and hip replacement surgery. According to the CDC in 2009 the total knee replacements in the US equaled 676,000 and total hip replacement equaled 327,000! Of the 676,000 knee replacements, 303,000 of those were from the ages of 45-64! And of the 327,000 hip replacements 152,000 of those were from the ages of 45-64!
How can you tell if your kneecaps are stuck up? Stand with straight legs and try to lift and lower your kneecaps. To do this you need to have fully extended knees (but not locked) and relaxed quadriceps. Also, make sure your pelvis is in a plumb line (vertical) over your knees and ankles. Having trouble fully extending the knees? Tight hamstrings and calve muscles create a bent knee. A tight psoas may also create a tucked tailbone and bent knees. When bones are at an angle, more friction results. More friction=inflammation. So, don’t forget to do your hamstring and calf stretches, psoas releases, ditch the positive heeled shoes and switch to a standing work station. If you can’t lift your kneecaps it’s because they are already pulled up by the quadriceps and you are really having trouble lowering the kneecaps. When you can’t lower your kneecaps, the upward pull of the quadriceps are pulling your patellas (kneecaps) into the tissue behind creating wear and tear of the tissues with every step you take. Katy Bowman has a great diagram showing the relationship between the upward pull of the quads and inflammation of the knee on her 5 Tips to Save the Knees post. Search her blog for other knee posts, there is a lot of helpful information there.
Still can’t lift and lower your kneecaps? Try this:
Lean against a wall with your feet about 12 inches away from the wall. Try to lift and lower your kneecaps. Once you achieve the kneecap release at this distance move your feet a little closer to the wall until you can do the release while you are standing vertical. The kneecap release is not an exercise, it’s a test to see if you can relax the quadriceps. It’s a way that I check in with myself when I’m standing at a cross walk, at my standing work station, or in a grocery line.
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