Bowed Legs – Another Knee Issue
Though I’ve written much about knock knees and a little bit about normal knee alignment, I have yet to address bowed legs. It’s time!
True bow legged-ness comes from malformed femurs and tibias that arc laterally. It is normal for babies to have bowed legs before the bones ossify and are still cartiligenous. Eventually, the knees knock a bit and then straighten out remaining slightly knock kneed in normal knees with the femurs tilting inwards/medially.
But what about true bow legs. They could come from rickets or Blount’s disease, but if you don’t have these diseases and still have bowed legs…what is it from and how can you “correct” them or strengthen so that they don’t become painful, arthritic, etc.?
Well, it seems that healthy people with bowed legs get it from activities that demand the bones to grow outwardly like horse-riding/jockey . Some people don’t ride horses but still have bowed legs. Often times, people who press back in their knees while standing in their youth develop imbalances that can cause a bit of bowing of the bone. Also, habitual patterns cause legs to look bowed, but may actually not be bowed.
As an adult we need to look at the alignment of our knee caps to our feet. Just as I wrote in the previous article Knock Knees and Pilates, the middle of the knee cap ought to align with the middle of the foot (2nd toe joint and center of ankle). When I used to think I was bow legged, I was really pressing back in my knee caps, nearly hyper-extending and rotating in wards/medially. My inner thighs were rather weak and my external rotators were tight and over-worked. With much imbalance, I do believe I was rotating inwardly in order to fight the pull of my external rotators wishing to rotate my knee cap outward because of my weak adductors.
And that seems to be the “going” thought about bowed legs that are not from disease or horseback riding: weak adductors.
Wait a minute! Wasn’t that the issue with knock knees? And other normal knees? Yes, yes, indeed. The issue with human knees, in general, is weak adductors. Weak inner thighs and mis-alignment from imbalances and lack of awareness.
We all need stronger adductors. Even with strong ones, that doesn’t mean that you’ll correct your seemingly or slightly bowed legs. There are 2 issues connected to this:
1 – Balance
It’s about balance…and…those gemelli and obturators that I wrote about in One more tidbit about knees…all knees…. You must make sure you or your client is not pressing back into the knee joint, but is stacking bones and stabilizing them them with well balanced strength of muscles and healthy ligaments and tendons. Both knee caps and feet facing straight forward and proper support/engagement from gemelli and obturators, adductors…and balanced quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes…and more.
2 – Development
If you actually have bowed femurs and tibias, you cannot correct the bow of the bone once your bones have calcified (when you’ve stopped growing). All corresponding muscles and other bones have developed in ways to manage this bow. Strengthening and restoring balance to the muscles and some alignment will never straighten the bones, but will help support the knees (hips, ankles and feet, too) so that the bowing doesn’t create problems in the future. What sort of problems? Arthritis, mainly.
Now, that’s just a start on bowed legs. Will you please ask me questions about it so I can know what you need and then provide?
Mar. 5 – Margate, NJ – Yoga Zone –
11am – 12pm Magic Circle Mat Class (1 hour class)
12:30pm – 3:30pm Great Groups and Sensational Semis (3 hour workshop)
Go to http://www.njyogazone.com/workshops.htm for pricing and registration information.
Mar. 11 – New York, New York - Pilates on Fifth -
4-7pm Archival Standing Exericses and Joseph Pilates Retrospective and Perspective
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These workshops are immediately useful! It’s my aim to make sure you get information that you need and can use right away to make every session you teach more satisfying for you and for your client!
Mar. 19 – Pennington, NJ – Integrated Fitness
1-4pm How to Create and Teach a Tower Class
Go to www.integratedfitness.org for full information and registration
If you’re in NYC and want a Pilates session e-mail me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com
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