If your normally powerful pedal stroke begins to fade and pain creeps in, your knee cap could be misaligned.
To prevent this from occurring, your kneecap must track correctly along the femur and align with the joints of the hip and ankle.
If the knee is internally or externally rotated, the hip and ankle will likely be as well. This is important because the coordinated movements of all three joints are what create power in your pedal stroke. If misalignment occurs, your pedal stroke won't be as efficient, and as time goes on, you may end up with an injury.
To get faster and prevent a problem from occurring, you need to strengthen areas of weakness in the lower extremities. Try these three exercises, along with this simple test to determine if you have a misalignment, to get back on track in no time.
Knee misalignment can be seen by looking at the kneecap. With your feet pointed straight and hip-width apart, stand in front of a mirror and look at the orientation of your kneecaps.
If your kneecaps are aligned, they will both be pointing straight ahead. If you notice that your kneecaps are pointed slightly inward (internal rotation) or slightly outward (external rotation), a misalignment is likely.
Once this has been determined, it may be necessary to consider the health of the surrounding soft tissues such as the muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments. Are your quadriceps or hamstrings tight? Do you have pain in your tendon?
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If left untreated, this postural imbalance can wear away the soft tissues of the knee and other joints through increased friction and strain in the joint. Inflammation, pain, joint deterioration and damage to the meniscus can occur.
Luckily, most of the time minor misalignments can be corrected by strengthening the muscles around the joint. Below are three exercises to get you started.
3 Realignment Exercises for the Knees
To realign the knees, imbalances in the hips and the ankles must be addressed. A knee that's internally rotated can be caused by weakness in the external rotators of the hip and other muscles in the pelvic girdle. Conversely, an externally rotated knee may be caused by tightness in the muscles of the pelvic girdle, which means stretches will be needed to treat the problem.