Do you ever feel your legs are just not holding you up like you want them to?
Muscle imbalances and poor joint functioning can lead to both acute and chronic injuries. Improper functioning of the leg mechanisms can lead to poor performance in athletics.
Proper Alignment of the Legs!
The proper alignment of the legs is with your hips balanced over your knees over your ankles. Toes should be facing forward with your feet parallel. Looking at your body from the front, side and back will help you determine if everything is in place. If your joints are not stacked upon each other, you may have a combination of muscle imbalances and restrictions in the range of motion of your joints.
Learning how your legs are aligned or just taking more notice of how you sit and stand can make a difference in how your muscles around the joints work therefore getting stronger and better stronger function.
A lot of problems for knees and hips are caused foot and ankle alignment. If you have collapsed arches or what is called pronation when your ankles collapse, just imagine the affects this has travelling up your skeleton.
Simply thinking of lifting your arches and not allowing the body weight to be just on the inside of your feet will start to send the better muscle memory messages of how you want and need the arches to be supported.
A lack of range of motion when you bring your toes to your shin or when you attempt to point your toes away from your shin can cause feet to turn in or out. Weak and inappropriately functioning ankles can lead to not only ankle injury but also injury of your knees and hips.
Strengthening and stretching the muscles in your shins and calves can help put your ankle in proper alignment.
Knees are one of the most injured areas of the body. Most knee injuries are not due to contact situations but are due to weakness, improper alignment and poor landing skills.
Along with the combination of tight ankles contributes to many people bending their legs with their knees rolled in leaving their feet wide and their knees coming together.
Once again think about how your legs are aligned even if this means you don’t squat so far until better flexibility is reached.
Knees require strong hamstrings, quadriceps and hip muscles to maintain alignment. Proper stretching and strengthening of these muscles reduces the risk of both acute and chronic knee injuries.
The hips are the final balancing act on the top of the legs. If your hips are not strong and in alignment with your ankles and knees, all the mechanics of your lower legs will be compromised. It is important to strengthen your buttocks, hips, lower back, stomach and legs to maintain this alignment. Preventing imbalances between one side and the other helps to promote good mechanics.
Exercises to Create Proper Alignment
Several exercises are important to perform on a regular basis to help to achieve and maintain proper alignment.
Squats and lunges, while maintaining a visual contact on your toes beyond your knees, is a great way to start.
Doing the “clam” exercises to maintain strength of the rotation within the hip joint.
Stepping up to balance on a step or block will also create a method to strengthen joint alignment.
All core-strengthening activities that can help to keep your lower back in proper position such as planks, cobras, back extensions, lateral legs lifts and crunches will help to keep your ankles in line with your knees in line with your toes.
So, let’s look down at our legs and take note as to how they are functioning.
They are the only 2 you have and can be fantastically strong for us to do whatever we would them to do.
From a slow Sunshine Coast Beach walk to the “king of the Mountain” at Coolum Beach, your Legs can get you there!