5 FACTS ABOUT DYNAMIC KNEE VALGUS
Contributor: Andrew Lantz, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CMTPT
Credit: Modern Manual Therapy
Dynamic knee valgus has been a hot topic of debate for many therapists that work with athletes and others with knee injuries, but what is dynamic knee valgus?
Dynamic knee valgus is an abnormal movement characterized by excessive medial or inward movement of the lower extremity and knee in particular during weight bearing.
The evidence has been conflicting when relating dynamic knee valgus to injury or pain. Currently, there are at least 5 theories we have gained through research that discusses dynamic knee valgus.
1) Dynamic knee valgus is a normal movement pattern. We see this very often in sports. What we know is that performance of dynamic knee valgus once or a few times is not detrimental, but the more repetitive it becomes, or placed under higher loads, the more likely pain or injury may occur- meaning, this pattern should then be performed less. It’s not unlike drinking- one or two is ok. You start having much more than that and you may get yourself into trouble.
2) There is no current established relationship between screening for knee valgus and predicting injury. A prospective study found no correlation when determining injury risk to the ankle or knee. However, the sample size was small with a low occurrence of injury over the years which may underestimate the results.
3) Dynamic knee valgus CANNOT be corrected, rather it can only be controlled. Focusing on helping athletes and patients control their knee under higher loads is a lot more feasible than prevention altogether.
4) Education about dynamic knee valgus and its relation to injury mechanisms and jump training have been shown to reduce injury risk. Despite a low correlation of predicting injury (see number 2 above), another study found that education about its injury mechanism along with jump training and focusing on knee control significantly helped to reduce injury risk.
5) Gender gaps exist with females displaying greater knee valgus angles during a vertical drop test (see image below). Females are also more likely to tear their ACL, but we cannot solely attribute this fact to the fact that they display greater knee valgus angles. Therefore, more evidence is needed to underline the possible multitude of reasons for higher incidence of ACL injury rates.
Bottom line- dynamic knee valgus cannot be avoided, but individuals should have an understanding of how to control it. Future research is still needed to fill in the variety of gaps that still exist today.
The great news is that working with experienced physical therapists, like those at RTC, provides you with the education you need about dynamic movements so that you can protect your joints and muscles while doing the activities you love!
If you are an athlete that suffers from knee pain and confidence getting back to your sport, please do not hesitate to visit www.restorativetherapyco.com or call 757-578-2958 to book an appointment today.