How to look after your knees, please…

A woman walking up stairs.

Stepping forwards / backwards / sideways – always let your knees go forwards first!

Learn 3 great ways to look after your knees so they stay healthy, prevent them getting any worse, and even get much, much better!

Do you dread car journeys with a bad back and sore knees – even as a passenger?

Perhaps you struggle to go upstairs unless you are pulling yourself up (and the handrail half off)?

Would you love to be able to rely on your knees as you sit and stand?

I can help.  

At Lucy Ascham, Pain & Transformation Solutions – one of the most common problems people come to me with – is their knees. Sore knees, stiff knees, bad knees – they hurt and get in the way of having fun, going places or joining in with the family. Does this sound familiar? Do you or someone you know suffer like this?

Would you love to find some ease, so you can sit and stand without pain?

I help people gain new knowledge, practice new ways of moving. I give instant feedback and guidance to help people help themselves resolve pain and get back to their hobbies and daily life.

What even are your knees?

We often talk about ‘knees’ as if they are a separate thing. An actual body part.

But knees are not a thing, but a joint.  A place where 2 or 3 bones meet.  Primarily the thigh bone meets the shin bone, and the patella / kneecap keeps these two bones stable.  

Basically, we have 3 options with our knee joints: 

  1. standing with legs straight and knee joints locked or braced – a useful and temporary option to stop us falling backwards
  2. standing with legs straight but not locked – which gives us the most options. Less strain and from here we can either bend or straighten our legs
  3. bending our legs, as we step or squat – but we don’t want to have bent legs when standing. This can be tiring.

Know your knee joints

Imagine you are standing talking to a friend, waiting in a queue, or just brushing your teeth – you can look after your legs in a way which your knees will appreciate, or they will complain as they are suffering.

Bring your curiosity to what you currently do when waiting or tooth brushing.  How are your knee joints usually?  What is your default? Bent or braced? Can you invite your legs to be straight but not locked?

One test for this is to see if your kneecaps are wobbly whilst you are standing

Many of us were never taught much about our moving body, how the joints work, what movements are possible in each place, and very importantly, which movements are not possible, healthy, or desirable in different places.  

There is a lot of new and useful information I share with people about their natural design.  Better self-knowledge leads to better choices and better health.

The way we move affects the way we function.  

If we improve ‘how’ we move, the quality of movement improves dramatically and therefore clears up many symptoms and painful knee joints.

If your knees are already a bit niggly this is a great time to start to learn new ways of thinking and moving, to prevent them getting worse.

If your knees are aggravating and interfering with your daily movements – it is time to take action. 

Please give me a call now on 07949 522 655. Get some support and prevent things getting worse!

Putting in some work sooner when the pain first presents, could save you from more serious problems later on down the line.

Here at Lucy Ascham’s Pain and Trauma Solutions, I’ve dedicated the last 19 years to serving my local communities to help people prevent knee problems, maintain current mobility, and get the best from what they’ve got.  

Many other therapists will prescribe exercises to strengthen one body part or another.

Here our approach is a bit different.

We are looking to investigate what you are already doing (mostly unconsciously and habitually) that doesn’t fit the map of how our body is designed to work.  

When we stop doing the wrong things, the right things do themselves.

Our work is to improve the quality of attention so we can steer our body away from habits which may hurt our knees. Many people have excess tension in their knees, so when they take a step or go up or down steps, their knee joints are already contracting and work hard. This brings the bones together and increases the friction of bones coming together.

Recently I was working with a new client, a very fit lady who loves to be outdoors, and walks and runs miles each week.

When walking or running, her muscles were out of balance. I suggested she worked on the overall balance and stability of her back and legs, then the symptoms of sore knees can be resolved as part of the bigger picture.

Let’s have a look and see what she was doing. She was fixing her knee caps, shortening and contracting her thigh muscles – even when she thought she was resting! Such hard work. With the muscles shortening she was actually bring the bones into tension all the time! Then she was trying to go faster, by unconsciously adding more muscle tension when someone came near or overtook her.

Learning to use her muscles with the most efficiently amount of energy needed would be a great start.

Want to run?  Start with doing one step really well

This client wanted to learn to run faster, so I showed them first how to take one step – without disturbing or distorting their back.  That was a fun challenge!  To prioritise the health and length and ease of spine – then perhaps take a step.  Otherwise, they are pushing to achieve a goal at the expense of the spine.  The bill comes eventually. We need a full and long healthy spine to support the limbs for locomotion.

It can sometimes feel slow to unlearn habits of a lifetime, but it’s well worth it to rewire yourself.  It can be a lot of fun too.

Working together I will show her how to let her whole body move more calmly, letting the sequence of their run activate the spirals in their torso and limbs for more power with less effort. Does this sound good?

Benefitting from Alexander’s discoveries, we address imbalances of muscles and connective tissue by rebalancing the global muscular-skeletal system of which the knee is a part – and learn to use our knee joints in the way they are designed.

Don’t worry, let us show you how

If all this sounds like a foreign language, don’t worry, we can talk you through it, give you constant feedback and gentle guidance – hands and words – to get you feel amazing.

Unless you change the Way you do things, then you are just repeating what you already know.  Learning to change habits takes some investigation in a different direction than you might normally look.  Having a guide can be indispensable.

5 Things Which Really Change the Needle

  1. Become present and aware of what you are currently doing.  Right now.
  2. Pay attention to how you think and move.
  3. Think first about the ease and length of your head and spine before each movement.
  4. Do one thing really well.  We are sticklers for accuracy here.  A bit like learning to play scales and arpeggios really well when learning an instrument.  If you get this technique precise then it helps in all other aspects of playing.  Same for our mind and body.
  5. Stick with the process and the end result will come.

I recorded a little video for you to show you how the knees need to go forwards – for any step.

In order to step forwards I need to think up, not disturb my back then send my knee forwards.  This lifts the lower leg and the foot can come along for the ride.

Whichever way we step – our knee goes forwards first.

Take a step backwards – yes indeed, but think up, don’t swing your pelvis or sway over to one side, stay up and move the knee up – then the foot can go back.

Watch the video and see if you can see what I’m doing.  Or rather, what I am Not doing!

 blob:https://web.whatsapp.com/224fcb23-8c11-4b1f-a9d2-aa39a3bdae43

This is different to how many people I see walking.  

Lifting their feet first!  Say what?!  No, knees first please.

Many men I see are swinging their foot out and around to the side, hardly bending their knees putting strain on their hips and knees.

This way of walking, the thigh bones point forwards but the lower leg point out to the side  – Ouch!

This is most common with men in stiff soled shoes. Police men, hikers in stiff boots and most office shoes.  Women tend to suffer differently if they always wear high heeled shoes the calves and achilles heels are permanently shortened.

The knees (knee joints) should agree with the whole leg and foot.  

Changing the technique for how to walk and run can be an intriguing challenge.  It may look simple, but that doesn’t mean that rewiring the brain and body is easy.  I’ve been teaching for over 2 decades for myself, so I can show you how and save you going down dead ends or practicing what you already know and expecting a different outcome.

When I was working with a chap recently, he had stiff knees, partly because he was always standing with his legs a little bent all the time.  This way his legs were in a fixed position which makes any subsequent movement harder.  This also led to tenson in his lower back.

Working together he can now stand with legs straight and kneecaps unlocked.  This could be a whole lesson in itself where you can learn to take the brakes off your legs and remain balanced.

Now he can stand more easily, work in his garden with more ease and stamina, and ride his bike.  All things he loves to do, and with less effort and strain, he’s saving his own energy so he can do what he loves for longer.

So, if you want to walk, run or glide up the stairs more easily, Upstairs to Bedtime, then give me a call, ask any questions you have.  I’m always delighted to hear from you.

Want to find out more?  Get in touch now, call Lucy 07949 522 655 and let’s have a chat.

Written by Lucy Ascham, Body & Soul Energy Expert

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What My Clients Say

“No pain in the night, no pain when I got up, no pain when I went for a run and no pain now! It’s much more than I expected, thank you! "

Steve

"It is as though I have been gifted an entirely new lens through which to view human behaviour, and it is a lens of compassion and empathy like no other. Due to this, I have been able to come to terms with the way my family operates, which has proven to be a great relief. I would definitely recommend working with Lucy. She held such a safe space for me and my vulnerability with great compassion and authenticity."

Elena

"Using these techniques has helped me reduce the day-to-day tension I’ve developed over a lifetime of anxious habits and hypersensitivity. It’s been amazing to re-learn how my body works, and how to swap out the survival mechanisms that got me so far, for habits more in keeping with how my body is happier to work."

Alex Booer

“I’ve been doing the Alexander Technique with Lucy over the past few months and my posture has improved enormously. I have a greater awareness of how my body functions and can recognise the signs of when I’m falling into bad habits."

Paul Tolton, Actor

"I feel present. Nice to feel here, not racing ahead. I have a more measured, calm approach. I’m less reactive and am learning to look after myself and choose my responses.”

Rosie

"I had a traumatic accident a few years ago. After you ‘wriggled’ my head it felt weird – and really good. I could walk evenly for the first time in years!! I’m making friends with my body.”

Zoe, Singer

"I have been happily surprised and have learned a lot about how my muscles and spine behave when I let them. I rapidly realised that AT is not in the least pseudoscience, rather it teaches one to be aware of how the body is holding itself."

Julian Davis, Retired Professor of Medicine & Pianist

"I've just had two enjoyable and useful sessions with Lucy on Zoom. I had been doubtful about how it would work but I was pleased with how it went. Of course, nothing is as good as face-to-face but we are where we are and this was great and has helped me to progress as I had hoped. Thank you. Looking forward to the next ones!"

Bev

"Lucy's sessions are amazing. Her unique blend of skills helped me have good posture without effort. Before this, I had seen many physiotherapists and osteopaths, but the pain kept coming back within a few weeks. Even after my first session with Lucy, the difference was so clear that my friends commented on it. After several months, the effects are being maintained with her support."

Julia