Please, Tell Me About Knees!

Your knees are among the largest joints in your body and are under intense weight-bearing strain and used daily–no wonder they hurt sometimes.

The knee joint joins your thigh bone (femur) and your shin bone (tibia). The fibula bone runs alongside the tibia and, along with the kneecap (patella), make up the rest of the bones in the knee. Two c-shaped pieces of cartilage, the medial and lateral menisci, act as shock absorbers between femur and tibia.

The knee joint is the most complex in the body.  It’s a “condylar” joint, meaning it has two protrusions on the femur (called condyles) and the the tibia has two grooves which enable them to roll and slide against each others. Because of it’s unique structure, it’s also a hinge joint.

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Go, Go Gastrocs!

Gastrocnemius translates to “stomach of leg”.  It’s that bulge in your calf located in the back part of your lower leg.  It runs from just above your knee to your heel crossing two joints (knee and ankle), ending in the calcaneal tendon (Achilles Tendon).

The technical function of the “gastroc”, along with it’s partner calf muscle the soleus, is plantar flexion–movement of the foot that flexes foot or toes downward the sole) and flexing the leg at the knee joint.

Because we use the gastroc muscle every time we walk, run, stand or jump, it’s working all the time. It’s also prone to tears, strains and inflammation. And, of course, muscle spasms commonly known as “cramps”.

Many factors can cause a cramp.  Dehydration, overuse, poor conditioning, muscle fatigue, low levels of potassium, sodium and carbs to name a few.

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