Is Knee Mobility Necessary?
For many of our daily tasks, a range from 0 degrees of knee extension to 120 degrees of flexion would be more than enough to complete them successfully. Nonetheless, I like to prepare the body to be ready for whatever life might throw our way. Imagine a wet surface that isn’t easily visible. We tend to think of knee movement in just one plane (flexion vs. extension) where there are small degrees of movement both sideways and in what we call the transverse plane (rotation).
Even if we assume that someone has enough flexion and extension, if a knee is not prepared to adjust to the slick surface that forces their knee into a quick sideways or twisting motion, the likelihood of experiencing an injury would be higher than that of someone who challenges mobility in all directions often. This isn’t to say that you need to commit an hour of daily knee mobility exercises to your schedule.
You may even be addressing all of your mobility needs in other movement practices like yoga already. The major caveat I would throw in would be if either ankle or hip mobility and strength are the root causes of a painful or stiff knee. At that point, knee mobility may be a priority, but secondary to the others as the knee would be the victim instead of the culprit.
If you want to stay ahead of any potential knee injuries down the line, here is a suggestion:
Banded Lunge for Total Knee Extension or Screw Home
Place a resistance band above your knees and stand comfortably with feet facing forward.
Step backward, against the resistance of the band, by shifting your weight onto the back foot while keeping the front foot in contact with the floor. Bend the back knee and extend it against the resistance of the band by pressing your back heel into the floor (or as close as you can comfortably get!). This is to promote total knee extension or the screw home mechanism while maintaining the lunge position.
Still unsure what to do? Contact us to evaluate and prescribe the best possible exercises to improve your knee health.