There are many activities that require us to stand with our knees flexed for prolonged periods of time. If you are a singer you are supposed to flex your knee just enough so that you are not locking your knees. If you are a dancer you are going in and out of knee bends all the time. If you play anything from soccer to ultimate Frisbee you not only have to bend your knees but you need to be able to do explosive lateral movement with your knees bent. Walking, going up and down stairs, getting in and out of a seated position just to name a few more things we use our popliteus muscle for.
I would like to take the time to thank the muscle that unlocks our knees and then provides the stability during the first part of flexion that us humans depend on. Dear popliteus muscle, you rock! Thank you for moving my meniscus so that I don’t tear it when I take a step. Thank you for supporting the back side of my knee. Thank you for allowing me to unlock my knee and move.
What might happen if your popliteus muscle didn’t love you?
- Your knee is more likely to catch.
- You might have pain on the backside of your knee towards the outside of your knee.
- You won’t have good body mechanics with knee flexion.
How do I fix an injured popliteus muscle?
Most muscle problems are helped with ice, rest, and stretching provided that it is only a muscle problem. There are some muscles out there that are nearly impossible to stretch like the TFL (tensor fasciae latae). Unfortunately, the popliteus is one of these muscles that is very hard to stretch. This is where finding a good massage therapist and/or chiropractor is very useful. Structural Health’s chiropractors do a lot of muscle work but we also have other ways of relaxing muscles such as interferential current depending on the type and severity of the injury. We are also happy to teach you how to stretch and do self-care on any muscle that is ailing you. Most importantly chiropractors can rule more sinister problems like a meniscus tear, or a misalignment of the knee, hips, or ankle that might be causing your knee symptoms.