Stability Vs. Mobility
When treating pain and assessing movement it is important to consider this stability vs mobility paradigm. Basically this paradigm states that some joints are meant to have larger ranges of motion (mobility), while others are meant to create stability. All too often when we experience pain we think that our problem is the area of pain. However, the root cause of the issue at hand could actually be due to dysfunction at a different area.
For example, if someone is experiencing chronic knee pain we must not only look at the knee, but the hip and ankle as well. The hip and ankle are both meant to be joints with large ranges of motion or mobile joints. The knee, however, has less range of motion and is considered a stable joint. Now let’s say someone has a severe ankle sprain, and because of this they have reduced range of motion. This will ultimately lead to the knee compensating for the lost range of motion at the ankle. This will ultimately draw more tension and loading of the structures that surround the knee and lead to pain. Putting a sleeve or a brace around the knee will make it feel better in the short term because guess what? YOU ARE ADDING EXTERNAL STABILITY. You are only putting duct tape on a bursting pipe. Your issue won’t be resolved until the ankle/hip issue is addressed.
Moral of the story: if you are experiencing pain, take a look at the areas above and below, and show those areas some love.