Most athletes will experience pain due to dysfunction at some point in the career. We’re talking knee pains, low back pains, shoulder problems, and hip pain, hamstring pulls, etc. You name it and most competitive athletes will experience one of the above.
What a lot of coaches, and athletic trainers for that matter, haven’t grasped is that movement dysfunction above or below the injury is generally responsible for these problems. Too many just try to cover up the injury and never cure the real reason the pain presented itself. The pain isn’t where the problem really lies. Let’s compare it to a vehicle as quoted by Bill Hartman. When your car is out of alignment, your tires wear unevenly. When the time comes you buy new tires to fix the problem. But the problem isn’t in the tires themselves, it’s in the alignment of the vehicle.
More times than not you should look at the area above or below the area or joint with pain. Lots of athletes experience knee pain at some point, especially basketball athletes. Looking at the sport of basketball, we find lots of heavy use in the ankle and calf complex. Often times the ankle becomes locked up and loses mobility through daily trauma, or just through the daily use of ankle braces. The ankle is a joint that needs mobility and freedom of movement. Without mobility in the ankle, another joint will pick up the slack. The knee has to compensate for the lack of movement in the ankle by creating unwanted movement. This is my beef with constantly wearing ankle braces. Not only do ankles lose proprioception, but they become immobile. The same can happen with the hips. Lack of mobility in the hips can cause knee pain as well. More often though lack of mobility in the hips causes problems above that joint.
Lets take a 300 lbs. offensive lineman who has extremely tight hips. He collapses like a folding chair when he squats down, and ends up with his chest parallel to the ground. What will generally be the problem here? Most likely it isn’t hip pain. It will be in the form of low back pain. The low back has to compensate by gaining mobility when it really needs to be as stabile as possible. It has to move more to make up for the lack of movement in the hips.