The role of your foot in knee injuries

23 May, 2018

With winter sport season is well underway, weekly netball and football codes are played all over Sydney. Thes sporting codes are known for the causing of knee injuries. One of the most common injuries to the knee are meniscus tears, which are most prevalent in males aged 31-40.

The twisting and sideward movement of netball, football and soccer place large amount of twisting or rotational force on the meniscus causing the injury.

The meniscus is a cartilage structure positioned in between the femur (thigh) and the tibia (shin bone. The meniscus role is to transfer the load from the femur to the tibia as well stabilise it during flexion extension and circular movements. There are two meniscus per knee, which glide to maximise contact during different knee positions.
This is why they are crucial for running based activities particularly ones which require side to side and twisting movements at the knee.
Meniscus injuries are frequently caused by acute trauma but recurrent strain on the mensiuc can cause it to be more susceptible for injury, one of these factors is ankle mobility.

The tibia or shin bones forms a joint with both the knee and the ankle, so what happens at one impacts the other. A common fault in movement is reduced dorsi flexion (think pointing your toes upwards). As we walk a run we need this motion to absorb shock and create power. As the ankle joint reaches its end range of motion the rotation occurs through the shin (tibia and fibula). When the ankle has full range of motion this process only occurs at the very end range of running based movements. When the ankle motion is reduced then the load or stress on the knee joint increases.

A simple way to determine whether this may be you is to squat, trying to keep your feet flat on the ground. If you find that you can’t then it is highly likely you have reduced movement at your ankle. This can be addressed using home care exercises to mobilise the joint as well as manipulation to return normal joint movement.


Dr Nicholas Miller has extensive sports experience, from Amateur to Olympic level, from running to Crossfit and many more. A high level athlete himself, Nicholas works to helps his patients to recover but also to perform better. Nicholas works out of Healthspace Lane Cove, Mosman and Castle Hill.