Knees Over Toes

Physical Therapy

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02/27/2024

As a passionate physical therapist, my journey in the field has been filled with countless stories of resilience, recovery, and the power of movement. One topic that often stirs debate in the fitness and rehabilitation community is the concept of knees over toes. In this blog post, I aim to shed light on this often misunderstood and controversial subject from the perspective of a physical therapist.

Understanding Knees Over Toes

The phrase knees over toes has been met with skepticism and caution in various fitness circles. Traditionally, the advice has been to avoid letting your knees go beyond your toes during exercises. This is due to concerns about potential strain on the knee joint. However, recent perspectives, supported by scientific research, suggest a more nuanced approach to this movement pattern. I had two instances recently where I corrected the form on a client I was working with to have their knee go further forward over their toes. In bor=th instances they responded with “I was told not to let my knees go over my toes because it’s bad for my knees”.

Debunking the myth

Like many popular opinions in the health and fitness population, it takes the public a lot longer to gain the knowledge of the research in our field. This is not the public’s fault! It is on us in the field to get the word out and to stay up to date with the research.

There is research to back why letting your knees go over your toes is okay. And beyond the research, every time we take a step, every time we take the stairs, our knees are going over our toes. If it was so bad, why wouldn’t our bodies adapt over time to not have to do that?

Benefits of Incorporating Knees Over Toes

Improved Mobility: Allowing the anterior tanslation of your knee in controlled movements, such as lunges and squats, can enhance ankle and knee joint mobility. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who may struggle with stiffness or limited range of motion.

Strengthens Supporting Muscles: Knees over toes exercises engage a wider range of muscles, including those in the ankles, calves, and hips. This comprehensive activation contributes to overall lower body strength and stability.

Functional Fitness: Our daily activities often involve movements where the knees go beyond the toes, such as bending down to pick something up or climbing stairs. Training the body in a way that mimics these natural movements can improve functional fitness and reduce the risk of injury in daily life.

Injury Prevention: Contrary to common belief, proper execution can contribute to injury prevention. Strengthening the muscles around the knee joint and improving joint mobility can create a more resilient and adaptable musculoskeletal system.

As a physical therapist, my goal is to empower individuals to embrace movement in a way that fosters strength, resilience, and overall well-being. The controversy surrounding knees over toes should not deter individuals from exploring this movement pattern under the guidance of a qualified professional.

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