Like hinges of a door, your knees function best when they move in a single plane. Ideally, the knee and ankle joints are aligned, and stacked over each other, both facing the same direction. When the foot rotates to the side, your knee should also rotate. When the foot is directed forward, the knee should also point forward.

When the knees function correctly, you experience a sense of stability, not tension or wobbling, pulling or dragging to one side. The direction of your feet dramatically affects the functioning of your knees and legs. If the inseam of the foot isn’t firmly grounded or you collapse on the arch, your knee and pelvic basin rotates, stressing both knee and hip joints.

Mechanically, muscles, ligaments, tendons, connective tissue and bones weave together to support the structure of your knee. Like elbows, knees are not designed to support extreme weight but to transfer energy from one set of bones to another. Sturdy, strong legs require flexible, pliable knees to maintain leg strength. If you lock the knees, it compresses the cartilaginous elements and cuts off the energy flow that supports your legs. When you lock your knees, or press them back, you use the bones rather than the muscles for support. You stand on your bones. This creates a weakening in the legs that results in muscle and energy atrophy and a loss of strength due to the lack of energy flow.

When executing cross over motions, be conscious of placing your feet and knees in the same direction. Avoid putting lateral strain on the knees by sensing for comfort from the ground up, comfort in all your joints – the feet, ankles, knees and hips. Over time, as your ankles, knees and hips become more flexible, your leg agility and strength will improve. You’ll be able to step out further, sink deeper, and laterally move more quickly. Every movement will feel effortless when the knee is correctly aligned.

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