Hyper-extension: The Shin Should be at a Right Angle

Hyper-extensionGood movement patterns require a whole host of postural elements to work together in conjunction. Any of many possible misalignments can get in the way of a graceful gait. Today we will look an improper angle formed by the alignment of the shin bones and the foot that leads to hyper-extension of the knee.

Our bones are meant hold us up while our muscles move us through space. Our bones achieve this by stacking one on top of the other; when the bones line up correctly the weight from one part of the skeleton passes through to the next. The bones are held together by ligaments and supported through tone of the muscles but they must be arranged properly for the system to function at peak efficiency.

Pick a body part and I think that people abuse it— from my perspective we do most everything wrong (not that I’m cranky or anything). We stabilize our shoulders when they should be relaxed; we tuck our pelvis instead of holding it at neutral; and for today’s discussion—we hyper-extend our knees when they should be extended.

For the foot to work as designed the two bones of the shin should be perpendicular to the floor and foot. The right angle that is formed when the bones line up this way allows for the weight/slash energy of the body to move from the thigh bone through the shin bone to the foot.


When the shin and foot form an obtuse angle pulling the knee into hyper-extension, the weight transfer from the thigh bone to the foot is interrupted by the shin bones that fail to line up successfully. This increases the stress we put into our joints and tomorrow I’ll discuss how this same misalignment affects the arches of the feet.