Understanding Malalignment Syndrome

Have you ever felt like no matter how much you stretch, get massages or roll your back, you feel so sore that your back might as well be put together wrong? Maybe you’re right. Just that it isn’t necessarily your back that’s the problem, maybe it’s your legs.

Malalignment syndrome is an umbrella term used to describe an asymmetrical alignment of the trunk, pelvis, and extremities. This malalignment causes pain in the knees, legs, hips, and lower back, and movement may be hindered in more severe cases.

Dr Mark Reyneker on malalignment syndrome in The Star | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

The tibia (leg bone) twists outwards, and the femur (thigh bone) twists inwards. The (patella) kneecap also twists inwards to form a ‘winking patella’. The feet are usually flat. This combination of malalignments puts excessive strain on the knee and lower back, and increases the risk of developing arthritis and patellar joint dislocation. Foot problems such as plantar fasciitis, bunions, and a stiff big toe are exacerbated by this condition due to the stress placed on the structures in the foot.

What causes Malalignment Syndrome?

Malalignment syndrome most commonly affects runners, cyclists, footballers, and rugby players; however, it is not limited to these athletes. Even regular people may encounter malalignment syndrome.

Malalignment syndrome is often caused by a buildup of misalignments over the years, which is quickened by strenuous activity that needs a lot of joint rotation like cycling.

lower back pain 2 | Family Podiatry Centre | Best Foot Doctor Podiatrist DPM Clinic Singapore Malaysia

Best Malalignment Syndrome Treatment

Malalignment syndrome can be cured, but it will take a long time to realign the bones, and constant discipline is needed to make sure that they stay that way. For instance, studies have shown that knee extension training may help, while specially made orthotics can gradually help to correct posture and eventually push the bones back into place naturally.

This condition is often overlooked and misdiagnosed, as most wouldn’t think to look to their legs as the cause of their back problems. If you have a suspicion that you may be suffering from malalignment syndrome, do book a consultation with us early so that the problem can be addressed as soon as possible.

Written by Kardem Kiter
Written by Kardem Kiter

Based in Singapore, Degree in Podiatric Medicine from the University of Johannesburg. Published in The Foot and member of The Golden Key Honour Society.

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