The Kinetic Chain Is The Missing Link in Physical Fitness

Aches and pains can be complex because of the interconnectedness of joints and soft tissue. The body consists of a “kinetic chain” of mobility and stability joints and respective soft tissue. They are arrayed in alternating order. Muscles and connective tissue surrounding joints form an integrative system that moves the limbs.

So, what about pain? Musculoskeltal pain may be caused by:

  • repetitive movements from daily activities
  • age-related tissue degeneration
  • injury
  • disease/infection

People treat pain with patches and pills rather than addressing the real cause.

The joint-by-joint approach
Source: Blog

The key thing to remember is the interconnectedness of the musculoskeletal system. Stability joints alternate with mobility joints to form a kinetic chain.

To ensure mobility and balance, the larger musculoskeletal system shifts an injured joint system’s workload to another joint system. There the respective muscles and connective tissue eventually become painful and dysfunctional.

Take The Knee, For Example

We see this with the knee. When the ankle, a mobility joint, becomes compromised, the knee joint becomes less stable. Some researchers say that this tendency for compensation works in one direction only: upwardly.

So, when the hips are compromised, you’ll also see someone with lower back problems. But, because the hips are considered both a stability and mobility joint, hip issues may also lead to knee pain and instability.

Keep these things in mind when confronting the pains of daily life. Incorporate soft-tissue skills such as The MELT Method, the VooDoo Floss, and foam rolling into self-care regimen. These will complement strengthening and stretching activities that we use to stay fit, but do so with care. If pain doesn’t go away or gets worse, consult a medical professional. Overall, adopting some of the skills of physical and manual therapists, along with knowledge of the kinetic chain, goes a long way in maintaining fitness, wellness, and independence.


Nickelson, P. “Joint by Joing: Empowering Movement Through Lasers in Sports Rehab.” in Advance for Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine, 28 Dec. 2009, Vol. 21 No. 13.

“Flexibility, Mobility, and Stability: What’s the Difference and Why Are They Important?”

“Kinetic Chain Exercises: Open and Closed”