Knee pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint that brings people to their Physio. With today’s increasingly active society, the number of knee problems is increasing. Knee pain has a wide variety of specific causes and treatments.
The knee joint’s main function is to bend, straighten, and bear the weight of the body, along with the ankles and hips. The knee, more than just a simple hinged joint, however, also twists and rotates. In order to perform all of these actions and to support the entire body while doing so, the knee relies on a number of structures including bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
Physiotherapists can do a lot to help a damaged knee which can manifest itself as just a sore knee or even a clicking or grinding sensation. Here are some of the ways your knee can be helped:
Increase range of movement A damaged or arthritic knee will often stiffen up. This can cause pain, weakness and loss of function. Increasing the movement in a stiff knee can improve all of these things.
Strengthen muscles You only need a small amount of swelling or pain in your knee to cause inhibition of the important quadriceps (thigh) muscles. If these muscles are not working properly, it can lead to ongoing problems in your knee.
Release soft tissue restrictions The soft tissue around your knee can tighten up due to muscle imbalance, inflammation and scar tissue. Your physiotherapist can identify if this has happened and release any tight tissue.
Bracing or strapping Sometimes you will need tape or a brace to enable you to overcome a knee problem. This will enable you to remain as active as possible, within the limitations of your knee problem. Your physiotherapist can advise you what will work best.
Reducing inflammation Physiotherapists use a number of measures to reduce pain and inflammation in a damaged knee. Reducing swelling and inflammation, as quickly as possible, is vital if you want a quick resolution of your knee problem.
Activity modification If you have a painful knee, you need to avoid activities that place stress on the knee. Your physiotherapist can advise you what to avoid. For example, if you have a problem under your knee cap you should avoid most lunging and squatting exercises.
Rehabilitation after surgery Physiotherapy after knee surgery is vital. You should commence this as soon as you can to achieve the best outcome possible.
Knee pain can have a negative effect on both confidence and mobility, which is where Physios can help. Over the longer term, abnormal mechanics lead to earlier degenerative changes, which is reason for getting things sorted sooner rather than later. And if you in the older age group and have been told you have arthritis in the knees, don’t take that to mean that you just have to learn to live with it. Treatment can often improve your symptoms.