Knee injuries and knee pain are two common conditions and complaints that a physiotherapist can help with. There are many causes of pain felt in the knee and the first thing to do is to get a professional diagnosis. Correctly identifying the problem and the cause of the problem is a huge step towards recovery.
Causes of Knee Pain
Some of the most common causes of knee pain are:
Soft Tissue Injuries such as ligament strains and muscle strains. With soft tissue injuries, swelling is often observed. Swelling within the first 6 hours is often the result of blood around the area. This is a serious situation and most likely the result of damage to the ACL, patella, or meniscus. The knee joint has to put up with a lot of punishment. If you take part in any kind of sport that involves moving on your feet, injuries to the lower leg are always possible. Turning sharply in football, running on uneven surfaces, knee contact with another player/competitor, and knee contact with another object can all cause damage to the knee joint in some form or another.
Bone injuries such as fractures are often caused by contact with a hard surface or another person during sport, for example. Stress fractures are common in runners who train over long distances. The repetitive nature of the training can result in shin splints.
Understand the Type of Knee Pain
Acute pain – usually arrives quickly and goes away just as quickly. This is the most severe pain and can occur in the days after an injury. Rest is the best remedy in the initial stages of recovery.
Chronic pain – a pain that lasts for months and doesn’t respond to treatment.
In many cases, a good physiotherapist can successfully treat your knee injury and prevent surgery.
Physiotherapists can help manage the pain in your knee and improve flexibility and strength in the muscles that support the knee. With knee issues, your physiotherapist will design a plan of action to:
- Strengthen the muscles of the lower body
- Prevent injuries recurring
- Return your knee joint to normal Range Of Motion (ROM)
- Reduce pain.
Physiotherapy Treatment for Knee Injuries
Some of the physiotherapy treatments for knee pain include:
Mobilization is a manual technique, which helps restore movement to joints. This involves movement through gentle manipulation of the joints in order to restore motion.
Many people make the mistake of stretching only and not working on strengthening the muscles at the same time. Stretching can destabilize joints if not combined with a strength routine (see next point). Foam rollers are excellent tools for releasing knots in the muscles. Your physio can help with proper technique.
One of the best ways to help with your knee pain is to build strength through specific exercises. Focus on the lower extremities. Exercises such as the bridge, lateral band walk, step-ups, and the straight leg raise will help your knee get stronger and recover faster.
Dry needling can be an excellent treatment for knee pain. Patients with IT band syndrome, runner’s knee, and patellofemoral pain syndrome (pain caused by faulty contact between the knee cap and thigh bone), can benefit from dry needling. Dry needling treatment involves the insertion of tiny, monofilament needles directly into the tissue, where they are manipulated to reduce pain through the relaxation of muscle.
Taping should only be applied if it does not cause discomfort. This technique is applied in order to reduce stress on the knee.
Evaluation of Your Knee Injury
A physiotherapist will evaluate the following:
1. Your range of motion. This is an examination to see how far the knee can bend and straighten without pain
2. Leg strength. Tests on the muscles surrounding the knee will give a good indication of your ability to stabilise the joint.
3. Your gait. Walking correctly is very important for knee health. Many people walk poorly due to improper footwear (or footwear in general), laziness, and bad posture. Gait effects knee health and correcting bad walking patterns is a priority for recovering from knee injury.
4. Balance. Excessive pressure on the knee joint is often a symptom of bad balance.
How Long Will Physical Therapy Take?
Your physiotherapist will be able to outline the stages of therapy and give an indication of the time required. The time required to heal depends on if you have had surgery or the extent of your injury. You physio and doctor can also discuss the best course of action. Plan for 6 weeks of sessions.
How to Prevent Knee Injuries
- Warm up thoroughly before exercise and make sure to stretch and warm down after exercising. Keeping the muscles around the knee supple and flexible increases mobility and the ability of the joints to absorb impacts and pressure.
- Improve your balance by using a wobble board or yoga-style single-leg standing exercises. Yoga, in general, will be very beneficial to anyone interested in maintaining healthy joints.
- Work on the strength of your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Strong muscles in this area help stabilize the knee and reduce stress on the bones.
If you have a knee injury or you just need to soothe away some aches get in touch with the Bodywise Clinic. Our chartered physiotherapists and massage therapists can help you recover from injury and prepare for sport and movement in everyday life. Ph: (01) 6111444. email: firstname.lastname@example.org