As I’m sure you’ll know from reading the “about” page I LOVE playing various sports and generally keeping in shape. I play basketball and cricket every week for my school team. Unfortunately, I’m having a bit of trouble after my last training session for b-ball. I think I landed awkwardly after jumping and my foot and knee are now experiencing a sharp pain when I bend them. After a visit to an Osteopath, I was referred to a Chiropodist who explained everything to me.
Apparently, most chronic knee pain is not only treatable but also avoidable with exercise and physiotherapy and just as effective as surgery. By learning how stretch, move and strengthen your knee and surrounding muscles you can take care of you knees, one of the most important bones in our body.
Common Cause of Chronic Knee Pain
1. Ligament injuries:Ligaments are fibrous tissue that connects bones. The ligaments that connect your thigh and lower leg bones keep your knee stable; these include the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). It’s very common for knee ligaments to tear or sprain resulting in chronic pain.
2. Cartilage tears: In the knee there are cartilage tissue areas known as menisci, which act as shock absorbers. The menisci on the inside of the knee are known as medial meniscus and lateral meniscus on the outside of the knee. It’s very common for the cartilage to become damaged or torn.
3. Arthritis: Arthritis is one of the most common sources of severe knee pain though it’s more common in people over the age of 40. There are 3-types of arthritis that can cause pain and disability and they are:
- Osteoarthritis: This is the most common type of arthritis. Unfortunately it happens as a natural result of the wear and tear of life on the cartilage around the knee. Osteoarthritis causes pain, disability, stiffness, joint swelling, tenderness and weakness.
- Rheumatoid: This is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation and affects the lining of your joints which causes swelling, bone erosion, loss cartilage and potentially joint deformity.
- Post-traumatic arthritis: Knee injuries are common and post-traumatic arthritis can be a result of serious injuries including to the bone and ligaments around the knee. This can cause damage, pain, swelling and stiffness in the cartilage of the knee.
How a Physiotherapist Can Help
If you have any type of knee pain, swelling, stiffness or tenderness of the knee it’s important that you seek medical help to help ensure the healthy recovery of your knee. Physiotherapy is essential to both the treatment and prevention of knee pain. After your Physiotherapist collects you’re past history report and does a thorough physical analysis they will diagnose the source of chronic knee pain and arrange a treatment plan. Common treatments for knee pain include:
- Hands-on techniques: Your physiotherapist will use hands-on techniques including gentle gliding, joint manipulation, minimal energy techniques, massaging, knee-taping techniques and knee muscle stretches.
- Exercise prescription: One of the most effective ways to treat knee pain and injuries is exercise therapy. A physiotherapist knows the best exercises and routines for your specific injury to rehabilitate your knee.
- Biomechanics: Your physiotherapist will examine and analysis your biomechanics to understand your musculoskeletal system and how it might be affected or affecting your knee problem. They will provide education programs and weightlifting techniques so that your body can relearn proper movements.
Other common treatment methods include: braces, ice and heat, gait analysis, electrotherapy, kinesiology taping, and TENS machines.
A physiotherapist will finally give you an answer and solution to the pain that has been bothering your knee or preventing you from being as active as you would like to be. On the other hand they can provide a long-term treatment plan for individuals with arthritis who are worried about losing their mobility.
Let a physiotherapist use the specialised and expert knowledge of the human body to restore your knee back to health. If your physiotherapist feels that there is someone else better equipped to handle your injury, they will refer you; if you have a back injury, they may refer you to a Chiropractor.
For more info on possible causes of knee pain, watch the video below!