At the knee cap (patella), the knee joint is a hinge that joins the shin bone (tibia) to the thigh bone (femur). Four major ligaments support the knee joint. They are the following:
- ACL, or anterior cruciate ligament
- PCL, or posterior cruciate ligament
- MCL, or medial collateral ligament
- LCL, or lateral collateral ligament
Any of these ligaments can be injured, resulting in knee discomfort.
Knee discomfort may strike without warning. Additionally, it can develop gradually as a consequence of recurrent trauma and in a variety of locations on the knee. The following is a list of the many forms of knee discomfort and the regions where they occur:
- Pain in the knee ligaments. This is referred to as patellofemoral (kneecap) discomfort. At the front of the knee, pain is felt around the kneecap (patella). This is caused by a change in the location of the kneecap. Discomfort is a frequent complaint among younger girls (particularly athletes), and may be caused by repetitive motions or overuse. Pain often occurs while crouching, walking uphill or climbing stairs.
- Pain in the lateral of the knee. This is often seen in runners. It occurs when the iliotibial band tendon gets inflamed. Pain is often felt when ascending stairs, walking or jogging.
- Knee pain in the medial. When squatting, walking up or down a slope or ramp, or going down steps, you may have discomfort. This kind of pain is felt on the inside of the knee. It occurs when the MCL becomes inflamed due to direct trauma or overuse.
- A ligament tear causes pain. This form of discomfort can occur due to a strike to the knee. Additionally, it may occur if your knee is twisted or pivots while your foot is placed on the ground. Typically, immediate pain and edema ensue. When you try to bear weight on your leg, the knee may seem unstable (as if it would buckle).
- Osteoarthritis (OA) causes pain. This sort of discomfort can arise anywhere along the length of the knee where cartilage has degraded. It may begin mildly and progressively worsen. Pain may gradually affect your ability to bend and straighten your knee completely, climb stairs, squat, or lower yourself to sit in a chair. Additionally, the knee may expand intermittently, as a result of increased exercise. OA makes walking long distances more challenging.
- Education of the patient
Your physiotherapist will collaborate with you to identify and correct any causes contributing to your discomfort. They will consult with you on the intensity and length of your workouts, sports activities and footwear; they will provide suggestions on how to optimize your regular routines. Your physiotherapist will design and teach you a customized workout regimen to assist you in resuming as many of your chosen activities as possible.
- Pain management
Your physiotherapist will use and educate you on pain management practices to help you avoid or lessen your need for medication, including painkillers. Additionally, they may suggest modifying certain behaviour which causes discomfort. Your physiotherapist will develop a treatment plan for you that will often involve ice and heat application to the afflicted region.
- Extensive range-of-motion exercise
If your knee’s mobility (movement) is restricted, this might result in higher stress on your knee. In addition, a lack of mobility in your hip, foot, or ankle may be putting your knee at a disadvantage. Your physical therapist can teach you stretching exercises to alleviate stress and restore joint function. These will concentrate on joints ranging from the pelvis/hip area to the foot.
- Hands-on therapy
Your physiotherapist may treat your illness by gently moving your muscles and joints using hands-on treatments (manual therapy). These procedures aid in the restoration and enhancement of normal mobility. Additionally, they can be utilized to direct your joints to a less demanding movement pattern. Your physical therapist may provide slight resistance to particular activities so as to help you gain strength.
- Muscle development
Muscle imbalances cause some knee diseases and symptoms. Your physiotherapist will create a safe resistance program for you based on your condition(s). This program will likely incorporate core (midsection) and lower extremity workouts. Your program may begin with table, bed or floor exercises. Then you may go to standing exercises (e.g. standing squats). Your physiotherapist will choose workouts depending on your age and physical condition. They may utilize resistance machines in the clinic and advise you on home or gym equipment.
- Training for function
Once your discomfort, strength, and range of motion improve, you will need to return to more demanding activities carefully and gradually. It is important to develop safe, regulated movements to reduce stress on your knee. Your physical therapist will design a series of exercises to assist you in using and moving your body appropriately (and securely).
- Braces and other supplementary devices
Your physiotherapist or other members of your healthcare team may prescribe braces, walking aids, wraps or tape, depending on your situation. These devices can be beneficial in assisting with recovery.
For more information on reducing knee pain through physiotherapy, visit fraserlifephysio.ca or call us in Langley at (778) 278-4755 today.