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What We Treat

Knee Pain


Knee Pain Relief

Due to the heavy impact on the knee, more than half of all sports injuries that are treated in physical therapy are related to knee pain. Often knee pain is due to frequent changes of direction or sudden starting or stopping when participating in sports. Knee pain can result in injuries in any of the bony structures that make up the knee joint, which are the fibula, tibia, and femur. Knee pain can also be caused by damage to the ligaments (like the ACL-anterior cruciate ligament), cartilage of the knee or the menisci.

Pain may occur when resting, walking, or participating in an activity. The knee may have more signs and symptoms than just pain. There may be swelling, stiffness, instability, popping noises, or the inability to fully straighten or bend the knee. Knee pain can be persistent and limit mobility and daily activities.

Pain felt in the knees may originate in the joints themselves, but it may also be a result of an underlying condition in another part of the body. Your knees and hips are part of the same kinetic chain, meaning they make up a combination of weight-bearing joints that must work together for your body to function properly. Therefore, a problem with your knee joint may transmit painful signals to your hips or ankles and vice versa. If one part of the kinetic chain is out of balance, stress and deterioration may be placed on another. Over time, imbalances in your stand or gait may cause abnormal stresses and premature wear-and-tear in your knee and lead to arthritis.

Common Causes of Knee Pain

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS): This is a common type of knee pain that occurs when the patella (kneecap) rubs against the femur bone.

  • Overuse or repetitive strain: PFPS is often associated with activities that require repetitive bending and straightening of the knee, such as running, cycling, or jumping.

  • Muscle imbalances or weakness: Weakness or tightness in the muscles surrounding the knee, such as the quadriceps or hip muscles, can cause abnormal tracking of the patella and lead to PFPS.

  • Patellar malalignment: A misaligned patella can cause uneven wear and tear on the cartilage behind the kneecap, leading to pain and inflammation.

  • Trauma or injury: A direct blow to the knee or a fall onto the knee can cause damage to the patella or surrounding structures, leading to PFPS.

  • Arthritis: In some cases, PFPS may be caused by underlying arthritis or joint damage.

Meniscus Tears: The meniscus is a cartilage in the knee that can tear due to injury or wear and tear.  It is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia).  A tear can happen to the outside (lateral meniscus) or the inside (medial meniscus) of the cartilage.  Meniscal tears can occur as a result of sudden twisting, pivoting, or hyperextension of the knee, or due to degeneration of the meniscus over time.  Symptoms may include; pain, especially at the side or center of the knee, swelling and stiffness in the knee, difficulty bending or straightening the knee, a feeling of catching or locking in the knee, or a popping or clicking sound when the knee is moved. Many meniscal tears can be managed without surgery.

ACL Tears: The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a ligament in the knee that can tear due to sudden change in direction, landing awkwardly, or direct impact to the knee. A tear in this ligament can result in pain, swelling, and instability or giving out in the knee. Surgery is often indicated in the individual who wants to return to sports using a graft to replace the torn ligament.  The graft may be from another part of the body such as the patellar tendon or hamstring tendon.  After surgery, the patient will follow a physician’s protocol to regain mobility, strength, and balance.  Bracing may be recommended to provide stability and support during the healing phases of healing.  This program can last several months and it is important for long term outcomes to follow the protocol as indicated by your physician in collaboration with your physical therapist’s plan of care.

MCL sprain: A MCL sprain, also known as a medial collateral ligament sprain, is a common knee injury that occurs when the ligament that runs along the inside of the knee joint is stretched or torn. This type of injury can happen due to a sudden twisting or impact to the knee, or from repetitive stress on the ligament.

IT Band Syndrome: The IT (iliotibial) band is a thick band of tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh to the knee and can cause knee pain when it becomes tightened or inflamed.  It is a common overuse injury that affects the outer part of the knee.  IT band syndrome is typically caused by repeated friction and rubbing of the iliotibial band against the knee joint during activities such as running, cycling, or hiking.  Symptoms of IT band syndrome may include pain or discomfort on the outer part of the knee, swelling or inflammation, or a clicking or popping sensation in the knee.

Patellar Tendonitis:  This condition involves pain and tenderness around the patellar tendon, typically below the kneecap and sometimes called jumper's knee.  Swelling and stiffness may occur.  Pain tends to worsens with activity or prolonged sitting.  Often the quadriceps muscles are weak.  This frequently occurs in jumping sports like basketball, volleyball or sports that involve quick stopping and starting like tennis, soccer and field events like high jump, long jump or triple jump.

Physical therapy can help reduce pain, improve flexibility, and strengthen the muscles around the hip and knee.

Overall, physical therapy can help to improve knee pain by addressing the underlying causes of the pain and providing targeted treatment to improve joint function and mobility.

Our physical therapists will examine your knee for signs of misalignment or structural issues, in addition to examining your posture, stance, and range of motion and gait.  After your physical evaluation is complete, your physical therapist will prescribe a plan of care aimed at relieving any abnormal stresses and strains on your knees, and working to normalizing your overall function.

You will be given targeted exercises designed for relieving joint pain and stabilizing weak knee and hip muscles.  Research has demonstrated that those suffering from patellofemoral pain tend to respond better to exercises that focus on strengthening both the hips and knees, rather than just focusing on the knees alone.

You may also be given exercises designed to strengthen the core. This may include your lower abdominal muscle groups, lower back muscle groups, or pelvic muscles.  Core exercises are aimed to improve your posture and equalizing the weight load on both sides of your body.

Other treatment options may include:

Range of motion exercises:  Physical therapy can include exercises to improve the range of motion in the knee joint. These exercises can help to reduce stiffness and improve flexibility.

Manual therapy:  A physical therapist may use hands-on techniques such as massage, joint mobilization, or stretching to help reduce pain and improve mobility.

Taping techniques:  Taping your knee may help with pain, provide support to healing tissue, and improve your pain with activities. There are many different ways to tape a knee.  Your physical therapist can select an option that works best for your condition.  Tape may be worn for several days in between your treatment sessions.

Body Mechanics/Gait Training:  A physical therapist can provide education on proper body mechanics and posture to help reduce stress on the knee joint during daily activities.  For example, faulty squatting and jumping mechanics may be a source of your pain.  This may also include gait training, to improve your efficiency and mechanics with walking.

Modalities: Physical therapy may also include the use of modalities such as ice, heat, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation to help reduce pain and inflammation.

Don’t let knee pain sideline you. Take a stand and contact Athletic Edge and Wellness today, to get treatment for your knee pain to MOVE BETTER, PERFORM BETTER, and BE BETTER.  Schedule an evaluation at our Performance Center in Algonquin, IL, at 224-505-3343 .


How Can Physical Therapy Help Improve My Knee Pain?

Set up an Appointment Today!

224.505.EDGE (3343)
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