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Say ‘Good Bye’ to Knee Problems

knee problems

By Tricia Walker, ATC

Knee discomfort and injuries are common reasons patients come to physical therapy. The number one complaint we hear from someone experiencing any kind of knee problem is pain under or around the knee cap. As you can imagine, this kind of pain can greatly limit your functional mobility. Some people also experience stiffness in and around the knee making it difficult to move the joint. Others also have generalized weakness in that same leg. Any kind of knee pain or stiffness makes simple daily activities difficult:

  • Walking
  • Going up or down the stairs
  • Squatting
  • Trouble standing up from a chair
  • Inability to kneel.
  • You will likely also have difficulty with lifting, pushing, or pulling objects.

One common knee injury we treat at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center is a meniscus tear. This can be treated surgically or non-surgically depending on the severity of the tear.

In the knee, the menisci serve as a cushion between the two major bones in your leg: the femur or thigh bone and the tibia or the shinbone. Each of your knees has two menisci. These are shaped like the letter ‘C’ and are made up of cartilage. The cartilage can become damaged during activity where the knee is forced to twist or rotate. Common symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness, especially when trying to fully straighten or bend your knee. Depending on the type of tear, you may also experience locking and clicking.

How does can this injury happen? Some common causes of meniscus tears are forceful rotations, sudden stops, aggressive pivoting, deep squatting and sometimes even kneeling. Although most of the causes seem sports-related, degenerative changes in the knees can also contribute to a torn meniscus.

Many times, a physical therapist can identify whether or not you have a torn meniscus during a full evaluation. Physical therapy is an effective treatment method to help with this injury and any knee-related pain or discomfort. A majority of knee problems can be resolved with physical therapy with no need for surgery, prescription medications, or injections. Through a personalized plan of care, a physical therapist will help you strengthen the surrounding muscles and educate you on the proper technique and form to use during any kind of activity. Physical therapy will help will help decrease your pain and improve your mobility regardless if you have been experiencing pain for days or years. Through specific strengthening and stretching exercises physical therapy can help restore normal muscle balance in your legs and off load your knees resulting in improved mechanics and decreased pain.

With the help of the Physical Therapists and Certified Athletic Trainers at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, we can help guide you through your knee discomfort with strengthening exercises and targeted stretching.

CLICK HERE or more information on common causes of knee problems AND a self-assessment to see if you’re at risk for knee injuries.