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Sidelined From Knee Discomfort?

knee pain

Knee discomfort and injures can keep you sidelined from participating in your daily activities.  Knee discomfort and pain can make it difficult to perform such daily activities as walking, climbing stairs,  bending down to tie your shoes or to pick something up off the floor.  It can also prevent you from enjoying such simple things as sitting to watch a movie, walking or running, and from enjoying your favorite sports such as soccer, basketball and tennis.  Knee injuries and pain can come from both degenerative changes that occur as we age and can be sports related.

Some of the most common injuries of the knee are:

  • sprains and strains,
  • osteoarthritis,
  • ligament injuries and meniscus injuries.

All of these cause pain, weakness and a decrease in functional activities such as bending, sitting or standing.

Some Common Knee Injuries

Ligament injuries more commonly occur with the more active patient population.  Sports  that involve jumping, planting of the leg or a change in direction can cause ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears The ACL is one of the key ligaments that help to stabilize the knee joint.  This is a significant injury that requires physical therapy, then surgery to repair the tear and then post-surgery rehabilitation to help return the patient to their previous functional levels. Therapy before surgery is much more common these days as it can increase range of motion and strengthen the knee. This helps the patient come out of surgery with a better outcome.  Initially, rehab post-surgery involves 1) focusing on increasing range of motion, 2) decreasing swelling and pain and 3) improving strength.  Later phases of therapy address higher level balance deficits, return to running, and sports-specific drills.

Meniscus injuries can occur suddenly with sports that involve twisting or cutting. The older patient population is also prone to meniscus tears as degeneration of the meniscus occurs overtime.  When the meniscus degenerates, your knee has less cushioning and therefore less shock absorption.  Recent research has shown that physical therapy should be the first course of action to treat the meniscus.  This is because while immediate surgery may help with the pain, in the long run, it predisposes the patient to osteoarthritis.  When a patient has meniscus surgery, a piece of it is removed and therefore the cushioning of the joint is removed.  This allows closer approximation of the top leg bone (femur) to the bottom weight-bearing leg bone (tibia), which can cause an earlier onset of arthritis.

Physical Therapy works to improve:

  • knee range of motion,
  • strength (supports the joint),
  • improved balance; and
  • therefore decreases pain and improves function.  

Arthritis involves inflammation of the joints which causes pain, swelling, and stiffness. This can make it very difficult to do normal daily activities such as walking, stairs, and staying in one position for too long.  With knee arthritis, the cartilage around the bones of your knee wears down and become frayed and rough.  This in turn decreases the joint space and causes bone on bone.  Physical therapy is a great first line of treatment for knee arthritis.  Therapy will focus on restoring range of motion, strength, balance, and decreasing pain in order to make every day activities easier.  If the arthritis is bad enough, a knee replacement may be needed.  If that is the case, patients come to physical therapy before surgery to get as much mobility and strength as possible, so that after surgery outcomes are usually better.

If you, or someone you know is having knee pain, don’t try to push through the pain and risk further injury.  Prolonging treatment can lead to more serious, chronic conditions that take a lot longer to recover from.

At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center our expert therapists can evaluate your symptoms and determine the correct course of treatment.. CALL 703-450-4300 TODAY.   Our therapists would be happy to help you get back to the activities you love.

 

CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help.

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