Knee pain is one of the most common complaints of the lower extremity. It can begin suddenly or build over a long period of time. The main reasons for knee pain are every day wear and tear, overuse and injury. The key to improving knee pain is to determine the cause of the knee pain. While the injury to the knee may be obvious, the structures affected by that injury in the knee may not be.
The structures of the knee
The main structures of the knee are the bones making up the joint (femur, tibia, fibula and patella) and the muscles connecting on and across the joints (quadriceps, hamstrings, IT band, adductors, popliteus, and many more). There are two discs called the medial meniscus and lateral meniscus in between the femur and tibia. There are also ligaments and tendons attaching each bone and muscle to their neighbors, the most well known of these including ACL, PCL, LCL and MCL. Finally, there is cartilage surrounding the bones in the joint called articular cartilage.
The most common problems
The most common problems causing pain in the knee include sprains and strains of ligaments and muscles around the knee joint, a ligament or meniscus tear, fractures, inflammation of the meniscus or bursa (bursitis), inflammation of the tendons (tendonitis) and arthritis of the knee joint.
While the cause of the knee pain directs the type of treatment, the most common treatments utilized in this office include Graston soft tissue technique, manual and instrument assisted joint manipulation, ultrasound therapy, kinesiotaping, exercises and rehabilitation.
These therapies are directed at breaking up scar tissue built up through injury, overuse and poor joint mechanics to allow proper healing, promote joint motion and strengthen weak knee components.
Correcting any biomechanical issues (scar tissue, abnormal gait, weaknesses) is important to stop the recurrence of knee pain. Physical rehabilitation is an important aspect of treatment for long term success.
Home stretching and exercise procedures (foam roller, stick, etc.) are instructed to be performed in order to stop recurrence of knee pain as well as improve poor mechanics.
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any form of knee pain. Early correction of issues causing symptoms, decreases the amount of tissue damage and allows for quicker healing and less recurrence. Referral to an orthopedic physician or other health care provider would occur where appropriate.