Physical Therapy for Treating Knee Pain | Ivy Rehab Network

Knee Pain

Why does my knee hurt?

Knee pain is very common and can have significant effects on quality of life. Both chronic and acute knee pain can hinder your ability to walk and perform everyday functions. Sitting, standing, climbing stairs, exercising, getting in and out of cars, and many other everyday activities can be affected due to knee pain. Injury, strain, or repetitive motion can be the cause of knee pain and many symptoms can result from excess swelling forming in the knee joint.

Where you actually “feel” the knee pain can vary depending on the structure that sustained damage or strain. Locating the exact spot of your knee pain will help in diagnosing the root cause and subsequent knee rehab treatment. For instance, if you’re experiencing pain in your kneecap, commonly referred to as patellofemoral stress syndrome (PFS), it could be due to either poor “tracking” movement of the kneecap in the groove at the end of the thigh bone, or an inflamed tendon located at the front or side of your knee.  Furthermore, pain on the inside of your knee (the side closest to your other leg) could be a result of an injury to the medial meniscus or medial collateral ligament. If you’re experiencing pain on the outside of your knee, the root cause could be iliotibial band (ITB) stress, among injuries to various other structures in the knee area. Lastly, pain in the back of the knee could be a result of an injury to (or strain of) the hamstring tendons. If you are able to accurately explain your pain to your doctor or physical therapist, it can help tremendously with diagnosing your knee condition. This will also give them more insight to ensure they provide the proper knee exercises.

Symptoms of knee pain:

  • Redness around the knee joint
  • Knee swelling
  • Weak knees
  • Tender knees
  • Stiff knees
  • Excess fluid in knees
  • Soft kneecaps
  • Warm knees

Possible reasons for knee pain:

  • Patellofemoral stress syndrome
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Bursitis
  • Dislocated knee
  • Baker’s cyst
  • Chondromalacia patella
  • Meniscus tear
  • Gout
  • Total knee replacement
  • ACL tear
  • Torn ligaments
  • Bone tumors

 

Contact us to learn more about scheduling physical therapy for knee pain today!

  • Q: What can I do to relieve my knee pain?
    The first step to relieving knee pain is to evaluate the source of the pain. Common knee problems include arthritic changes under the kneecap (patella) from abnormal tracking, or a muscle imbalance, a sprain of a ligament or strain of a muscle, or from abnormal stresses caused by the foot or hip. Once the source is discovered, a focused physical therapy treatment plan to correct alignment, muscle balance, reduce inflammation, and normal walking can eliminate the cause of the pain.
  • Q: I haven't been injured. Why does my knee hurt?
    Some sources of pain come from microtrauma, malalignment, or imbalances that occur gradually over time, creating rough surfaces where bones come together - a type of joint arthritis - that causes inflammation and pain. Sometimes a loose body or weight bearing structure - like a piece of the cartilage between bones in the knee - and it catches or causes pain directly.
  • Q: Is it true I can just walk off my knee pain?
    The knee is an important weight bearing surface in the body, just like the foot and the hip. Some knee conditions respond well to rest and gentle movement and do improve on their own. Often times, without changing the dynamics of the knee, the pain will return as you become more active. There are conditions that require very conservative management, and they do improve on their own, but early diagnosis and intervention are the wisest choices to for speedy pain relief and a complete recovery.
  • Q: What does the typical knee pain rehabitation program look like at Ivy Rehab?
    First, a clear diagnosis and cause of the knee pain has to be determined. Depending on the knee condition, treatment will usually include addressing joint imbalances with posture, shoe and foot position, hip, thigh or lower body strengthening and flexibility exercises, and often times, correctly taping or bracing/ orthotic to offload and retrain the function of the leg may be needed.
  • Q: How do I know if my knee pain is serious enough to warrant physical therapy?
    If pain or swelling persists beyond 3 days, seek an assessment by a physical therapist. Rapid recovery and early intervention is the key to a safe, quick return to full activities. If you wait too long, inflammation and swelling can become an interfering factor in pain reduction and prevention of a re-occurance.

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