Knee Pain

Knee Pain

Understanding Knee Pain:

Physiotherapists commonly encounter various knee pain issues across different age groups and activity levels. Some of the most prevalent knee pain issues seen by physiotherapists include:

  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS): Also known as runner’s knee, PFPS is characterised by pain around or behind the kneecap, particularly when bending the knee (e.g running, squatting, or climbing stairs.) It often results from improper tracking of the kneecap within the femoral groove
    due to factors like muscle imbalances, poor biomechanics, or overuse.
  • Ligamentous Injuries: Injuries to the ligaments surrounding the knee joint, such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprains, or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries, are common, especially among athletes. These injuries typically occur due to sudden twisting or direct impact on the knee, leading to pain, swelling, instability, and impaired function.
  • Meniscus Tear: The menisci are crescent-shaped cartilage structures that act as shock absorbers
    within the knee joint. Tears in the meniscus can occur due to acute trauma or degenerative changes, resulting in pain, swelling, locking or catching sensations, and limited range of motion.
    Physiotherapy aims to manage symptoms and improve knee function, although severe cases may
    require surgical intervention.
  • Osteoarthritis (OA): Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterised by the breakdown of cartilage within the knee joint, leading to pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced mobility. Physiotherapy plays a vital role in OA management by implementing exercise programs (See more in our GLAD Program section of the website) to strengthen muscles, improve joint stability, and enhance flexibility, as well as providing education on pain management strategies and lifestyle modifications.
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS): ITBS is a common overuse injury among runners and cyclists, characterised by pain on the outside of the knee, often exacerbated during activities that involve repetitive knee bending, such as running downhill or cycling. Physiotherapy focuses on addressing muscle imbalances, improving biomechanics, and implementing stretching and strengthening exercises to alleviate symptoms and prevent recurrence.
  • Patellar Tendinitis (Jumper’s Knee): Patellar tendinitis refers to inflammation of the patellar tendon, commonly seen in athletes involved in jumping or repetitive knee extension activities. It presents with pain and tenderness at the base of the patella and may progress to degenerative changes if left untreated. Physiotherapy interventions include strengthening exercises, biomechanical correction, and activity modification to promote tendon healing and reduce pain.
  • Bursitis: Bursitis involves inflammation of the bursae, fluid-filled sacs that cushion and lubricate the knee joint. Excessive kneeling, repetitive friction, or direct trauma can irritate the bursae, leading to pain, swelling, and tenderness around the knee. Physiotherapy focuses on reducing inflammation, improving biomechanics, and addressing contributing factors to alleviate symptoms and prevent recurrence.

These are just a few examples of the many knee pain issues that physiotherapists commonly encounter. Each condition requires a comprehensive assessment and individualised treatment approach tailored to the patient’s specific needs, goals, and functional limitations.

The Role of Physiotherapy

  • Pain Management: Physiotherapists employ various techniques to alleviate pain, including manual therapy, modalities such as ultrasound and therapeutic exercises. These interventions help reduce pain perception, promote tissue healing, and improve overall comfort.
  • Restoration of Function: Through targeted exercises and functional training, physiotherapy aims to restore optimal function to the knee joint. This may involve strengthening exercises to improve muscle support around the knee, flexibility exercises to enhance range of motion, and proprioceptive training to improve balance and coordination.
  • Postural Correction: Addressing biomechanical issues and correcting faulty movement patterns is crucial in preventing recurrent knee injuries and reducing strain on the joint. Physiotherapists assess posture, gait, and movement mechanics to identify areas of dysfunction and implement corrective strategies.
  • Prevention of Recurrence: Physiotherapy focuses not only on treating current symptoms but also on preventing future issues. By educating patients about proper body mechanics, injury prevention strategies, and appropriate exercise techniques, physiotherapists empower individuals to take an active role in maintaining knee health.
  • Post-Operative Rehabilitation: Following knee surgery, such as ACL reconstruction or meniscus repair, structured rehabilitation under the guidance of a physiotherapist is essential for optimal recovery. Physiotherapy helps manage pain, restore range of motion, regain strength, and gradually reintroduce functional activities to facilitate a safe return to daily life and sports.
  • Bracing and Taping: Provision of knee braces or taping techniques can provide support, stability, and proprioceptive feedback, particularly during the initial stages of rehabilitation or for individuals with ligamentous injuries

When to Seek Medical Attention

While many cases of knee pain can be managed with self-care measures, it’s essential to consult a Physiotherapist if:

  • Pain persists after a couple of days
  • There is significant swelling, redness, or warmth around the knee
  • Inability to bear weight on the affected leg
  • Severe or sudden onset of pain, especially after an injury

All our Physiotherapist’s at Physio Elements are highly experienced in treating knee pain!

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