The knees are amazing joints. They are unique in their ability to hinge and rotate, not to mention they do this while supporting our body weight at full speed. Watch a professional basketball or football player and see how fast they can stop, change directions, and reach full sprinting speed. The knee joint makes this possible, but it can also become injured in the process. Two common injuries in the knee are listed below. Do any of these describe your knee pain?
The knee cap slides back and fourth in a groove with each step. Over time, the bone or cartilage under the knee cap can become irritated and painful. Excessive stress and strain is placed on the cartilage with each step.
Chrondromalacia patella pain occurs under or along the knee cap and is often worse going up steps or walking down hills. It can become stiff and sore after sitting in one position for longer periods of time. Chrondromalacia patella is more likely to occur in people with light lateral quadriceps muscles and weaker medial quadriceps. It can occur from jumping sports and running, especially in runners who are increasing their mileage.
Ice and rest are important to allow the area to heal. Stretching of the quadriceps is important to decrease stress on the knee cap. Strengthening of the medial quadriceps is also recommended.
If pain does not improve within one week, more specific treatment may be required. Treatment will be aimed at decreasing pain, inflammation, and cartilage “grinding.” Treatment will also help relax muscles to allow the knee cap to slide properly into the groove.
For more information visit are Chondromalacia Treatment page.
Tendons and ligaments absorb a lot of stress and over time they can become irritated and injured. Unfortunately, they are slow to heal because of the limited blood supply. Less blood means less nutrients flowing to the area, therefore it will take longer to heal. With tendon and ligament sprains it is very important to decrease stress and inflammation.
Icing throughout the day will help decrease the inflammation and pain. Decreasing the excessive stress and strain on the knee is important, which can include running or walking less. Squatting, turning, and twisting should be avoided whenever possible.
Improper footwear is often a cause in many running injuries. Old and worn shoes do not absorb stress and pounding like newer shoes do. More of the pound and shock goes into the body where it is absorbed by muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the legs and knees.
In addition, people who have increased their training or “over did it,” often place excessive stress on the body. Training volume or intensity that increases by more than 10% a week often leads to injuries after several weeks.
If ice and rest does not resolve the problem, treatment may be required. A combination of ultrasound, electric therapy, massage therapy, proper exercises and Graston Technique will dramatically improve the injury and speed healing. Active release technique is one muscle therapy that can be a benefit in certain types of muscle injuries. Massage therapy is also effective at decreasing muscle spasms and helping muscle sprains to heal.
Physical therapy will perform an evaluation on your knee and leg. Some people develop muscle weakness or muscle pattern problems that lead to repetitive stress injuries. Treatment may involve strengthening muscles that assist the knee in its function, such as hip or ankle muscles. Exact treatment will depend on your specific weakness or imbalance that leads to your pain.
Waiting too long before seeking treatment often causes injuries to get much worse, requiring more time and treatment to correct the problem.
For more information on a common knee tendinosis, read about Patella tendinosis Treatment.
Physical therapy can be effective at treating many types of sprains and strains. Proper treatment is the first step and will work to decrease pain and inflammation. The second step focuses on proper tissue repair and healing. The last step centers around strength, endurance, and coordination of muscles and joints.