Chiropractor Chandler AZ

Knee Pain While Flexing Quadricep

The knee is an essential part of the body. It is the largest weight-bearing joint in the body and it absorbs the forces exerted during walking, running, and jumping. The quadriceps muscles are responsible for moving the knee and the hip. They also prevent the knee from buckling during activities like walking, running, jumping, and squatting. When the quadriceps muscles are in contraction, it increase the strain on the muscles, tendons and ligaments around the knee, causing pain. Common injuries include: patella tendonitis, chondromalacia patella, patellofemoral syndrome, and muscle strain.

Patella Tendonitis

Patellar tendonitis is tissue damage and inflammation of the patella tendon causing inner knee pain. The quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh connects to the knee cap which attaches to the tibia via the patella tendon. The quadriceps muscle is used to straighten and hinge the knee during activities such as running, jumping, and kicking. When the quadriceps are contracted, force is put on the patella tendon and too much force can damage the tendon. Strain from repetitive activities causes the damage to the tendon. It commonly occurs in people who partake in sports with frequent jumping such as basketball.

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Chondromalacia Patella

Chondromalacia patella is the softening of the cartilage under the patella, or kneecap. The degeneration of the cartilage is due to the misalignment of the patella as it slides over the femur. The quadriceps muscles pull the patella in a straight line over the femur. When the alignment is off-kilter, it allows for the patella to grind against the femur, causing inflammation and pain. The pain is normally felt in the front of the knee. Chondromalacia patella is one of the most common causes for chronic knee pain. This condition is most common among females, people who are knee-knocked, runners who are flat-footed, and people who are predisposed to an unusually shaped patella.

Patellofemoral Syndrome

Patellofemoral syndrome is a broad term to encompass pain in the front of the knee and around the patella. Many times, it is called "runner's knee" or "jumper's knee" because it is common in athletes who participate in sports that require running and/or jumping. It is especially common in young adults and females, but it can occur in non-athletes, as well. Patellofemoral syndrome occurs when nerves feel pain occurring in the soft tissues and bones around the patella. In some cases of patellofemoral syndrome, chondromalacia patella is occurring, causing the pain.

Muscle Strain

The quadriceps muscles are made up of the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and the rectus femoris. A strain in any one of these is called a tear. If the tear becomes more severe, it is known as a muscle rupture. Tears commonly occur during activities such as running, jumping, and kicking when a sufficient warm-up wasn't conducted. The most common of the quadriceps muscles to form a tear is the rectus femoris because it is the only muscle to cross both the hip and knee joints. When pain is felt around the knee, there is most likely a tear at musculotendinous junction which is just above the knee where the muscle becomes a tendon.

Conservative treatments can help relieve knee pain while flexing quadriceps and a treatment plan should be put together before surgery is considered. Many people immediately jump to surgery when they have a knee injury, but conservative treatments can work just as well to reduce inflammation and pain with a shorter recovery time.

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Home Treatments

At home the first step is always PRICE: protect, rest, ice, compress, and elevate. Reduce the stress and strain to the knee. Over the counter nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as recommended by your doctor can help reduce pain and inflammation. Ice helps block the knee pain and reduce inflammation.

Medical Treatments

NSAIDs are often prescribed for the initial acute injury stages. In severe cases that involve multiple joint regions, muscle relaxers or oral steroids can be given. Trigger point injections, botox, or steroid injections can be treatment options, as well. Pain management is not usually required unless stronger medications or joint injections are involved in treatment.

MRI and X-rays will not usually be ordered to evaluate mild to moderate muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries. Severe cases may utilize advanced imaging to rule out bone fractures, edema, nerve entrapments, tendon or muscle ruptures. Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) testing may be utilized in cases that also involve muscle, sensory or reflex loss.

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Conservative Treatments

Therapeutic treatments for addressing soft tissue injuries involve massage therapy, manual therapy, trigger point therapy, Graston Technique, or Active Release Technique. These treatments increase blood flow, decrease muscle spasms, enhance flexibility, speed healing, and promote proper tissue repair.

Iliotibial band Syndrome is common in runners who develop the injury because of weakness and poor stabilization of the leg and hip muscles. Specific knee exercises are given to increase strength and endurance. Proprioception exercises help teach the muscles how to work together again to stabilize the knee during walking or running.

When these treatments are incorporated into a treatment plan, patients heal faster and are less likely to have long-term pain, soft tissue fibrosis, or scar tissue in the injured muscle. These soft tissue treatments are incorporated with therapeutic exercise and flexibility programs.

Improve Movements to Eliminate Hip Pain

The back, hip, and lower extremity work as a comprehensive unit allowing for many of the repetitive tasks you complete at home, work, and during recreational activities. Injuries to one area of the musculature often indicates that additional damage has been incurred by adjacent muscles.

Many therapeutic exercises can help restore proper strength and endurance to the leg muscles. Isometric exercises are often the initial treatment exercises, followed by single plane rubber band exercises for the hip, knee, and ankle: flexion, extension, adduction, abduction, circumduction, inversion, and eversion. Dynamic exercises involving stability foam, rubber discs, exercise ball, and BOSU balls can be performed on the floor. The more unstable the surface, the more effort and stabilization is required of all the lower extremity muscles.

Vibration plates enhance neuromuscular learning throughout the ankle, knee, foot, hip, and back muscles. Additional strength exercises can be found on the hip, knee, and foot strengthening pages. More information for injuries and treatments for knee pain and foot pain.

Our Chandler Chiropractic & Physical Therapy clinic treats patients with a variety of muscle, tendon, joint, and ligament injuries. The clinic provides treatment for runners, tri-athletes, and weekend warriors in addition to common headache, neck, and back patients traditionally seen in Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy clinics. We work with all ages and abilities of the residents in Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, and Chandler AZ.