Knee pain or knee injuries are extremely common, and there are many causes. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your knee pain or injury so that appropriate treatment can be directed at the cause. Knee pain can arise from soft tissue injuries eg. ligament sprains and muscle strains, bone conditions eg. knee arthritis, Osgood Schlatters, and biomechanical dysfunction eg. Patellofemoral syndrome. It may even be referred from your sciatica!
Knee pain has many causes and your knee treatment varies considerably depending on an accurate diagnosis. Treatment can involve simple knee mobilisation techniques, massage, taping, stretches or strengthening exercises. If post knee reconstruction or knee replacement, a thorough rehabilitation protocol is necessary for the most effective recovery.
How does the knee work?
The knee joint is where the thigh and shin bones meet. The end of each bone is covered with cartilage, which allows the ends of the bones to move against each other almost without friction. The knee joint has two extra pieces of cartilage called menisci, which spread the load more evenly across the knee.
The knee joint is held in place by four large ligaments. These are thick, strong bands which run within or just outside the joint capsule. Together with the capsule, the ligaments prevent the bones moving in the wrong directions or dislocating. The thigh muscles (quadriceps) also help to hold the knee joint in place.
What causes knee pain?
There are many different causes of knee pain. A common cause is osteoarthritis, a condition that affects the body’s joints. The surfaces within the joint are damaged so the joint doesn’t move as smoothly as it should.
Your physiotherapist will be able to tell you what has caused your pain, but the information and exercises here will be relevant for most cases.
What is the Best Exercise for Knee Pain?
It may seem a little contradictory, but researchers have identified that knee exercises may assist the relief of your knee pain. The important thing to identify is which knee exercises are likely to help you and which could be harmful.
What exercise dosage you should be doing is also important. Your exercise dosage will vary depending upon the phase of your specific diagnosis, your knee injury diagnosis, plus other individual health factors. This is exactly where your physiotherapist’s professional training including knee injury diagnosis and appropriate knee exercise prescription is important to guide you quickly back to pain-free knees.
While we’d like to say that all knee exercises are beneficial to you, there are significant individual differences between all patients who present with knee pain. For example, an older diabetic overweight patient will require a very different set of knee exercises to a young high-performance athlete, or a patient who has just had a knee operation.
Based on the significant individual differences of who presents with knee pain, it is highly recommended that you seek the professional advice of your trusted physiotherapist or healthcare practitioner who has a special interest in knee pain and injuries to guide your knee rehabilitation.
Several of highly skilled physiotherapists have a special interest in knee pain and joint injury. Traditionally, most knee pain conditions have often been treated with only short-term aims in mind. e.g. cortisone injections or painkillers. Researchers are constantly updating us on what exercises seem to work the best for different conditions. We aim to stay up-to-date with the latest knee rehabilitation options suitable for you and your knee pain.
Research findings have modified modern physiotherapy treatment approaches to knee pain. Together with a thorough knee and lower limb assessment, your knee treatment can progress quickly to get you pain-free and performing your normal sport or daily activities in the shortest time possible.