Knee Pain – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Physiotherapy at Woodbridge, Vaughan has many years of clinical experience in dealing with knee pain. Knee pain is quite a common problem among adults and children. Very often it is associated with activities like walking, bending, standing, stairs or lifting. Knee pain can be age related but it is also common amongst sports that involve running, jumping, or pivoting.

Knee stats:

  • Knee pain is usually related to aging, injury or repetitive strain
  • Injured components in the knee are ligaments, cartilage, tendons or bone
  • Physiotherapy is indicated for a range of knee problems
  • If physiotherapy does not help medical intervention may be required (steroid or synvisc injections, surgery)
  • You do not need an x-ray, MRI or CT scan for physiotherapy treatment. Your physiotherapist can make a diagnosis through his or her provocative tests.

Anatomy of the knee

The anatomical position of the knee means it bears a lot of weightbearing stress through activities like running, jumping etc. The knee is formed by three bones:

  1. Tibia: otherwise known as the shin bone
  2. Femur: the thighbone
  3. Patella: knee cap

The muscles on the front of your leg are called the quadricpes (quads), and at the back of the thigh the muscles are called the hamstrings. The muscles turn into tendons at both ends which connect them to the bones. Ligaments are the small pieces of tissue (very tough) which connect the bones to each other. The ligaments will stop the bones from moving out of place. If a ligament tears it can lead to excessive movement of the bones eg. ACL tear. In the middle of the knee is the cartilage (also known as a meniscus) which acts as a shock absorber for the knee.

Common Knee Injuries

  • Sprained Ligament (ligament tear): usually caused by a trauma or sudden twist of the knee. Depending on the grade of sprain symptoms can range from mild to severe pain, swelling, difficulty walking. There can also be laxity of the knee joint as the bones are not stable. Read more on ACL tear
  • Muscle or Tendon Strain (tear): common causes include poor warm up to sport, deconditioning or excessive stress on the tissue secondary to high impact or explosive movement. The aging process can also lead to a natural breakdown in these tissues. Hamstring strains occur on the back of the thigh and quads on the front – Read more on hamstring strains
  • Cartilage (Meniscus) Tear: like a ligament tear cartilage damage can happen secondary to sport, twisting of the knee or because of the aging process. A cartilage tear often occurs with ligament sprains as the medial ligament of the knee is connected to the cartilage. Read more on cartilage tears
  • Tendonitis: the tendons attach muscle to bone and this condition is characterized as inflammation inside the tendon sheath. The tendons can get inflamed from repetitive use as in sport or work environments. This is also known as a repetitive strain injury and can happen anywhere in the body. Read more on tendonitis
  • Arthritis: there are many different types of arthritis. The most common type is Osteo-arthritis (OA). This type of arthritis is a degenerative process in which it wears away at the cartilage of the knee joint. It affects middle-age people and the older population. Risk factor for this condition include repetitive stress in activities like running, or excessive weight gain. However, you can just be unlucky and have an onset of OA without doing anything to cause it. Read more on arthritis–conditions/arthritis-of-the-knee

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

Our clinicians at Physiotherapy At Woodbridge will make a thorough physiotherapy assessment which will be conducted on your first visit. This will give your clinician the necessary indication of what your diagnosis is. The diagnosis will be explained, and a treatment plan will be co-ordinated with you. Quite often pain control is the first port of call for your therapist to address. The therapist may use modalities and treatments such as:

  • Shockwave Therapy
  • Dry Needling
  • Laser
  • Manual therapy
  • Kinesio-Taping
  • Exercise
  • Education

As once as your pain is beginning to subside your therapist will most likely use hands on techniques called manual therapy. Manual therapy can involve deep tissue massage, mobilizations, or soft tissue release techniques. Exercise prescription and education are also an important part of the treatment plan. This is because it is important you learn about your condition and how-to self manage in the long term. Sometimes a knee brace and/or orthotics will be recommended.  Lifestyle modifications, pacing, postural education and gradual return to sport or regular daily activities will be covered.

How Long Does Therapy Last?

Everybody’s treatment plan will be completely individualized. Therapy can last anywhere from a few days to months. It really depends on the type and severity of the injury/condition. If progress with physiotherapy is slow, and you are not responding as we would have liked then you will be referred to your family doctor for a second opinion on medical diagnostics (MRI, ultrasound, x-ray) or Orthopedic consultation.

Finally, I would say do not try to self diagnose your knee pain – leave it to the professionals. Call Derek Mernagh at Physiotherapy At Woodbridge for a free 10min phone consultation. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have and advise you on the best course of treatment.

Need More Info?

Physiotherapy@Woodbridge aims to not only recover you from injury but to prevent future injuries. This is another benefit of coming to see us for knee injuries as we can provide insight into why you may have become injured. Rehabilitation should make you stronger and more resilient for your future activity.

Take a look at our home page under our services for information or if you have an injury and would like to book in for assessment then please contact us or book an appointment with us online.

Thanks for reading our blog and if you need any advice – please get in touch.

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