Knee pain is common in people of all ages and the Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute can certainly help diagnose your knee pain and provide several treatment options. JOI and JOI Rehab have developed a conservative approach to treat knee pain. However, if you need surgery, JOI has the most experience team or orthopedic surgeons to get you back on the road to a full recovery.
There are various causes for knee pain including:
Any of these issues can lead to instability in the knee joint. This may increase knee pain and swelling and possibly lead to buckling or the knee giving way. The treatment plan for the knee depends on the severity of the pain. Physical Therapy can certainly help with minor knee pain. For more severe pain, your Physician will help determine whether surgery is needed or more extensive rehab.
Arthritis is inflammation inside a joint which occurs from damage to the cartilage. It is often referred to as excessive “wear and tear.” The severity of symptoms can range from mild pain from time to time, to severe joint deformity. Loss of mobility and functions such as walking can be affected as well. Patients with arthritis can experience knee pain behind the knee, or knee pain on either side of the knee. The knee has 3 compartments. (Medial, Lateral and Patellofemoral).
Patellofemoral pain can be very painful and can cause lead to significant dysfunction. It often is due to muscular imbalances of the quadriceps muscle and tights hamstrings and IT Band. Physical Therapycan certainly help with this condition.
Arthritis in any or all of these compartments can cause knee pain with daily activity. Arthritis on the back of the kneecap is a common cause of knee pain in the front of the knee (anterior knee pain).
The most common forms of arthritis in the knee that cause knee pain are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Both can cause knee pain in the back of the knee, side knee pain, and in the front of the knee. Both can lead to severe joint deformity and loss of function. Osteoarthritis is the most common and is diagnosed by X-ray. It may come from excessive abnormal wear and tear of the knee joint due to muscle imbalance or over use in compromising positions. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder that is diagnosed most commonly through blood work. Gout and pseudogout are two other very common types of arthritis. The difference between the two is that gout is a build up of uric acid crystals in the joint, whereas pseudogout is a build up of calcium-containing crystals in the joint fluid.
Pain in the side of the knee can come from several issues including arthritis. A tear in a meniscus may cause pain on one side of the knee. The side depends on which meniscus is torn. There is a medial collateral ligament on the inside of the knee and a lateral collateral ligament on the outside of the knee. Pain in the side of the knee may also stem from a sprain of one of those ligaments. Pain in the side of the knee may also come from tendonitis in the muscles that pass by the sides of the knee. These may include the hamstrings, IT Band, or adductor tendons.
The remedy for knee pain is a little different for everybody but most people can benefit from specific strength exercises to improve the quadriceps and gluteal muscles. When you have pain and swelling inside the knee, the brain is signaled to decrease the contracting information to the muscles around the knee to protect it. The problem is that these muscle sometimes need help to learn how to begin to work properly again. Physical therapy may be necessary to re-educate proper muscle activity help decrease the swelling in the knee.
Wearing proper shoe can improve the function of the knee and help to decrease pain in the knee. Sorry Ladies, but high heels can increase knee pain and wear and tear on the knee.
Avoiding deep squats and kneeling activity can help to decrease pain in knee. Deep squats can cause the pressure between the knee cap and the thigh bone to increase. This pressure can cause increased wear and tear in the knee.
A torn meniscus is difficult to diagnose on your own. The meniscus is a “C” shaped piece of cartilage that helps to increase the contact surface between the thigh bone (femur) and the lower leg bone (tibia) at the knee. There are 2 of them in the knee, one on each side. A tear in the meniscus can be caused by trauma or from abnormal wear and tear. A meniscus tear may cause knee pain, swelling, and locking of the knee. There are special test that a physician, physical therapist, or athletic trainer may perform to detect a tear in a meniscus but typically a tear is diagnosed through and MRI.
Excess weight - Being overweight can cause added stress on the knee joint. Simple activities such as walking can be affected. The added stress also puts you at increased risk for osteoporosis by wearing away joint cartilage
Certain physical activity - Sports that include increased stress on your knees such as running or basketball can increase your chance of knee injury. Physically demanding jobs such as contracting or moving can also factor into joint cartilage wear
Previous Injury - If you have injured your knee before you are at greater risk to re-injure your knee
If you experience any of the following symptoms in your knee, you should consult an orthopedic physician:
It is not uncommon for people of various age groups to have knee pain. There are several different ways to treat pain in the knee in physical therapy. Joint mobilization, which is a hands-on technique to improve mobility of the joints, is one of the most common. Range-of-motion and strength training are also typically used as ways to treat those who are having painful knee symptoms. Lastly and perhaps most importantly is keeping up with your health. Weight loss and a healthy BMI are always recommended in the treatment of knee pain.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, call 904-858-7045
If you would like to learn more about knee pain, go to: https://www.joionline.net/library/show/knee_pain_symptoms/
By: Ehren Allen, PT, COMT