Many people suffer with knee pain, but the pain can often be caused by a variety of issues.
There are three main types of knee pain.
- Non-traumatic pain happens because of arthritis or other long-term conditions.
- Pain caused by overuse is the result of intense activity such as running for hours.
- And then there’s acute injury that leads to what’s known as reactive arthritis.
As with any injury, it’s best to see a doctor if you are experiencing knee pain. If your symptoms persist, you may need treatment such as physical therapy.
What causes knee pain?
- Sprained Knee – inflammation, pain, bruising caused by damaged ligaments. Can lead to limited mobility.
- Patellar Fracture, Patellar Dislocation – either of these can cause severe pain, swelling and make walking difficult.
- Tendonosis/Tendonitis – inflammation of the patellar tendon. Can cause sharp pain and swelling of the knee.
- Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome – kneecap cartilage/soft tissue damage due to overuse or injury. Often referred to as “runners’ knee”.
- Ligament Tears/Sprain including ACL knee injury, MCL knee injury, PCL sprain partially torn ligament
- Meniscus Tear
- Cartilage Defects – Wear and tear, age, ligament damage, fracture or a traumatic injury. Causes pain, stiffness, and range of motion issues.
- Osteoarthritis/Degenerative joint disease – knee joint cartilage wears away which can result in bone-on-bone or bone spur pain.
- Total knee joint replacement
What are the symptoms of a knee injury?
When a patient presents with knee pain, their knee can be swollen, painful, and cause difficulty with walking.
There are numerous tissues in the knee that can lead to these symptoms including but not limited to medial/lateral meniscus, ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL, quads, patellar tendon, hamstrings, and bursa.
How bad knees change your life
Knee pain grows frustrating because everyday tasks become difficult, like going up stairs or bending over to tie shoes. It also affects your quality of life by making movement slower and more uncomfortable; sometimes even getting out from a seated position may be too much work.
The good news? Over half (55%) of people with chronic knee issues report their condition had improved after six weeks without tablets/injections. However if you’re experiencing moderate-to-severe discomfort that limits your activity you should consider knee rehab rather than losing and missing out on .
Immediate treatments for knee soreness
If the injury occurred recently (within the past 2-3 days), it is important to control inflammation and allow for proper healing to begin. Early treatment should include rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the injured knee.
After the acute healing phase, you can begin performing range of motion and gentle strengthening exercises for the knee in order to restore function.
If these problems persist, get evaluated by a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
How physical therapy provides relief from knee pain
Physical therapists can use a number of tools to decrease inflammation and increase ROM/strength. These tools can include modalities, therapeutic exercises, manual therapy techniques, and patient education on the condition. Knee pain can be a problem, but physical therapy can help get rid of it.