Knee pain doesn’t just affect retirees – Physio for knee is a service physiotherapists offer to people of all ages.
You’d be surprised how common it is. While it’s hard to get exact numbers, we do know that each year approximately 30,000 Aussies undergo replacement knee surgery.
With those numbers in mind, there are good odds you’ll run into knee problems at some point of your life!
So what can you do if you start suffering from knee pain? Our Highett physio explains…
Client of the month = Gareth. Gareth is a legend who was struggling to cycle anymore than 20mins before knee pain put him out of action. Now he’s doing several 100kms per week! Tour de France? Well done Gareth. #physioaus #brightoneast #stkilda #malverneast #sportsphysio #caulfield #elsternwick #brighton #results #rehab #aus #movement #strength #conditioning #armadale #caulfieldsouth #dryneedling #kneepain #cycling #cyclist
The different types of knee pain
The knee is one of the strongest joints in your body – it has to be, with the amount of work it does every day.
Just because it’s strong however, doesn’t make it invincible. Knee pain can develop slowly over the years as you wear your knees out. In other cases, knee pain can be sudden, and might be the result of an injury or accident.
Knee pain can come from many sources. In all cases however, the symptoms are hard to miss:
- Difficulty bending/straightening the knee
- Pain when you walk up stairs
- Swelling in the knee area
- Instability and balance problems
Knee problems can also be exacerbated by factors including:
- Age – joints and bone become brittle with old age
- Past injury – previous problems increase your chances of future knee pain
- Certain sports – certain sports put stress and pressure on your knees
Is your knee pain because of mechanical problems?
Your knee is a complicated joint.
It’s made up of bone, protective cartilage, muscle and ligaments, all of which work together to ensure smooth and painless movement.
That’s a lot of different parts working in unison. And that also means there are many points of failure.
For starters, cartilage wears down over time, leading to pain. Splinters of bone or cartilage can also break off and float around the knee joint (loose bodies or bone spurs).
Another common culprit is iliotibial band syndrome. This is when the connective tissue in the sides of your thighs rub against the femur bone, causing pain.
It might even be a case of simple wear-and-tear as the protective cartilage wears out. As it wears out, muscle and tendons come into direct contact with bone.
The outcome? Pain!
Is your knee pain because of injury or damage?
For many people, their knee pain is the result of injury or damage.
Sports and activities that are hard on your knees increase your risk of knee pain:
- Jogging and running can put heavy pressure on your knees
- Sports like football (all of them) and basketball that require jumping and sudden changes in direction
- Jobs involving manual labour like construction, landscaping and trades
All of these can cause injuries such as:
- Fractures and breaks
- Knee bursitis (yes, your shoulders aren’t the only parts that deal with this!)
- Ligament (connective tissue) damage including the dreaded ACL injuries
- Sprained knees
- Meniscus tears
- Runner’s knee and Jumper’s knee
It’s not just athletes and tradies either – the knee puts up with a lot during everyday use, too.
Every single step you take sends vibrations up your leg and puts pressure on your knee.
If you spend a lot of time carrying heavy loads or walking up flights of stairs without good biomechanics you might be accelerating the breakdown of joint cartilage and increasing your risk of knee injury!
Treatment for knee pain
You’d be dead in the water without your knee joint. As a result, even mild knee pain can be debilitating.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to treat knee pain!
One of the leading causes of knee injury is a lack of muscle strength and healthy tone.
Healthy, strong leg muscles act as shock absorbers, reducing the pressure on your knees and protecting it from damage.
Unfortunately, not all of us are that active.
It’s estimated that 65.3% of Australians either live sedentary lifestyles or don’t get enough exercise. That’s a lot of tight or weak leg muscles out there – no wonder knee pain is such a common problem!
Do you want to become more active? Does your job put a lot of strain on your knees? Your Physio for knee helps prevent knee pain by building up strength in your knee joint.
Looking at your level of activity and knee health, your physio prescribes a routine of knee exercises that strengthen your knee. This drastically reduces your risk of knee injury.
And if you suffer from chronic knee pain, these routines can encourage healing and bring your pain down to zero!
Ask your Physio for knee about supports and tools
As part of the treatment process, your Highett physio might provide supports and tools to speed up your recovery.
Depending on the exact source of your knee pain, shoe inserts could be a useful tool.
Sliding into your shoes, these ergonomic inserts absorb impacts and shift pressure away from the parts of your knee most affected by pain by changing the position of your femur in relation to your tibia and fibula.
Say your knee pain is focused more on the back of your knee joint. In this case, your physio has a range of tools at their disposal such as dry needling, joint mobilization and taping techniques to relieve your pain.
In some cases, your Highett physio might even prescribe braces to protect and support your knee. Each treatment is done on a case-by-case basis – only after a thorough assessment can a suitable solution be found.
Need a Highett physio to help treat knee problems?
Get in touch with Ben Demase at Physio AUS today!
Our unique AUS system has helped all sorts of clients overcome their knee pain and return to their normal routine.