Treating Knee Pain ...

Knee painful - skeleton x-ray, 3D Illustration medical concept. Knee pain is one of the most common ailments due to the amount of daily stress placed upon this hinge joint.

There are many reasons why your knees can have nagging, constant, and irritating pain. If your foot became stuck on the ground and your upper body twists over it, you may feel no pain at the time. However, later you can experience a significant amount of discomfort on the inside connection of the knee joint. Interestingly enough, people most of the time don’t realize that pain also can occur simply by having poor mechanics. The lack of ability to keep the knee joint in an extended and straight position while walking normally, is frequently another reason why people start having trouble with their knees.

A slight bend in the knee gives us a certain security while moving around, but in turn puts immense amounts of stress on the knee joint. As an experienced physical therapist, I see most patients walk through the door with an extended knee joint when they’re in pain. Over 80 to 90% keep their knees slightly bent to prevent putting all their weight on the affected leg. The body will try to do anything to avoid the discomfort, yet it potentially causes more harm than good. 

As soon as you start limping this compensation becomes a chain reaction to other body parts both below and above. So many people neglect their knee problems and try to convince themselves: “I don’t have to do anything about it. It will go away! It’s just one of those things as I’m getting older and falling apart.”

What do people generally start to do to help with their pain? They may stop running, walking, or reducing the amount of load while squatting. They may use compression sleeves, thinking it will go away by giving the knee some external support. They may take medications: anti-inflammatories, or other forms of pain-relieving substances to assist the situation. When their discomfort becomes worse, those pains start sneaking in even at night, leaving them with restless sleep while trying to find a comfortable position.

As a therapist, the mechanics of the knee are fascinating. It’s a joint required to be strong to support you, while it’s a great shock absorber. There is great mobility in one direction while bending and straightening, with an important mild rotation component of the shin bone. The kneecap is a gliding small bone structure connecting and assisting the main muscles (quadriceps) by the connecting tendon to the thigh and shin bone. As soon as we get up in the morning, the quadriceps are activated and never stop working throughout the day. Wouldn’t that be a possible cause for wear-and-tear if you never address the muscle which is attached through the kneecap in the front of the knee joint?

Strength is one thing, flexibility is another. If you never stretch the front thigh muscle, you won’t feel relief in the front of the knee. Pressure builds due to mechanical forces which unfortunately can be very significantly. Ever heard of repetitive strain injuries? That also can occur in the knee joint when being overused and abused. Gardening on the knee joints in a kneeling position without any padding can cause significant amounts of compression and irritation right behind the kneecap, causing great problems if not addressed. 

If your pain truly is not going away, I suggest you would seek some professional help. A skilled physical therapist can analyze the mechanics of your knee joint specifically to mechanical stressors which occur in daily life. Physical therapists are highly trained in movement analysis and biomechanical motion observation which allows them to identify the potential damage which is occurring inside of the knee joint. This allows them to come up with a treatment plan to reduce pain and stiffness without using medication, injections, or possible surgery which often is the primary course of intervention due to lack of knowledge on where to seek other help.

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