Many of us underestimate the importance of our knees until they start causing us pain. Everyday activities like crouching down, walking downstairs, and jumping can become impossible when we’re suffering from knee pain. However, there’s no need to panic. Most types of knee pain can be resolved without resorting to the pain, cost, and inconvenience of knee surgery.
At Wisdom Physiotherapy, our first step is to identify the root cause of your knee pain.
What is causing your knee pain?
At Wisdom Physio Claremont, we see a few common types of knee pain regularly, with excellent outcomes. These include:
- “Runner’s Knee” (Patellofemoral joint pain): This type of knee pain is typically felt in the front of the knee or beneath the kneecap (patella). It can feel like a sharp pain or a dull ache, and swelling around the patella may sometimes occur. This pain usually increases gradually over time, but it can sometimes result from trauma, such as a direct fall on the knee. The pain typically worsens when running, walking up and downstairs, squatting down, or experiencing a feeling of instability. The patellofemoral joint pain you’re experiencing results from the patella not “tracking” correctly as you bend and straighten your knee, causing inflammation underneath it. This is most noticeable when the quadricep muscles are activated (stairs, squatting, running). Tightness and/or weakness in your pelvis, hips, or ankles, which leads to tightness on the outside of your thigh, causing your patella to move out of line, often causes poor tracking.
- Meniscal pain: The meniscus is a small cartilage lip that sits inside the knee joint. When this cartilage becomes irritated or torn, it can cause significant pain. The pain is typically felt deep in the knee and can be felt on either the inside or outside of the knee. Often, a pocket of swelling behind your knee will appear. A torn meniscus can result in the knee becoming “locked.” If you have a meniscal problem, it will be challenging to crouch down or sit with your feet under your bottom. Spending extended periods on your feet or carrying heavy weights can exacerbate the pain. Meniscal pain can result from a traumatic injury (such as twisting while the knee is supporting the body’s weight) or from gradual irritation, as in the case of runner’s knee. Poor mechanics and strength around your pelvis, hip, knee, or foot are usually the cause.
- Ligament injuries: Ligament injuries almost always result from an acute injury. There are four primary ligaments in the knee: the medial and lateral ligaments (MCL and LCL) on the sides of the knee and two cruciate ligaments deep inside the knee (ACL and PCL). The direction and severity of the injury will determine which of these ligaments will be injured. When you injure a knee ligament, you’ll know it. It will be painful, there may be a cracking sound, and often, you’ll have difficulty putting weight on the leg immediately afterward. Often, your knee will swell, and unfortunately, the more it swells, the worse it is. A ruptured ACL usually swells a lot, and very quickly (within the first 1-2 hours). The vast majority of ligament injuries can be resolved with physiotherapy treatment that correctly diagnoses and treats the injury.
Our focus at Wisdom physiotherapy is to see the body as a whole. Knee pain is very often a symptom of long-standing issues in other parts of your lower limbs.
Our assessment will look at how you move, if you are tight where you shouldn’t be, and if you have areas of weakness that are causing you problems. We use a combination of skilled manual therapy (hands-on treatment) and personalised Clinical Pilates programs to correct any faulty movement patterns and to strengthen and lengthen your body to support your joints.
We find this combination provides the best results for people with knee pain.