As a Physical Therapist in Little Rock, Arkansas, I find that patients who have knee pain are highly motivated to look for relief. Since the knee is a load-bearing joint, even simple things like getting up out of a chair, climbing stairs, or even walking can be painful and limited.
In this guide, I will touch on some of the things that can cause knee pain, highlight the effectiveness of a conservative approach to getting knee pain relief, and make suggestions for ways to help you relieve your own knee pain.
Let’s get started!
Knee Pain Causes
Knee pain can result from disease, overuse injury, or trauma. Among American adults, approximately 25% have experienced knee pain that affects the function of their knee. Knee pain and conditions related to the knee are common.
In runners, the knee is the part of the body that is injured most often. Changes to the knee related to aging (osteoarthritis) commonly occur in people over the age of 50. Thousands of steps, squats, and twists to the knee over a long life can cause changes to cartilage and other parts of the knee.
What is the Knee Comprised Of?
The knee joint is a hinge that connects the shin bone (tibia) and the thigh bone (femur) at the knee cap (patella). Two rings of cartilage (the medial and lateral meniscus), attached to the shin bone (tibia), also act as shock absorbers for the knee. When this protective cartilage gradually wears away over time, osteoarthritis develops—causing pain and swelling in the knee. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of knee pain.
How is Knee Pain Discovered?
I want to highlight how a physical therapist finds impairments in your body that can help give you relief of your knee pain.
Impairments associated with knee pain may include:
- Stiffness in your knee
- Poor balance
- Weakness in the musculature around the knee
- Limitation in the joints above and below the knee
- Need for modifications to your activity
- Use of hands-on manual therapy to reduce pain and improve function
And Even lifestyle changes that will reduce the stress to your knee, such as bracing, an anti-inflammatory diet, or losing weight. Research has shown that individuals with knee OA who walked more steps per day were less likely to develop functional problems in the future.
As noted above, building strength around the knee and hip area has been shown to help individuals with knee OA have less pain and improved overall quality of life.
How Can I Improve My Knee Pain?
Logically, you may be asking yourself, “What suggestions might Dr. Murphy specifically have for me?”
I am a movement specialist and the amazing thing about my job is that I get to watch people move and try to get to the root cause of why people have knee pain. Everyone moves differently!
Prior injury history, current level of activity, thoughts about movement, and motivation for moving period are all factors that I have to take into account when I am examining a patient who is looking for relief of their knee pain. I also find that I keep my patients accountable to making lifestyle changes that may be hard for them to make.
Starting an exercise routine, losing weight, and committing to a plan of care that involves coming into my clinic over multiple weeks, all take a certain level of understanding and commitment. I will say this: if you are looking for a quick fix, physical therapy is not going to be for you. Most patients I speak with don’t want to take medications, have injections, or sign up for surgery to get relief of their knee pain. Those options are invasive and may have serious repercussions on your quality of life. Physical therapy is a very conservative approach that is based on science and allows the vast majority of patients to get the pain relief they are looking for.
Learn More About Knee Pain Physical Therapy in Little Rock
If you are interested in learning more about what I do specifically to help my patients here at Pinnacle Physical Therapy, you can call us at 501-529-2010. Denise, my patient care coordinator, would love to ask you some questions to find out more about what is going on and if you are a good fit for what we do here at Pinnacle PT. We offer a 30 minute Discovery Visit where you can come in with me, Dr. Murphy, and see if you are ready to get the relief you are looking for.
We look forward to hearing from you so we can get you back to your active lifestyle without knee pain! Here’s to helping you reach your pinnacle.
Dr. Brian Murphy
P.S. You can also request the eBook I created titled, Five Easy Ways to Live with Less Knee Pain. Just simply shoot an email to [email protected] and we will get that eBook to you immediately!