What is the Knee Made Up Of?
The knee is made up of four bony attachments that come together to produce movement. It is comprised of the femur (thighbone), which is the largest bone in the body. Also comprised of the tibia and fibula (shin bones). Lastly, the patella (kneecap), articulates with the femur and serves as an attachment area for the quadriceps tendon. Tendons attach to portions of the bone to allow for appropriate movement, while ligaments provide stability to the knee. Also, the knee joints only contain cartilage bursa and fat pads to distribute forces around the knee and act as a cushion for the knee joint.
What Causes Knee Pain
The knee joint is very prone to injuries. Common injuries include meniscal injuries, anterior cruciate ligament injuries, ligament sprains, muscle strains and tendonitis.
Symptoms are going to depend on the type of tissues involved within the knee. Symptoms with common knee conditions, however, may include weakness, pain, tenderness to the area, knee instability, or complaints of the knee “buckling.”
What Can You Do?
Common misconceptions with knee injuries or pain are that surgery will always be the cure. Whether you’ve had previous surgery or are looking for a non-invasive alternative, physical therapy can reduce pain and inflammation and improve function. Here at Farmingdale Physical Therapy West, as part of your evaluation process, our physical therapists will administer a series of tests that will make sure your pain is not originating from the hip. If you are experiencing weakness at the knee, our physical therapists will prescribe proper exercises that will both strengthen the knee and reduce pain. They may also assess the muscles of the knee to determine if there are any restrictions which can be treated with appropriate stretching and soft tissue mobilization. They will provide modalities such as hot or ice packs, laser, or shockwave therapy.
If you are experiencing any type of knee pain, give us a call! Our experienced staff can help relieve your pain, positioning you for a more comfortable and pain-free lifestyle. Contact our office at (516) 731-3583 to set up a free consultation with one of our many amazing therapists!
5 Common Injuries Leading to Knee Pain
Physical therapy is one of the most important treatments for knee pain. Whether you are experiencing a sports injury, overuse injury, or general wear and tear, there are many benefits of physical therapy. The initial visit to a physical therapist for pain in the knee will consist of a thorough evaluation. Based on these findings, your physical therapist will create a personalized treatment plan.
1. Meniscus Injury
The meniscus is a ring of cartilage in the knee that provides cushioning and stability of the knee joint while guiding movement. It is connected on the outer edges to the thick ligaments around the knee. The inside part of knee (medial meniscus) bears more weight and often sustains more damage than the outside part (lateral meniscus).
The meniscus is supposed to be smooth to ensure good gliding of the knee when it is bending. With injuries, poor alignment or weak musculature, the meniscus can become bruised and even torn. The outside edges of the meniscus have more blood flow than the inner portions. This means, depending on the area were the damage is located the healing process can be slow.
Many times, meniscus injuries are mild to moderate and can be rehabilitated with physical therapy. However, at times surgical intervention may be necessary to clean and shave down the torn areas of the meniscus. Physical therapy is very important to ensure a full recovery after this surgical procedure.
2. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an important ligament that provides stability in the knee and checks the forward sliding of the tibia bone on the femur bone in the knee. This ligament can be injured with sports or falls, especially with cutting or deceleration while the foot is planted on the ground or from a direct blow to the knee.
When an ACL injury involves a sprain, there is typically swelling that occurs in the knee and a feeling of instability with walking. Sprains are classified according to their severity, with grades 1 through 3. Grades 1 and 2 are often treatable without surgery, while grade 3 is most often a complete tear and typically requires surgery. Physical therapy is vital to rehabilitation after this surgery.
3. Patellofemoral Syndrome
Patellofemoral syndrome is often caused by a slip or fall onto the knees. There’s pain, swelling and an imbalance of the knee muscle in its groove. Strengthening exercises and stretching can help the muscles correct themselves. In addition to strengthening exercises, a physical therapist may use bracing techniques or knee taping for this type injury.
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can also cause knee pain. With the breakdown of cartilage due to osteoarthritis in the knee, the bones begin to rub against each other and cause pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the joints. It affects the membrane that lines the knee joint. The end result is inflammation, joint damage and joint pain in the knee.
The medial cruciate ligament (MCL) is an important ligament that checks the side to side sliding of the femur bone on the tibia bone in the knee. This ligament can be injured with sports or falls, especially with blows to the outside of the knee while the foot is planted on the ground. It is common for the MCL to be injured along with the medial meniscus.
The lateral cruciate ligament (LCL) is an important ligament that checks the side to side sliding of the femur bone on the tibia bone in the knee. This ligament can be injured with sports or falls, especially with blows to the inside of the knee while the foot is planted on the ground.
With a sprain, the ligament is overstretched and micro-tearing results, causing pain and inflammation. There is little blood flow to the ligaments and they get most of their nutrition from the joint fluid. This means, that their healing is a lot slower than most other tissues. Depending on the severity of the sprain and on joint stability, the potential for future injury can increase.