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Knee Pain - Physio Can Help

posted Jan 27, 2015, 5:12 PM by Rebecca Smith   [ updated Jan 27, 2015, 5:13 PM ]
The knee joint is one of the most commonly injured sites of the body. The joint itself is made up of three bones;
the thigh bone (femur), knee cap (patella) and shin (tibia). There are also other various structures that directly influence the knee joint including ligaments, menisci, cartilage, tendons and muscles. These structures work together to achieve the knee’s primary roles of walking and absorbing weight.

One of the most common injuries of the knee is patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). It is suggested that around one in four people will experience PFPS during their lifetime and the prognosis, if left untreated, may be long-term. An individual who has PFPS will often present with localized pain on the front of their knee, especially with walking up/down stairs, squatting and prolonged sitting. PFPS has strong links to environmental causes such as ergonomics at the workplace and home, however anatomical variations such as muscle imbalances, weaknesses and tightness are often the primary cause.

Physiotherapists play a huge role in diagnosing, treating and managing PFPS. Physical assessment may reveal increased angle at the hip (Q-angle), tight structures on the outside of the knee (ITB), weak muscles on the inside of the knee (VMO) or perhaps excessively pronated feet. It is also important for physiotherapists to rule out other possible causes of knee pain such as cartilage damage, arthritic changes or possibly ligament sprains. Depending on assessment, short-term physiotherapy treatment may include soft tissue massage, trigger point therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises, icing and therapeutic taping/bracing.

Because of the prevalence of PFPS, there have been a number of recent studies to help determine the best treatment approach. These individual studies support the effectiveness of physiotherapy in treating pain in the short-term, however reoccurrence of the symptoms remains common. A recent review of studies compared the effects of various treatment approaches and looked at which particular treatment provides the best long-term outcome. This review found that a combination of a personalized physiotherapy exercise program, soft-tissue massage and therapeutic taping over a three month period can lead to full pain free function as all participants experienced no pain when reassessed three and twelve months following intervention.

This research shows that with appropriate physiotherapy assessment and a structured intervention program targeted at correcting the biomechanics of the knee, full pain free movement can be achieved.

If you have any questions about knee pain or experience knee pain, feel free to call us and book yourself a physiotherapy session.

Arron

Physiotherapist
Difference Physiotherapy Narellan & Camden