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Knee Pain

Dr. Matt Brown
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What is knee pain?

An extremely common affliction, knee pain occurs in patients of all ages. The knee is made up of ligaments, tendons, fluid-filled sacs called bursae, and bones, and damage to any one of these elements can cause pain and reduced function in the knee.

Damage to the knee can be caused by injury, overuse, mechanical problems, or existing conditions such as arthritis. Common problems that can result in knee pain include ACL injuries, fractures, knee bursitis, osteoarthritis, or a dislocated kneecap. Not all knee pain is serious enough to require medical attention; however, all knee pain has the potential to become serious if the root problem remains unaddressed.Source: WebMD

The symptoms of knee pain

Depending on the root cause, the signs and symptoms of knee pain can vary. Patients with more severe knee injuries may find that they can’t bear any weight on the knee, experience swelling and obvious deformity, or have difficulty fully extending the leg. If any of these symptoms occur, medical attention is almost certainly necessary.

Not all sources of knee pain require immediate medical attention — mild swelling, stiffness, weakness, popping sensations, redness, or minor instability could be the result of a condition that can be treated with physical therapy alone.

The most common symptoms of knee pain include:

  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Popping sensations
  • Redness

Source: Mayo Clinic

What causes knee pain?

Knee pain can be caused by injury, mechanical problems, or existing conditions like arthritis. Events like a fall, impact or sudden change in direction can tear the ACL or meniscus, break a bone, or induce bursitis and/or tendonitis. Mechanical problems in the knee can include a dislocated kneecap, or iliotibial band syndrome, which is common among runners.

Advanced age, repetitive stress on the knee, or a previous knee injury can put patients at greater risk of incurring a knee injury. Obesity is also a major risk factor; for every pound that a patient is overweight, the knee must absorb an extra four pounds of pressure with each step. Certain athletic activities such as running can increase risk of knee injury, as well.

The most common causes of knee pain include:

  • Athletic activity
  • Injury
  • Obesity
  • Advanced age
  • Arthritis

Source: Health Line

Physical therapy for knee pain

Physical therapy can help reduce pain and improve the knee’s range of motion — particularly in patients suffering from chronic or severe knee pain. A physical therapy regimen for knee pain must begin by locating and identifying the cause of the pain. Patients can experience pain in the front, back, inside, or outside of the knee, and treatment differs depending on the location of this pain.

In order to develop an appropriate treatment program, a physical therapist will perform a gait evaluation, range of motion measurements, strength measurements, and a balance assessment. After the examination is complete, a therapist will lead the patient through stretching, strengthening, and balancing exercises for the knee.

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