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Your first step to recovery

KNEE PAIN

Knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints that affects peoples of all ages.
Knee pain can result from injuries of traumatic nature or due to complications from medical conditions.

Depending on the structures involved, pain can be localized to a specific area or be felt all
around the knee.

 

ANATOMY OF KNEE

The knee joint is a hinge joint. Other than bearing the weight of the body, it’s primary function is to bend, straighten and rotate to a small degree. To achieve this function, the knee joint relies on a number of structures.

 

Image result for knee anatomyImage result for knee anatomy

 

Bones

Knee joint consists of four bones to provide structure and weight-bearing ability.

  •  Lower end of thigh bone (femur)
  •  Upper part of shin bone (tibia)
  • Knee cap (patella)
  • Fibula (not involved in weight-bearing, but provides attachments for ligaments and tendons)

 

Ligaments

Four important ligaments connect the two big bones, providing multi-directional stability.

  • Cruciate ligaments

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)

Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)

  • Collateral ligaments

Medial collateral ligament (MCL)

Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

 

Cartilage

  • Glossy cartilage lines the end of each bone to protect and allow smooth movements against each other with almost no friction.
  • Meniscus is another type of strong cartilage that lines the upper surface of the tibia bone to cushion and stabilize the knee.

 

Tendons

There are two important tendons located on the front of the knee joint.

  • Quadriceps tendon is a strong durable tissue that extends from the quadriceps muscle and connects it to the knee cap.
  • Patella tendon connects the knee cap to the tibia bone.

 

Bursa

Bursa are fluid filled sacs that are found in areas that require the most protection. They occur where ligaments, muscles, skins, tendons or bones rub together.

 

Muscles

Many muscles cross the knee joint, some of which cross from the hip or ankle joints. Due to this, some people may experience knee pain as a result of muscle imbalances such as weakness, poor flexibility and or dynamic control.

 

CAUSE OF PAIN

Some of the common causes of knee pain include:

  • Ligamentous sprain
  • Meniscus injuries (bulge or tears)
  • Fracture or dislocation
  • Tendinitis, Sprains
  • Bursitis
  • Calcification
  • Baker’s cyst
  • Arthritis (osteoarthritis)
  • Overuse syndromes (patella-femoral syndrome, chondromalacia)
  • Autoimmune conditions (Infection, Gout, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)

 

WHEN TO SEEK HELP

Consult your doctor or physiotherapist if your symptoms have not subsided after one-week of consistent self-management (RICE, pain medications or alternative pain-relieving modalities), or if your knee pain is stopping you from managing your hobbies or day to day activities.

 

Immediate medical attention: 

Knee pain from with the following signs and symptoms may require immediate attention:

  • Severe pain
  • Pain that does not resolve with rest
  • Sudden swelling or bruising
  • Clicking or locking of the knee
  • Inability to bend or straighten the knee
  • Inability to weight bear

 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Stiffness
  • Clicking, locking
  • Redness

 

DIAGNOSIS:

Treatment of your knee pain will depend on its underlying cause. So, it is all about the diagnosis.

A focused subjective and physical examination of your knee will be performed by your physiotherapist.

 

Subjective

Your physiotherapist will ask a range of questions

  • Location of pain – front or behind the knee
  • Description of pain – dull ache or sharp
  • The behavior of pain – constant or intermittent
  • Aggravating and easing factors
  • General health
  • Goals of treatment

 

Physical assessment

Your physiotherapist will inspect your knee joint to diagnose the source and the potential underlying cause(s) of pain.

You may be referred to have radiological Imaging to make or confirm the diagnosis.

 

Radiology

Image result for xray knee

 

TREATMENT

In most cases, individuals suffering from knee pain respond well to conservative modes of treatment (pain relief, physiotherapy, acupuncture, etc). Surgical intervention may be required where conservative management has failed to optimize function and reduce pain.

 

CONSERVATIVE MANAGEMENT

A self-management remedy to control inflammation (pain and swelling) in acute or chronic knee pain is using the ‘RICE’ principle (rest, ice, compress, elevate)

  • Rest – refrain from activities that impose repetitive strain or aggravation of knee pain
  • Ice – use an ice pack for 10-15 minutes, 2 to 3 times per day (with care)
  • Compress – use a compression bandage to reduce swelling (not to be worn when sleeping)
  • Elevate – using pillows elevate injured leg. This works best when the leg is higher than the level of heart, to use gravity to help facilitate the circulation of fluid.

 

Pain medications

Over the counter pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, celecoxib) play an important role in reducing inflammation and pain.

(Note: If you have problems with bleeding, stomach ulcers or other liver, kidney conditions, anti-inflammatory medications MUST NOT be consumed without consulting your doctor. 

Visit your general practitioner for more information on what medications are right for you.

 

Physiotherapy

After establishing your diagnostic findings, your physiotherapist will devise a tailored recovery programme to help you manage your pain, improve strength and flexibility.

Your physiotherapist will work with you to advance your understanding of your symptoms and provide a range of exercises, stretches and self-managing strategies that will help you be in control of your recovery.

As required, your therapist may liaise with your doctor or other health professionals (acupuncturist, podiatrist, knee specialists) to facilitate your progress.

 

Acupuncture/Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure are two different options available for individuals suffering from pain and swelling. While both aim to help control inflammation and fasten healing and recovery, acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the body, whereas acupressure relies on hand pressure and some forms of massage.

 

Steroid Injection

In some instances, knee injections are recommended by your physiotherapist or doctor to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

 

SURGERY

Surgical intervention may be required where conservative management has failed to optimize function and reduce pain. In this case your physiotherapist will refer you to a surgeon for the opinion of care.

 

EXERCISES FOR KNEE PAIN

The thought of exercise when you have knee pain can be daunting. However, your trusted physiotherapist will work with you to provide specific ‘pain-free’ exercises to get you started on effective strengthening.

Image result for knee exercise cycling

Alternatively, low-impact activities such as cycling or elliptical machines are great. Notice what feels right for you. Swimming, jogging in water, or water aerobics may be appropriate if skin integrity is maintained.

Note: muscle soreness after a hard workout is normal. 

If you experience sharp, shooting, or sudden knee pain you must consult your physiotherapist or doctor.

5 COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PHYSIOTHERAPISTS – PART 2

Myth 1: When you see a physiotherapist you just lie on the bed and get given an ice or heat pack.

At Physio Fusion we use an active approach to treatments. Physiotherapy will include manual hands-on therapy to facilitate tissue healing and tissue load tolerance alongside an exercise program individualized to your needs.

Myth 2: If I have elbow pain then the injury must be in my elbow.

The area of pain is not always the area that is the issue! It may be a result of a previous injury that was never fully rehabilitated. This is where we can help you out. Our assessment will consist of gathering information on your presenting complaint, any previous injuries or traumas (physical and emotional) and a medical history followed by an objective evaluation of your body. This allows us to get to the root cause of the pain and manage your symptoms most effectively.

Myth 3: I can’t do any of my normal activities while I attend physiotherapy.

Not true! Our Physiotherapists want to keep you as functional as possible whilst allowing your injury to heal. During the initial assessment your physiotherapist will determine what activities you can do and advise you on those that must be avoided. You will then be given clear and timely objectives to ensure you reach your goals to get you back doing what you love!

Myth 4: A scan will show me exactly what is wrong.

Sometimes it will, but sometimes it won’t. It’s no secret that our bodies change as we age, so even people without pain are likely to have an imperfect scan. Medical imaging can sometimes play an important role in the assessment and management of your musculoskeletal issue. When necessary, your physiotherapist will know what type of imaging to refer you for.

Myth 5: Is cracking my back/neck/knuckles bad for me?

There is no strong evidence to suggest that ‘cracking’ your joints causes degeneration, laxity or instability. The ‘cracking’ occurs when we move a joint to its end range. The audible sound happens because of ‘cavitation’ in the joint; this involves gas bubbles popping within the fluid surrounding the joint as pressures change.

But is it good to crack?

Self manipulation can be a helpful way to reduce the feeling of stiffness or tightness. If you are finding that you need to ‘crack your joints’ often it is good to know that there are many other more beneficial ways to provide greater long term relief.

Top tips:

  1. Ask your physiotherapist to provide you with some specific exercises to help you overcome the feeling of stiffness or tightness.
  2. Move regularly and avoid movements or positions that exacerbate your symptoms until you have been seen by your physiotherapist.

5 COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PHYSIOTHERAPISTS- PART 1

Myth 1: ‘’Physiotherapy is just massage’’

This is a common phrase people use to describe a physiotherapists role. It is true that as a profession we like to work ‘hands on’. This is because our profession is directly affiliated with the anatomy of our clients and by using touch we can more accurately assess, locate and treat any dysfunctional motions within your body. Our physiotherapists like to use massage as it is a great way reduce pain and improve bodily function but their skill set is much more extensive than this.

Did you know?

There are well over 20 different treatment approaches commonly used by physiotherapists.  These may include, but are not limited to:

  • Exercise prescription.
  • Joint mobilization.
  • Joint manipulation.
  • Instrument mobilization.
  • Muscle energy techniques (improves muscle and joint function).
  • Neurodynamics (mobilization of the nervous system).
  • Taping.
  • Dry needling.
  • Acupuncture.

Myth 2: Always sit up straight! Slouching is bad.

In fact, forcing yourself to adhere to the traditional ‘good posture’ (back straight and shoulders back) may be putting unnecessary tension on your body. That isn’t to say being upright is bad either, but in life we must always find a balance. To reduce stress on your body whilst seated, ensure your back is supported and your feet firmly on the ground. To prevent and reduce the likelihood of back pain we must look to vary our posture frequently throughout the day and ensure we take short breaks to stretch, stand and walk.


Myth 3: Physiotherapy sessions are painful

Physiotherapists aim to help you reduce pain and get you back to doing what you love! Whether your injury is acute or chronic our physios always ensure they work within your pain threshold to help you regain lost movement and function.

Myth 4: I need a referral to see a Physiotherapist’

We have got you covered!

Remember, physios are registered health care professionals. Physio Fusion is a registered ACC provider. This means that if you have had a recent injury (within one year), you can see us directly and we can help you lodge an injury claim directly with ACC. You do not need a referral for your doctor.


Myth 5: Lower back pain …. surgery is my only option

Around 70-90% of the total world population will experience lower back pain during the course of a life time. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can either last for short or long periods or remain constant. Back pain can be very debilitating and when the pain does not resolve as soon as anticipated many fear that surgery may be the only option. In few cases surgery may be necessary, but for the majority there’s often nothing to fear, and with time and a gradual loading or exercise program, you can make a full recovery.

Did you know ?

Back pain is not always a sign of injury or damage. Each individuals back pain story will be different, and for many non-physical factors play a huge part in their story. These factors can be:

Psychological –

  • Stress.
  • Fear of movement.
  • Depression.

Health related –

  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Physical inactivity.
  • Smoking (nicotine decreases blood flow to your back).
  • Overweight.

Physio Fusions top recommendations for keeping back pain away:

  • Keep active – regular exercise nourishes joints, strengthens muscles, increases blood flow and improves your mood.
  • Sleep well.
  • Maintain a healthy weight by ensuring you maintain proper nutrition and diet.
  • Sit in a chair with good lower back support.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Ensure that when you lift or pick up objects you do so in a safe manner. This is something one of our physiotherapists can guide you with.

See a doctor urgently if you have the following symptoms:

  • Numbness in the groin or buttocks.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Redness or swelling on your back.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Constant pain, especially at night.
  • Pain that is getting much worse, or spreading up your spine.
  • Numbness or pins and needles in both legs.
  • Feeling unwell with your back pain, such as a fever or significant sweating that wakes you from sleep.

INVEST IN YOUR HEALTH NOW OR PAY FOR YOUR HEALTH LATER!

It is scientifically proven that physical exercise is one of the greatest rehabilitation methods. Numerous studies consistently prove the indisputable benefits of exercise therapy.

Did you know? 

People who are physically active for approximately seven hours a week are 40% less likely of dying early than people who are only active for less than 30 minutes a week.

So what are the health benefits of exercise?

  • Helps you control your weight.
  • Can help you develop positive and healthy social relationships  (making friends, engaging with other children, self-expression).
  • Improves coordination and balance.
  • Improves posture.
  • Strengthens your bones and muscles, slowing down degenerative processes such as osteoarthritis.
  • Reduces your risk of falls.
  • Reduces your risk of some cancers, including breast, lung and colon.
  • Improves your mental health and mood.
  • Improves your sleep.

Any many many more!!

So what is stopping you?

Time – Time waits for no one. But there is plenty of it in the week to make a difference. Don’t fear moving slowly forward, fear standing still.

Knowledge – Starting is always the hardest part! Here at Physio Fusion we are always willing to help guide and advise you on all aspects of your physical health. We are very fortunate to have good connections with other healthcare providers who can also help to assist you!

Confidence – You have our vote! At physio fusion we embrace the lifestyle we promote. We are here to facilitate your needs and to guide and advise you on all aspects of your health.

Cost – Your health is your wealth. At Physio Fusion we provide the highest quality treatment and advice at very affordable prices.We have special rates for clients with a Gold Card (no co-payment) or Community Services Card ($10.00).

Distance – For those of you unable to travel to our clinics, or who are isolating currently due to COVID-19 we have you covered! We offer telehealth (online video) consultations, supported with a rehab exercise programme tailored to your needs via the online database Physitrack.

Secure your appointment today by booking online or phone us on:

09 626 6186 (New Windsor)
020 417 32135 (Henderson)