Knee pain is one of the most common problems affecting millions of people of all ages and genders worldwide daily. This condition may start suddenly as an effect of injuries or strenuous activities. The severity of knee pain varies. While it may begin as mild discomfort, it can worsen slowly to become chronic pain.
There are several causes of knee pain. The reasons you may be experiencing knee pain include regular wear and tear, overuse, medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, etc. Knee pain makes you uncomfortable and can impose several limitations on your movement and the smooth running of your daily activities. While there are various ways to treat and manage knee pain in Merrick, physical therapy is one of the fastest ways to relieve knee pain. This article will explore several treatment methods for knee pain relief at Summit Physical Therapy.
Causes of Knee Pain
Some of the common causes of knee pain include:
- Overuse: Athletes and people with physically challenging jobs may experience knee pain because of repetitive activities and excessive stress on the knee joints.
- Injuries: Damage to the knee can occur because of excessive use or direct trauma to the knees. Injuries to the knee can range from strains and sprains to more severe issues like a meniscus tear or ligament tears (ACL, MCL).
- Arthritis: Medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, septic arthritis, and pseudogout can inflame the knee and lead to chronic knee pain.
- Age-related wear and tear: The cartilage in our knees deteriorates as we grow older. This deterioration can lead to stiffness and pain in the knee.
- Mechanical problems: Structural abnormalities and poor biomechanics lead to pain and improper knee function. Examples of mechanical conditions that lead to knee pain include loose body, dislocated kneecap, iliotibial band syndrome, etc.
Factors that put you at risk of knee pain include excess weight, previous knee injury, age, lack of strength or muscle flexibility, knee-straining sports or occupations, etc.
Treatment Methods for Knee Pain
There are several treatment methods for knee pain. However, the mode of administration of each treatment method differs from the other. Also, some treatment methods may be more effective than others. One of the fastest ways to relieve knee pain is physical therapy.
Physical therapy aims to improve and restore physical function, range of motion, mobility, and strength in patients. Physical therapy in Merrick combines manual techniques, exercises, and education to help individuals recover from physical injuries, manage chronic conditions, and prevent future impairments.
How Does Physical Therapy Relieve Knee Pain?
Physical therapy is a holistic and non-invasive method used to manage knee pain. This approach relieves knee pain using the following process:
Physical therapists in Merrick, NY, examine the affected knee thoroughly before attempting to address the cause of pain. They assess the knee function, range of motion, mobility, and strength of the patient to identify the root cause of their knee pain.
Individualized Treatment Plans
Treatment begins after a comprehensive assessment determines if the knee pain results from an injury, overuse, or medical condition. Physical therapists develop a personalized treatment plan that suits the patient’s immediate needs. Methods included in a treatment plan include:
- Exercise programs: Physical therapists design programs that strengthen weak knee muscles, improve flexibility, increase joint stability, and contribute to pain relief. Types of exercises included in physical therapy exercise programs include:
- Strengthening Exercises: These exercises aim to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint to support and stabilize the knee. Strengthening exercises reduce pain and improve knee function. Strengthening exercises examples include calf raises, half squats, hamstring curls, leg extensions, side leg raises, etc.
- Range of motion exercises: These exercises may be a part of your exercise program to improve your knee’s range of motion and flexibility. Range of motion exercises make it easier to perform your daily activities with less pain. Examples include knee extension with bolster, hamstring stretch, heel slides, prone hangs, wall slides, etc.
- Stretching exercises: These exercises help to loosen tight muscles in the knee and improve flexibility. They also reduce knee pain and improve its function. Examples of stretching exercises include standing calf stretch, supine hamstring stretch, half squats, hip abduction, etc.
Other low-impact exercises that can help with knee pain include water aerobics, biking, walking, yoga, etc.
- Manual therapy: Hands-on techniques such as joint mobilization and massage therapy may feature in individualized treatment plans for knee pain. A massage’s soft tissue manipulation techniques can alleviate knee pain and improve joint mobility.
- Other modalities: A physical therapist may employ other therapeutic modalities and pain reduction techniques such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, ice and heat therapy, laser therapy, etc. Some modalities target weak muscles to improve flexibility and enhance joint stability. Others reduce pain and promote tissue healing.
Patient Education and Lifestyle Guidance
Education is an essential component of physical therapy. It helps patients learn the causes and risk factors of their conditions. It also teaches them how to manage them effectively to prevent reoccurrence. Physical therapists teach proper body mechanics, ergonomics, and strategies to prevent future knee injuries.
Other treatment methods for knee pain include over-the-counter pain relievers, RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), surgery, etc.
Benefits of Physical Therapy for Knee Pain Relief
- Speedy recovery
- Long-term pain management
- Avoidance of the risks and complications that come with surgery
- Improved quality of life.
While the best treatment for knee pain depends on its cause and severity, physical therapy is one of the fastest, most effective, and non-invasive treatment methods. It addresses the root cause of knee pain and improves flexibility and range of motion. If you have knee pain, you should see physical therapists at Summit Physical Therapy.