Knee pain can be caused by disease or injury. Knee pain can restrict movement, affect muscle control in the sore leg, and reduce the strength and endurance of the muscles that support the knee. The most common disease affecting the knee is “osteoarthritis”, which is caused by the cartilage in the knee gradually wearing away, resulting in pain and swelling.
Knee injuries can occur as the result of a direct blow or sudden movement that strains the knee beyond its normal range of motion, as can happen in sports, recreational activities, a fall, or a motor vehicle accident. Knee pain caused by an injury often is associated with tears in the knee cartilage or ligaments. Knee pain also can be the result of repeated stress (overuse), as often occurs with the kneecap and patellar tendon, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome. Very rarely, with extreme trauma, a bone may break at the knee as in the case of a patellar (knee cap) fracture.
During your evaluation at Recovery Physical Therapy, the physical therapist will perform tests to find out whether you have:
- Pain or discomfort with bending or straightening your knee
- Tenderness at the knee joint
- Limited motion in your knee
- Weakness in the muscles around your knee
- Difficulty putting weight on your knee when standing or walking
The physical therapist also is concerned about how well you are able to use your injured knee in daily life. To assess this, the therapist may use special tests such as a single-limb hop test, a 6-minute walk test, or a timed up and go test.
Based on the medical history, evaluation and assessment, your physical therapist will develop a customized rehabilitation program, (plan of care) including a specific set of ROM, strengthening, flexibility and functional exercises for you.
If you have a more “chronic knee condition”, like osteoarthritis, your physical therapist can help with a plan of care that targets exercises that will strengthen your knee without increasing the risk of injury or further damage. As a general rule, you would be directed toward “low- impact exercises” such as swimming, aquatic exercise, or walking rather than jarring exercises such as jogging or high-impact aerobics.
Photos of Knee Injury Treatment at Recovery PT (click to enlarge)
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