Our knees help us travel and move through the day, going from sitting to standing and walking to running. When you experience knee pain or suffer a knee injury, it can impact your quality of life. Chronic knee pain or a knee injury can affect how you move and keep you from participating in activities you used to enjoy. There are a wide variety of treatment options for knee pain and knee injuries, and you want to find what works best for you. You may want to consider physical therapy instead of surgery for your knee issues. In fact, physical therapy may be more effective than knee surgery in certain situations. Learn more about common causes of knee pain and how knee surgery and physical therapy are effective treatment options.
Common Causes of Knee Pain
People of all ages may experience knee pain in their lifetime. Whether it’s from a trip and fall or damage to internal structures inside the knee joint, knee pain can end up needing attention from a doctor so you can experience lasting relief. Here are three common causes of knee pain:
Wear and Tear
General wear and tear on the body can lead to knee pain. People who spend long hours at a time standing can put too much pressure on the knee joint and end up experiencing chronic pain. Athletes, runners, and cyclists can also experience an increased amount of wear and tear on the knee joint due to a higher rate of usage and strain on these joints. Older adults may also develop degenerative conditions or become more susceptible to injury after a lifetime of general wear and tear on the knees.
Knee injuries can be sudden or occur due to overuse. An acute knee injury like a torn ligament or fracture can occur due to a sudden twist or from a fall or car accident. Overuse injuries that affect the knees can cause inflammation in the joint that can cause tendinitis and pain. Knee injuries may include symptoms such as swelling, redness, weakness, and an inability to straighten the knee or bear any weight.
There are several types of arthritis that can affect the knee joints over time. The most common types of arthritis in the knees are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a type of degenerative disease that develops due to wear and tear and deterioration of the cartilage in the knee. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can lead to intermittent or chronic knee pain.
Choosing Physical Therapy Instead of Surgery
Talk to your doctor about when physical therapy is more appropriate for your knee pain or injury. You may want to choose physical therapy instead of surgery to avoid a serious operation that requires significant recovery time. Physical therapy may offer a more conservative approach to help manage your pain and allow you time to heal from your injury or condition. Physical therapy is often an effective option for managing knee pain or recovering from a knee injury. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy before or after a surgical procedure to help you fully recover and regain your strength and range of motion.
Physical Therapy Treatment for Knee Pain
Physical therapy treatment for knee pain or injury involves providing better stability to the knee joint. Your physical therapist will work with you to practice stretches, exercises, and physical activities that promote strength in the muscles and tendons that help make your knee stable. Stronger muscles and supportive tissues for your hips, knees, legs, and feet help to improve your gait and allow your body to better handle the pressure that gets put on your knee joints every day. Physical therapy can also help you get back to participating in activities you enjoy in a safer way. Stretches and exercises also help to improve your balance and flexibility so your whole body is stronger and better able to support your knee joints. Learn about ways to practice self-care that can help alleviate knee pain, like making time to rest and intentionally take a break when your knees need it. Icing your knees can also help to reduce pain and inflammation in the area, and applying heat can help with sore, stiff muscles.
Our team of physical therapists at AICA Orthopedics in Jonesboro can work with you to experience lasting relief from knee pain. We will talk you through your options for treatment and determine the most effective solutions that work for you.