Knee injuries and pain are very common in people, whether they have a root cause in physical activity or from acute injuries like falls. Here, our Manotick physiotherapists explain how physiotherapy may be able to help to improve and recover your knee health and help you return to your normal function and movement.
It is generally estimated that over 18 million people each year seek treatment for injuries to their knees, whether that is from degenerative conditions or acute injuries. It makes sense, our knees are one of the joints in our body that undergoes constant use. Each time we take a step, lift up an object, or ride a bike, we are using our knees.
When we constantly engage any part of our body, it's only a matter of time before we suffer an injury to it - even if that injury is only very minor. Thankfully, physiotherapy is equipped ot help alleviate pain and restore both strength and mobility to your knees through a variety of physiotherapy treatments.
With physical therapy for your knees, we will have you back to your everyday routine.
Some of the most commonly encountered causes for injuries or pain in the knee that our physiotherapists see include:
- sprained knee ligaments
- meniscus tears
Physiotherapy Treatments For Knee Health
When treating knees, as with any other body part, our physical therapists use two broad varieties of treatment to help alleviate stiffness and pain and encourage mobility, support and strength: active and passive physiotherapy.
Passive Physiotherapy for Knee Pain
When treating an injured or pained knee, our physiotherapists will often conduct treatments or therapies on a client, which is called passive physiotherapy (since you don't have to do anything yourself other than receive treatment). Some of the passive physiotherapy treatments we may use to treat health issues related to the knee include:
- Hot and/or cold packs
- Manual Therapy (soft tissue & joint mobilizations)
- Stabilizations using knee braces or taping
- Acupuncture and/or dry needling
- Electrotherapy modalities - EMS, IFC, TENS (for pain & muscle activation)
In collaboration with one another and with active physiotherapies, the above therapies will form the baseline of our treatment. This will support your knee if it needs to have it strength supported, developed and encouraged, and heighten your mobility if your knee is stiff or seized as the result of injury or pain.
Physiotherapists' hands and modalities are only a part of a successful treatment plan.
Active Physiotherapy for Knee Pain
Active physiotherapy includes therapies and treatments that involve active participation from the clients (thus, active physiotherapy). Generally speaking, these treatments involve prescribed exercises and activities that our physiotherapists will guide you through and create a schedule for you to use at home.
The following are some examples of active physiotherapy treatments that our Manotick team may prescribe for knee issues in our clients:
- Half Squat - A strengthening exercise for your quadreceps, glutes and hamstrings, mimicking sit-to-stand motions, that may take some of the pressure of a normal squat off of knees that are stiff or in pain. Your physiotherapist may add a modification/alteration to customize this exercise to your needs (glutes co-activation, core co-activation, etc.)
- Heel And Calf Stretch - Stretching out the mucles of your lower leg that may be stiff or siezed as a result of a tramatic leg injury affecting your knee.
- Isometric contractions - Strengthens your desired muscle (quadreceps, hamstrings) in non-weight bearing to preserve the health of your knees and avoid overloading them, while re-organizing the right timing of muscle activation.
- Glute Exercises - the hip often has associated muscle imbalances and contributions to knee pain!
- And more!
You should always wait for a physiotherapist's prescription of specific exercises before engaging injured or pained muscles when experiencing knee pain. Attempting exercises without consulting your physical therapist may result in further injury or pain.
Using the above treatments and others associated with the specifics of your case, our physiotherapists will be able to help address your knee injury or pain and work with you in order to create a treatment plan that is best suited to your recovery goals, your fitness aspirations and your regular routines.