Knee pain and knee injuries are quite common, whether they occur as a result of gradual strain, or from slips and falls or other accidents. Here, our Stittsville physical therapists explain how physiotherapy is able to help to improve the health, strength and mobility of your knees and help get you back to your normal movement and function.
it's generally estimated that over 18 million people each year seek treatment for injured knees, whether they be from degenerative or acute injuries. This makes sense based on how most people live their lives! Our knees are one of the most common used joints in our body, and sustain plenty of strain and impact from activities such as jumping, walking, lifting an object or riding a bike.
When we constantly engage our knees - or any other part of our body for that matter - it is only a matter of time before they become injured, even if only minorly. Thankfully, physiotherapy is equipped to be able to help alleviate pain and restor mobility and strength to your knees through a number of therapeutic treatments. Using physical therapy treatments for your knees, we will work with you to get you back to your everyday routine as quickly as we can.
Some of the most commonly encountered causes for injuries or pain in the knee that our physiotherapists see include:
- meniscus tears
- sprained knee ligaments
Physiotherapy Treatments For Knee Health
When treating the knees of patients, as with any other body part, our physiotherapists will use two broad umbrellas of treatment types to help to alleviate stiffness and pain as well as encourage mobility, support and strength - passive and active physiotherapy.
Passive Physiotherapy for Knee Pain
When treating injured or pained knees, our physiotherapists will often begin treatment after assessment by conducting therapies on the client in a practice called passive physiotherapy (since you don't have to do anything yourself besides received treatment. Some of the passive physical therapies we may use to treat knee issues can include:
- Hot and/or cold packs
- Acupuncture and/or dry needling
- Stabilizations using knee braces or taping
- Manual Therapy (soft tissue & joint mobilizations)
- Electrotherapy modalities - EMS, IFC, TENS (for pain & muscle activation)
These therapies, in conjunction with one another and WITH active physical therapies, will form the baseline of your treatment, supporting your knee if it needs to have it strength developed and encouraging mobility if it has stiffeners or seized up as a result of injury or pain. Physiotherapists' hands and modalities are only a part of a successful treatment plan.
Active Physiotherapy for Knee Pain
Active physiotherapies include treatments that require active participation from the client. Generally, these therapies involve the prescription of exercises and activities that our physiotherapists will guide you through and create a schedule based on while you are at home.
The following are some examples of active physiotherapy treatments that our Nepean 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 treatments and therapies listed above, our physical therapists will be able to help you to address your knee injury or pain and work with you to create a treatment plan that is best suited to your recovery goals, fitness aspirations and routines.