Physical Therapy for Knee Injuries
Close to 25% of American adults have experienced knee pain. Athletes such as runners are more likely to experience knee pain. Often, knee pain hinders normal body mobility and functions. You are also likely to experience chronic pain, instability, and reduced range of motion after your knee injury. Thankfully, you can always turn to our certified physical therapist to treat the damage and restore functionality and mobility. Certified physical therapists use their expertise and hands-on care to diagnose and design a personalized treatment plan for you, including recommended movement, patient education, exercises, massage, etc.
Read on to discover the complete physical therapy guide for a knee injury.
Common Knee Injuries
As the largest joint in the body, your knee is susceptible to injuries like sprains, fractures, dislocations, and ligament tears. It consists of ligaments, cartilage, tendons, and bones (tibia and femur). The cartilage is a slippery substance that allows the two bones to grind smoothly across each other when you straighten your leg or bend. Ligaments in your knee enable the bones to connect to other bones, while the tendons enable muscles to attach to the bones.
Let’s discuss common knee injuries.
Common signs of fracture include pain, swelling, tenderness, reduced mobility, and difficulty walking.
Bones of the knee can be forced out of place, causing dislocation. Dislocations usually occur due to abnormalities, sports injuries, falls, and auto accidents.
Tendon tears occur when the tendons are overstretched and torn. These injuries are common among middle-aged athletes. Other causes of tendon tears include direct force and awkward landing.
Meniscal tears are common among athletes who perform sudden movement changes like cutting, pivoting and twisting. These injuries also occur due to aging, awkward twist, and arthritis.
Collateral Ligament Injuries
Collateral ligament injuries usually occur due to traumatic force that forces your knee sideways. These injuries are common in athletes who are involved in contact sports.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
Posterior cruciate ligament injuries usually occur due to traumatic force on the front of your knee when it is bent. These injuries usually occur due to auto accidents and sports injuries.
Why Physical Therapy is the Best Treatment for Knee Injuries?
After a knee injury, you can apply the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol to deal with the pain. You should see a certified physical therapist to restore full function and mobility to your knee. Physical therapy will also strengthen the muscles that support the knee to reduce the risk of injury. The physical therapist will conduct an initial examination to determine the cause and condition of your pain. Expect to answer questions like how the injury occurred and whether you have ever suffered knee pain in the past. The PT will also check your symptoms and determine activities that worsen your injury.
The physical therapist might also ask you to balance, walk, or climb stairs to assess the strength and mobility of your knee. You can also expect the therapist to press around the knee to determine if it is sore. The therapist will design a personalized treatment plan to ease the pain and restore movement.
Standard physical therapy techniques for your knee injury include:
- Pain management
- Range of motion exercises
- Patient education
- Muscle strengthening
- Functional training
- Supportive devices
- Manual therapy