Knee pain and injuries are incredibly common, whether they occur gradually from physical activity such as running, or from acute injuries such as slips and falls, or tweaking a tendon or connective tissue. Here, our Nepean physiotherapists explain how physical therapy is able to help improve your knee health and get you back to your normal movement and function.
It is estimated that upwards of 18 million people each year seek treatment for an injured knee, whether that be from degenerative or acute injuries. It makes sense, our knees are one of the parts of our body we are constantly using. Every time we take a step, lift an object or ride a bike, we are using our knees.
And when we constantly engage a part of our body, it is only a matter of time before we injure it, even if only very slightly. Thankfully, physiotherapy is well equipped to help alleviate pain and restore strength and mobility to your knees through a number of different therapeutic 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:
- meniscus tears
- sprained knee ligaments
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:
- Manual Therapy (soft tissue & joint mobilizations)
- Acupuncture and/or dry needling
- Electrotherapy modalities - EMS, IFC, TENS (for pain & muscle activation)
- Hot and/or cold packs
- Stabilizations using knee braces or taping
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 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 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 all of the above treatments and more, our physiotherapists will be able 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 regualr everyday routines.
Are your experiencing pain and discomfort in your knee from an injury?
Our team of physiotherapists are here to help you recover.
Welcome to the Nepean Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Centre blog, where we provide lots of helpful tips, news, information and advice about physiotherapy and massage treatments, as well as general health and wellness, in Nepean and Ottawa.