Physical therapy for knee pain involves a thorough evaluation and assessment of your entire lower extremity from your hip to your foot. Your PT can assess your knee pain and prescribe the right treatments — including exercises and modalities — to help decrease your knee pain and improve your overall mobility.
Anatomy of the Knee The human knee is a hinge joint that is comprised of the tibia (shin) and the femur (thigh). The patella, or kneecap, is located in the front of the knee. The knee is supported by four ligaments. Two shock absorbers, each called a meniscus, are found within the knee.
Pain in the knee can be caused by repetitive trauma and strain or injury. Occasionally it occurs for no apparent reason. When knee pain occurs, you may experience functional limitations that include difficulty walking, rising from sitting, or ascending and descending stairs.
What Type of Knee Pain Do You Have? If you experience knee pain, it is important to determine if the pain is acute, sub-acute, or chronic in nature. This can help guide proper diagnosis and treatment.
If knee pain persists for more than 2-3 weeks, you should visit a doctor, physical therapist, or another healthcare provider to rule out any major problem and to ensure proper diagnosis and management.
What to Expect From Physical Therapy for Knee Pain If you are referred to physical therapy for knee pain, the initial visit is important to ensure correct diagnosis and proper management. During this visit, your physical therapist will interview you to gather information about the history of your problem, about the aggravating and relieving factors, and about any past medical history that may contribute the overall problem. From the information gathered during the history, a focused examination will be conducted. The examination may consist of several sections including, but not limited to:
Exercise should be your main tool for treating your knee pain. Exercises to help your knee pain may include:
If knee pain persists for more than two to three weeks or occurs as the result of major trauma, a visit to a physician or healthcare provider is recommended.
The knee is a major joint in the body that is responsible for walking, climbing stairs, and rising from a seated position. Pain in the knee can limit one or all of these activities. By working with your physical therapist and by keeping the knee joint mobile and strong, problems with knee pain may be avoided, and your mobility can be maintained.