5 Common Causes of Knee Pain

Knee arthritis, knee tendonitis, knee bursitis, menicus tears, patellofemoral syndrome, and IT Band syndrome are some of the most common knee conditions that we see at Movement Solutions.  Almost everyone will experience knee pain at some point in their lives. This pain can vary from mild to severe. It can be short-lived or long-lasting. However it happens, knee pain can make many everyday activities difficult to perform.

There are common risk factors that can contribute to having knee problems.  We have found five common limitations that can contribute to knee pain and problems in our office.  They include:

  1. Stiffness of the ankle joint
  2. Stiffness of the hip muscles
  3. Weakness of the quads
  4. Weakness of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings)
  5. Weakness of hip abductors and rotators

Having prerequisite mobility at the calf and ankle are crucial for normal movement.  When a loss of mobility is found in these areas, one’s knee may cave inwardly when they walk.  It can be even more evident when they perform squatting, stepping, lunging, and jumping movements.

Exercising with these imbalances can cause wear and tear on sensitive structures of the knee including the patella (knee cap), quad and patellar tendons, and the meniscus.

In our physical therapy office, we first step we often take in reducing pain and restoring mobility is performing hands-on manual therapy.  This might include dry needling, soft-tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, or manipulation.

However, passive treatments alone won’t provide any lasting gains in mobility.  The reason for this is because stiffness and tension are usually driven my weakness of the stiff muscle as well as the muscle groups above and below that region.  More over, the body needs to learn to actively use the motion in order for the gains to hold.  In order to develop lasting mobility, inactive muscle groups must be activated and strengthened.  We have specific exercises that we we intentionally use to target these weak regions.

Once we have reinforced mobility, the next step is to work on stability.  Knee stability begins with developing end-range strength of the quads, hamstrings, and calves.  The muscles around the knee are often weakest at their end range of motion.  Targeting end-range activation can make bending and straightening of the knee feel much more comfortable.

Finally, we know that if our patients have good mobility and stability in static positions but still have knee pain when moving or exercising, our rehab program isn’t very effective.  We teach our patients to move well with and without resistance in ways that simulate their activites or sports.

A thorough physical therapy assessment and plan of care should address these five common causes of knee pain.  However, ignoring pain and continuing to exercise with poor mechanics can develop into a more serious knee condition.  If you have knee pain when walking, squatting, running, hiking, or cycling, the physical therapists at Movement Solutions would be glad to be a resource for you.

We have a free guide on relieving knee pain that can give you further insight into knee problems and help kick start your recovery.  We are available for a free 15-minute phone consultation to talk about how your pain is affecting you and discuss your treatment options.

If your concerns warrant an in-person consultation, we offer a limited number of free Discovery Visit’s at our office.  This type of appointment of for those who are interested in getting knee pain behind them.  It is an opportunity to ask questions, obtain clarity about your condition, and foster confidence that we can help you.

If you’re certain that we’re a good fit and ready to book an appointment, you can inquire about cost and availability.

If you’re in pain and unsure about what your next steps should be, call us at (864) 558-7346 and ask how we can help.

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