Knee pain can result from disease, overuse, or traumatic injury. About 25% of all people have experienced knee pain that affects their quality of life. Some of the most common knee conditions include meniscus tears, thinning cartilage, bursitis, tendonitis, and arthritis. In runners, the knee is the part of the body that is injured most often. Age-related changes to the knee commonly occur in people over the age of 50. Thousands of steps, squats, and twists to the knee over the course of many years can cause changes to cartilage and other parts of the knee.
If your knee is inflamed or irritated, normal day-to-day movements like walking, steps, and getting in and out of chairs can be problematic. You may have more pain or stiffness in the morning or when you sit for long periods at a time. If you enjoy outdoor activities, you may be limited in your ability to run, walk, hike, bike, or keep up with your children or grandchildren. If you enjoy working out, you may have pain with squats, step-ups, and lunges. If you play sports, knee pain can affect your ability to play tennis, golf, pickleball, and participate in Greenville’s rec leagues.
If you have knee pain, the first common-sense recommendation is to take a short break from the activity that is aggravating your knee. This allows for pain and irritation to subside. If pain persists, receiving hands-on therapy can be effective for faster relief. If one side is especially painful, exercising the opposite leg may alleviate pain on the injured side.
As the pain subsides, you can now address the root and contributing causes of your knee pain. There are 3-keys that should be followed for effective rehabilitation.
Key #1: Activate Muscles
If weakness is found, learning how to activate muscles that are not firing well is important. When it comes to knee pain, the muscles that need attention are the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. Some exercises that are effective during this stage are the hip hurdle and bridging with a foam roller.
Key #2: Restore Movement
Once muscles engage better, the next step is to restore normal movement. The basic function of the knee is to bend and straighten. However, if you have been in pain for more than a few months, you may have limited motion. Banded calf raises, isometric quad activation, kneeling hamstring curls, and pole assisted squats can be effective for maximizing knee mobility.
Key #3 Develop Strength
In order to achieve lasting relief, you need to develop strength. This is best accomplished through patterns of movement. Learning how to squat, hinge, step, and lunge while generating tension through your hip, thigh, and foot muscles are key. If you can learn to do that, these types of movements will enable you to stay healthy and enjoy an active life.
Most of the exercises mentioned above can be found in our video library.
When addressed through a specialized physical therapy program, you can overcome chronic knee pain. However, ignoring pain and engaging in activity that further irritates your knee may result in continued decline of your knee health.
If you want to overcome your knee pain, the physical therapists at Movement Solutions would be glad to help you. We offer a knee health consultation so you can have clarity about your knee pain and confidence that we can help you. If you feel like working together is a good fit, we can discuss the next step. If you’re interested in help but have more questions, call us at (864) 558-7346. You can have all your questions answered before booking an appointment.
We look forward to hearing from you and partnering with you on your journey back to health.