The Role of Physiotherapy in Treating Knee Pain

Have you ever wondered why pain and stiffness continue to be such a persistent problem in the knee for so many people? Did you know this is actually the most commonly searched type of pain on Google? 

From anecdotal experience to peer-reviewed journal articles, the answer is far from simple. In this post, we dive deep into the root causes of knee pain and explore the ways in which we can work towards more effective results.

Can Knee Pain Be Cured by Physiotherapy?

One of the reasons that knee pain is an issue is that it’s complicated. Knee pain can be caused by everything from a problem in the foot or a problem in the hip that creates stress on the knee or a problem local to the knee itself. for this reason, managing knee pain with over-the-counter medications or a traditional gym routine isn’t often very effective. 

Our physiotherapists are trained to perform an in-depth analysis of the root cause of your knee pain and the current restrictions it is causing in your daily life. Through this comprehensive analysis and treatment plan based on your individual needs and goals the resolution of knee pain is successful more often than not.

How Long Does Physical Therapy Take for Knee Pain?

The duration of a treatment plan for knee pain really varies depending on the history of the patient. For example, if somebody has a history of repeated ankle sprains, knee injuries, knee surgery, hip problems, or back pain then the treatment plan will typically be longer compared to if this was their first issue with knee pain. 

However, most patients feel a difference within the first to third visit and experience an astounding change in their knee pain after completing their treatment plan with our physiotherapists.

Which Physiotherapy Is Best for Knee Pain?

The type of Physiotherapy to help with your knee pain really depends on the cause of your knee pain. Our physiotherapists are trained to perform an in-depth analysis of the cause of your knee pain and address not only the local issues in the knee that are causing the pain but the root cause issues that may stem from somewhere else in the body such as the ankle or hip or back. 

Typically a combination of movement retraining to address the compensations that have developed over time plus manual therapy to mobilize the joints, reduce tension in tissues, and education on the cause of the pain and why the pain is present is the best approach for the resolution of knee pain and getting you back to your meaningful activities. 

Some physiotherapists will combine other modalities such as intramuscular stimulation (IMS), Chinese medicine style acupuncture, or taping to aid in treating your knee pain.

How Can I Do Knee Therapy at Home?

Often times treating at home is difficult because we need an in-depth analysis of the root cause of the pain. However, applying ice during the acute phases of pain and inflammation or heat in the later phases of an injury where muscle stiffness is the main issue can help to alleviate some of the symptoms. In addition to these options, some basic strengthening including lunges squats, and bridges are helpful but should only be performed after reviewing with a physiotherapist.

What Are 3 Exercises To Rehabilitate Your Knee?

Because the three most common contributing factors to knee pain include the ankle and the hip, the three most prescribed exercises should consist of one for each body part. One of the best exercises for the foot is actually to loosen the tight muscles in the foot by rolling a ball along the bottom of your foot to perform a self-massage in this area. Perform this for roughly 30 seconds for two to three reps. 

One of the best exercises for the knee and strengthening the quads is lunges. Lunges can be performed for roughly 8 to 10 reps, 2 to 3 sets as long as they are pain-free. One of the best exercises for the hip and the glute muscles is bridges. These bridging exercises should also be performed for roughly two to three sets for 8 to 10 reps each.

What Is the Fastest Way To Relieve Knee Pain?

The fastest way to relieve knee pain is to apply a cold pack to the swollen or painful area for roughly 10 minutes after you’ve performed an aggravating activity. This is the best remedy for an acute case of knee pain. 

If your knee pain has been persistent and you’ve been experiencing pain for more than 3 months or so, then applying a hot pack to the tight muscles around the knee may be beneficial. Before performing these treatments, you should seek the advice of a medical professional to make sure you’re performing the treatment that’s best for you.

Is Walking Good for Knee Pain?

As long as walking does not worsen your knee pain beyond two to three points on the numeric pain rating scale, then walking should be beneficial for your knee pain. Walking is a good exercise because it is slow and controlled, low impact, and promotes blood flow and strengthening.

What Exercises Should I Avoid for Knee Pain?

The types of exercises to avoid for someone who is experiencing knee pain depend on the type of knee pain they are experiencing and the cause of the knee pain. However, some general movements that you should consider avoiding would be twisting and jumping.

The Knee Joint

The knee joint appears to only include bending and straightening motions. However, it also involves sliding the joint from front to back and rotating the joint. The muscles that act on the knee joint include everything from muscles that attach from the ankle up to the knee such as the gastrocnemius muscles to those that attach from the hip and pelvis to the knee such as the rectus femoris, the sartorius, the adductor magnus, and muscles that are local to the knee itself, such as the popliteus. 

Understanding the complexity of the knee joint motions and the influence of other body parts on the knee through muscular connections and force distribution provides us with some insight into effective rehabilitation of the knee and why knee pain is one of the most complex types of pain to treat.

Common Knee Injuries

Some knee injuries are more common for particular sports and daily activities. For example, jumpers knee is common in individuals who participate in sports that involve a lot of jumping such as volleyball and basketball. A common knee injury for young adults and young teenagers is Osgood Schlatter’s. It is often experienced as individuals go through a growth spurt while simultaneously putting the knee under periods of high use. Osgood Schlatter’s is also most common for individuals who have had previous injuries to the ankle, knee, or hip.

What Can I Expect During Physiotherapy Treatment for Knee Pain?

When treating somebody who is experiencing knee pain, it is important to figure out why the knee pain started and treat the root cause. It is also crucial to rehabilitate the knee to allow the individual to return to their activities of daily living and it also helps that individual achieve functional goals and get back to what is meaningful to them.

Physiotherapy treatment will involve a comprehensive assessment to figure out the root cause of the pain, and how many treatment sessions it will take to reach the patient’s goals. Physiotherapy sessions will include an assessment of contributing factors to the ankle, knee, hip, and any other relevant areas, and then a prescription of exercises for these areas along with manual therapy to help improve mobility and strength while also treating dysfunctional compensatory patterns. Other modalities commonly used for the rehabilitation of knee pain will include soft tissue release, taping, and acupuncture.

Some patients will benefit from the use of a custom knee brace, in particular when they are returning to athletic activities such as various sports or weightlifting. Your physiotherapist may advise you to use a number of different bracing products depending on your medical history, the current phase you’re in on your rehabilitation journey, and your goals.

Final Words

Now that you’ve learned about knee pain, it’s time to take action. Mississauga’s Body Science Therapy specializes in getting to the root cause of treating chronic pain and making meaningful changes in your life, regardless of whether your knee joint pain is from an athletic injury or osteoarthritis. 

We’re here to actively listen to you, create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs, your body, and your medical history, and help you feel better. Book your appointment today and let’s work together towards a healthier, happier you.