Anyone who has had knee pain understands that it can create multiple issues from difficulty walking, difficulty with navigating public places and issues with other areas within the body.
So what is causing this pain in your knee??
The knee overall is complex. Included in the knee is three main joints with all three of these joints requiring optimal movement for the knee complex to remain pain free. Synergy between all the muscle groups surrounding the knee is also required to decrease load across the knee complex. There are multiple pain generating structures within the knee joint and here we will analyse the most common injuries to knees.
To find the answer to “what is causing my knee pain”- we need a comprehensive history which details the mechanism of injury, your symptoms and any prior injury to the rest of your system as a whole. As with any injury, performing a detailed wholistic assessment of your body will allow us to find why you have knee pain in the first place thus allowing thorough management.
Location of your pain can give your treating therapist a great insight into what may be causing your pain. As you can see in the table below – location location location is important for us to know – the more specific the better.
In some instances, linking your history with your pain location may actually lead us to other causes of your pain such as referred pain from the lumbar spine or hip. Or it may be anyone of the other regions of your body that are creating increased load around your knee.
What can I do about my pain?
Well as always, seeking advice from a physiotherapist is ideal. Once identifying the cause of your pain, our therapists will be able to put on the path to recovery and return to normal activities.
Typically this pain occurs in any weight bearing positions (especially when the knee is flexed). Pain is vague however tends to be anteriorly. Tenderness is located around the patella with swelling commonly associated. In most cases there is obvious wasting of the vastus medialis muscle with lateral tracking of the patella.
Management of patellofemoral pain comes down to management of multiple factors. These include hip/knee/foot alignment, patella position, flexibility and strength.
Pain occurs in activities involving jumping/change of direction. In most cases your pain will be located along the patella tendon with tenderness of the inferior patella. Swelling is not common in this case. Commonly, tendinopathy occurs due to a change in training load or due to poor mechanics.
Management requires rest (if due to training load), anti-inflammatories and a comprehensive assessment of your biomechanics to find the cause of your increased load. A progressive return to activity is managed by your treating therapist to ensure full recovery.
Patella dislocation occurs when the patella is displaced laterally resulting in rupture of the medial patellofemoral ligament. High load trauma may cause this type of an injury, however in some clients patella dislocation happens regularly due to abnormal muscle control around the knee and hip joints.
Anterior Cruciate Liagament
Injury to the ACL occurs during either contact or non-contact sport when the knee is in a flexed position with a lateral force applied or with a hyperextension. This type of injury is common to occur in sports persons with a common manoeuvre. Most people describe a “pop” when the ligament fully ruptures followed by intense pain, swelling and movement restriction.
Management of an ACL injury depends upon the extent of the damage. Full rupture most commonly requires surgery whilst partial rupture can be managed with bracing and appropriate knee rehabilitation.
Injury to a meniscus occurs when the knee is in a flexed position with a rotation force applied. Meniscal injury is associated with swelling, clicking, occasionally locking and restriction of end range extension.
Management is dependent on the severity of the meniscal injury. Higher grade tears require surgery however minor tears can be managed with appropriate rehabilitation.
So why not book an appointment with one of our therapists to discuss what is happening with your knee and start effective management.