Physical Therapy For Knee Pain

knee pain

Knee pain can be caused by disease, overuse, or trauma and can affect anyone. You may think that knee pain only affects older adults, but studies have shown that young adults also suffer from knee issues and pain. The good news is that physical therapy can help alleviate this pain.

People use their knees daily to walk, squat, and move, causing changes to the cartilage and putting stress on other parts of the knee. When you suffer from knee pain, it echoes into daily life, making it difficult to walk, stand up from a seated position, go up or down stairs, or exercise.

Physical therapy is regularly advised to help ease pain and restore movement. Physical therapists improve the quality of life for those who suffer from knee pain by providing hands-on care, educating their patients, and creating personalized exercise and movement plans to help prevent further injuries. 

Dealing With Knee Pain

Injury to any of the four main ligaments that support the knee can cause pain. The pain can vary from a dull ache to severe, sharp pain and often occurs suddenly without any apparent reason. However, it can also happen very slowly over time from repeated trauma to the knee. 

There are a few types of knee pain in specific areas of the knee:

  • Anterior knee pain — Pain felt in the kneecap in front of the knee is a condition called patellofemoral pain syndrome. This pain is caused by a shift of the kneecap out of position, usually due to repeated movement and overuse. Pain is felt the most when doing things like squatting, walking uphill, or going upstairs.
  • Lateral knee pain — This is a common overuse injury for runners. It occurs outside the knee when the outer tendon becomes irritated. You will usually feel pain when doing activities like climbing stairs, walking, or running.
  • Medial knee pain — Pain on the inside of the knee is usually caused by overuse or direct injury. Going up or downhill, squatting, or going downstairs are the common activities that cause this pain.
  • Ligament tears — A direct hit to the knee or twisting or pivoting your knee while your foot remains flat can cause a ligament tear. This type of pain usually causes the knee to completely give out when any weight is placed on it. 
  • Osteoarthritis — Pain from this condition can happen anywhere in the knee and occurs when the cartilage has been broken down. It starts out mild but eventually gets worse as time goes on. The pain can limit your knee’s range of motion, making it difficult to straighten your knee, climb stairs, squat, or sit in a chair. With any strenuous activity, the knee often can swell, making walking for extended periods more challenging.

Physical Therapy to Help Knee Pain

It’s essential to address knee pain as soon as possible. Over time, you may overwork and overcompensate other parts of your body, like your lower back, hips, thighs, ankles, and feet.

These other areas will require treatment to help your knee condition, and with the help of physical therapy, you can tackle the pain and find relief. A physical therapist will develop a program for your individual needs. 

Find the Underlying Cause

One of the most important things in physical therapy is to find the underlying cause and contributing factors to your knee pain. Some of the most common causes are injury, overuse, arthritis, and post-surgery recoveries.

A physical therapist will work with you to determine the root of the problem and try to change any factors causing your knee pain. They will take note of the kinds of exercise you do, your athletic activity level, and what type of shoes and foot support you have throughout the day.

With this information, they can assess improvements you can make to your daily activities. They will help find the underlying cause of your knee pain, develop a personalized plan to educate you and get you back to doing your daily activities as much as possible.

Tackle Knee Pain

The more obvious part of physical therapy is assessing and managing pain. Physical therapists are pain management experts and will help by applying ice or helping you understand how to modify certain activities that are causing you pain. They will be able to offer pain-management techniques to help reduce or eliminate the use of medication.

Help Range-of-Motion

A limited range of motion of your ankle, foot, or hip can increase the stress put on your knee. A physical therapist will teach you different stretches to help release tension.

Knee pain often restricts certain movements, decreasing flexibility and range of motion overall. When feeling discomfort, many people choose to rest and cut back on their physical movements, which negatively impacts mobility and decreases range of motion. With the help of a physical therapist, you can slowly start to do your everyday activities again with less pain after you start to work on your range of motion. 

Build Up Strength

Muscle imbalance and weakness can often cause knee pain and lead to other symptoms. You’ll want to build strength by regularly exercising and engaging in physical activity.

Depending on your individual needs, your physical therapist will create a safe program for you to follow that helps strengthen your core and lower body muscles. Your physical therapist will choose these exercises based on your physical condition and age.

Some workouts can be done at home while standing, leaning against a wall, or on a table, bed, or floor. Other workouts can be done with a resistance band or resistance machines at a gym or clinic. Functional strength is the most important part of continuing your daily activities so you can safely return to your everyday movements.

Knee Pain Physical Therapy in Fort Collins 

Knee pain can be a nagging and painful struggle to deal with every day. At UpSlope Physical Therapy & Performance, we want to help you get back to your everyday activities and create a personalized program attuned to your individual needs. We support you while we create treatment plans to reduce pain, promote blood flow, build muscle, and improve knee mobility.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and get back to pain-free living.

As an active individual, staying healthy and injury-free is important to you. You make time for your workouts and training because it helps you focus, spend time with yourself, and work toward your goals.

Brady Hoffmann DPT, ATC

Owner and Founder of UpSlope PT

We Help Athletes and Active Adults Quickly Recover From Pain Or Injury So They Can Stay Active And Get Back To What They Love To Do.