The knee is a complex joint and the largest in the human body; being made up of two joints, ligaments, bones and muscles. The upper and lower bones of the knee are separated by two discs, often known as ‘menisci’. The bones above and below the knee are connected by a selection of ligaments, tendons and muscles. Supporting this, the joint is covered by articular cartilage which absorbs shock and provides a smooth gliding surface for joint movement. This complexity allows us to have full movement and mobility in our legs, as well as participating in vigorous exercises that push the limits of the body.
If the knee gets injured, it can have an adverse effect on other parts of your body, potentially causing additional injuries. These injuries are likely to occur in the leg due to the connection of the muscles and ligaments.
What Sort Of Knee Injuries Can You Get?
There are many types of injuries that you can obtain through overuse, work-related tasks, sports/recreational activities or home tasks. It’s likely that at some point in your life, you’ll experience some form of knee injury whether that be a minor injury or a major one. It’s most common to get an acute injury perhaps from twisting, bending or falling on the knee; during this nerves or blood vessels may be pinched or damaged resulting in the lower leg feeling numb and tingly.
Acute injuries can include the following:
- Sprains and strains
- A tear in the meniscus (cartilage between the femur and tibia)
- Kneecap or knee joint dislocation
- Ligament tears – ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) or MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament)
These injuries can occur due to either a weakened knee, sudden injury or by an underlying condition such as arthritis. The injury will vary depending upon the cause and as a result, so will the treatment. Should you find that your knee has been causing you a significant amount of discomfort, get in touch with a physiotherapist in Cambridge today for a diagnosis.
Overuse of the knee can occur due to repeated, prolonged pressure on the knee or repetitive activities such as stair climbing, jogging or jumping. Each of these has a large impact on the knee and causes stress in the joints and surrounding tissue; leading to inflammation.
Injuries caused by overusing the knee are as follows:
- Tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons)
- Plica Syndrome (thickening/folding of the knee ligaments)
- Bursitis (inflammation of the sacs of fluid that cushion and lubricate the knee)
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (pain in the front of the knee caused by overuse, excess weight or problems in the kneecap)
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome (inflammation of the band of fibrosis tissue running down the outside of the thigh)
A UK Physio trained physiotherapist will take a full history of your knee pain, followed by a comprehensive physical examination. This will help to form an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan which may consist of strengthening exercises to address muscle imbalances, soft tissue therapy, taping, or joint mobilisations. If you’re looking for physio in Cambridge to help improve your knee injury, then get in touch with UK Physio and speak to one of our professionally trained physiotherapists today.
How Does Physiotherapy Help Knee Injuries?
So, the real question is, how can physiotherapy help prevent knee injuries? The answer is simple – there are many ways it can help reduce pain and improve the condition of a knee injury.
Getting physiotherapy on your knee can have a significant impact on pain reduction. During a physiotherapy session, your therapist may carry out some massage techniques. During this, endorphins are naturally released into the body to help minimise the discomfort in the knee. As the muscles and tendons around the knee are manipulated, any congestion of metabolic irritants is reduced allowing the muscles to relax. Furthermore, this eliminates the pressure upon the knee and enables the pain to be relinquished.
Engaging in regular physiotherapy sessions will not only help reduce pain, but it will improve the mobility of the knee and flexibility of the leg. With overuse or participation in a strenuous physical activity, the muscles in the knee will begin to seize up and become stiff. Typically, this will result in an injury such as a sprain/strain or ligament injury. Physiotherapy from an experienced physiotherapist will relieve this stiffness in the knee as the tension in muscles is released, and they begin to relax, limiting the stress upon the joints in the knee.
Finally, physiotherapy on your knee will help you in rebuilding the muscle around the joints. The muscles in the knee need to be strong as they will be assisting the support of the tendons, ligaments and kneecap. Weak muscles will result in lower amounts of support, which in turn, can result in further injuries to the knee or leg. By manipulating the muscles through massage, it causes them to soften and loosen up. With the muscles soft and relaxed, this is the best time to carry out gentle exercises on the knee to help rebuild the damaged tissue. From doing this, the knee will be strengthened, improving the condition of the initial injury. As well as this, it will help avoid further injury in future, as long as the treatment is respectfully continued.
How Regularly Should You Have Physiotherapy?
There isn’t necessarily a specific time frame in which you should be having physiotherapy. However, if you find that you are struggling with recurring muscle or joint pains, or need assistance rehabilitating from an injury, then a schedule should be made with your physiotherapist. Commonly, every four to six weeks is a reasonable interval between each appointment. However, bear in mind that the regularity in which you have physiotherapy will vary based on the seriousness of the injury. For a professionally recommended schedule, get in touch with a physiotherapist in Cambridge for an initial assessment and a specific treatment plan for your injury.
Overall, physiotherapy is incredibly beneficial for knee injuries. The manipulation of the muscles, tendons and tissues allows the pressure on the knee to be released as the muscles soften and relax. With sudden, acute injuries such as a sprain or ligament damage, physiotherapy will assist with the rehabilitation of the damage. Additionally, injuries caused through overuse could benefit from a course of physiotherapy sessions to provide the knee with time to rest and recover, as well as time to rebuild the strength of the damaged muscles and ligaments.
Get in touch with a physiotherapist in Cambridge for an expert analysis today!