Knee pain is something that thousands of adults live with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it is in our nature to live with pain until it is no longer bearable, which means we never really know what the root of the problem is until it is oftentimes too late. People often associate physical therapists with those who help people recover from surgery or serious injuries. While this is certainly the case, physical therapists also help people experiencing some type of discomfort or pain figure out exactly what is going on before it turns into a bigger problem. There are many different causes of knee pain, many of which can be corrected and fixed without surgery or an intensive therapy program. Some people have knee pain because of the way in which they walk, which after years and years can result in the muscles and tendons becoming strained or stretched in an unnatural manner. For others, the problem is more complicated.
Our knees are an absolutely critical component to our overall quality of life and how we are feeling on a day-to-day basis. We rely on our knees to carry us throughout the day, so when there is any level of discomfort or pain, it can have serious repercussions. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 25 percent of American adults have experienced some level of knee pain that affects the function of the knee. Over the last 20 years, we have seen a rise in the number of adults that are living with knee pain. As of today, the most common cause of knee pain or discomfort in adults over the age of 50 is osteoarthritis. However, many people are also experiencing this type of pain when they suffer a cartilage tear in the knee area. Knee pain can make it difficult to run, walk, get up from a chair, climb stairs, play sports, and a host of other activities.
Different Types of Knee Pain
Before we look at how physical therapy can help knee pain, let’s go over the various types of knee pain:
- Anterior knee pain – This is pain around the kneecap in the front of the knee. It is typically caused when the kneecap shifts out of its normal position
- Lateral knee pain – This type of pain is experienced on the outside of the knee, typically when climbing stairs, walking, running, or hiking. It is a common type of overuse injury that most often occurs in runners
- Medial knee pain – This type of pain is experienced along the inside of the knee. In most cases, the MCL (medial meniscus ligament) becomes irritated because of an injury or overuse. People with medial knee pain feel it when squatting, walking up or down an incline when hiking, or going down a flight of stairs
- Ligament tear – This typically occurs when someone experiences a direct blow to the knee, or when the knee is twisted or pivoted when planted
- Osteoarthritis – When the cartilage in the knee is broken down, osteoarthritis may settle in. This type of knee pain may be mild at first and progressively worsens over time
In many instances, a physical therapist may be able to come up with a customized treatment plan for your knee pain that will prevent you from needing surgery. The only way to know if this is the case is to schedule a consultation. In other cases, physical therapy may be helpful in assisting someone recover from a knee replacement or other type of surgery. To learn more about our Grand Prairie physical therapy options for those with knee pain, please contact Classic Rehabilitation today.