The knee is the largest and most complicated joint in the body which consists of many structures which, if damaged by anything from an acute traumatic event to general wear and tear over time, can require quite a bit of rehabilitation to correct.
Here are some of the more common knee problems:
- Osteoarthritis – essentially this is wear and tear of the knee which can be treated effectively, especially if the treatment is started early. You may find that your knee is aching or painful after certain activities such as climbing stairs with stiffness present particularly in the mornings or after rest. Pain may be experienced within the joint, all around it or in one place. There are many causes for osteoarthritis of the knee including pelvic twisting that results in more pressure being put onto one knee than the other or it may be due to secondary to osteoarthritis of the spine.
- Referred pain – knee pain may be referred from compression of the nerves supplying the knee at various levels down its course from the low back. It may also be referred from trigger points in muscles further up or down the leg.
- Biomechanical issues such as kneecap lateral tracking (moving towards the outside) - occurs as a result of many issues including dropping of the foot arches, knock knees, lack of tone of the quad muscles nearer the inside of the leg(s), leg length differences or pelvic torsions.
- - Bursa inflammation – Bursa are like tyres filled with viscous fluid-like material which act as pads between muscles, tendons and bones around the knee. These can become irritated and inflamed, most commonly causing pain just above or below the kneecap.
- Sports injuries: Cruciate ligament tears/collateral ligament tears – the cruciate ligaments are found within the knee joint. Tears can occur when excessive force is applied to the knee joint with the anterior cruciate being affected the most often. Other structures such as the joint capsule and the collateral ligaments on the inside and outside of the knee are also commonly damaged.
- Sports injuries: Meniscal/cartilage tears – the meniscus/cartilage is found lining the ends of the tibia and femur (shin and thigh bones that meet in the knee). Damage often occurs to these structures when the knee is over-rotated.
The Osteopath aims to assess the joints and muscles holistically focusing on everything, particularly from the low back to the feet, so that the cause of your knee pain can be determined. The problem will then be treated with gentle soft tissue, articulation, stretching and manipulation as appropriate. Advice may also be given on effective exercises and hydrotherapy (hot and cold packs). If need be, you will be referred for further medical assessment.