- Meniscus & Ligament Tears;
- Running injuries; Tendonitis; patellar (kneecap) chondromalacia
- Post-surgical; Arthroscopy, Joint / Replacement [Arthroplasty]
Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. Knee pain may be the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. Medical conditions – including arthritis, gout and infections – also can cause knee pain.
Many types of minor knee pain respond well to guided self-care measures. Physical therapy and knee braces also can help relieve knee pain. In some cases, however, your knee may require surgical repair.
A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting the pressure of your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.
Each of your knees has two menisci – C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act like a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone. A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling and stiffness. Your knee might feel unstable, as if it’s going to collapse. Conservative treatment – such as rest, ice and medication and physical therapy – is sometimes enough to relieve the pain of a torn meniscus and give the injury time to heal on its own. In other cases, however, a torn meniscus requires [arthroscopic] surgical repair.
The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone. It can be torn if you suddenly twist your knee while bearing weight on it.
An ACL injury is the tearing of the anterior cruciate (KROO-she-ate) ligament, or ACL, inside your knee joint. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the key ligaments that helps stabilize your knee joint. The ACL connects your thighbone (femur) to your shinbone (tibia). An ACL injury most commonly occurs during sports that involve sudden stops and changes in direction – such as basketball, soccer, tennis and volleyball. Immediately after an ACL injury, your knee may swell, feel unstable and become too painful to bear weight. Many people hear or feel a “pop” in their knee when an ACL injury occurs.
Depending on the severity of your ACL injury, treatment may initially include physical therapy to reduce pain and swelling, increase range of motion and muscle strength and restore functional stability of the joint. Severe cases may require surgery to replace the torn ligament [ACL reconstruction arthroplasty] followed by vigorous and comprehensive physical rehabilitation exercises to help you regain normal joint mobility, muscle strength and functional stability.
A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled cyst that causes a bulge and a feeling of tightness behind your knee. The pain can get worse when you fully flex or extend your knee or when you’re active.
A Baker’s cyst, also called a popliteal (pop-LIT-e-ul) cyst, is usually the result of a problem with your knee joint, such as arthritis or a cartilage tear. Both conditions can cause your knee to produce too much fluid, which can lead to a Baker’s cyst. Although a Baker’s cyst may cause swelling and make you uncomfortable, treating the underlying problem usually provides relief. Physical therapy is usually the first course of conservative treatment for Baker’s cyst.
Chondromalacia patella; The cartilage under your kneecap is a natural shock absorber. Overuse, injury or other factors may lead to a condition known as chondromalacia patella (kon-droh-muh-LAY-shuh puh-TEL-uh) – a general term indicating damage to the cartilage under your kneecap. A more accurate term for chondromalacia patella is patellofemoral (puh-tel-o-FEM-uh-rul) pain syndrome.
The most common symptom is knee pain that increases when you walk up or down stairs. Physical therapy is recommended for pain relief and focused quadriceps strengthening exercises; occasionally, surgery is needed to correct the underlying cause and ease patellofemoral pain. Post-operative physical therapy is a crucial part of the recovery process.
Osgood-Schlatter disease can cause a painful lump below the kneecap in children and adolescents experiencing growth spurts during puberty. Osgood-Schlatter disease occurs most often in children who participate in sports that involve running, jumping and swift changes of direction – such as soccer, basketball, figure skating and ballet. During these activities that involve a lot of running and jumping, the pull of the front thigh muscles (quadriceps) can place tension on the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. In Osgood-Schlatter disease, the tendon may begin to pull away from the spot where it attaches to the shinbone, causing pain and swelling.
While Osgood-Schlatter disease is more common in boys, the gender gap is narrowing as more girls become involved with sports. Osgood-Schlatter disease affects as many as 1 in 5 adolescent athletes. Age ranges differ by sex because girls experience puberty earlier than do boys. Osgood-Schlatter disease typically occurs in boys ages 13 to 14 and girls ages 11 to 12. The condition usually resolves on its own, once the child’s bones stop growing.
Physical therapy for this disorder usually consists of pain reduction and anti-inflammatory modalities, often on a periodic basis during the period of time the child is troubled, until its post-bone-growth resolution.