World Physiotherapy Day 2023: physiotherapy to reduce knee pain

The knee joint is one of the weight-bearing joints in our body, so it is subject to increased wear and tear. Young or old, knee pain affects people of all ages and can be debilitating. You don’t have to suffer for long since physiotherapy can help reduce knee pain. It only takes a few weeks for physiotherapy to work wonders. This can help get rid of knee pain and improve the strength as well as flexibility of the knee joint. We’re talking to you about physiotherapy and knee pain on World Physiotherapy Day, which falls on September 8.

If we talk about the anatomy of the knee joint, it consists of the joint of the patella, tibia and femur, says Neha Gill, Senior Physiotherapist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh.

Your knee is basically the joint that connects your thigh to your lower leg. Your knees help support the weight of your body. They also allow your legs to bend and move.

Physiotherapy can help reduce knee pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Causes of knee pain

Knee pain can be caused by many factors. Some of them include:

1. Arthritis

The most common cause of knee pain is arthritis, which comes in several types. One of them is osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative disease. There is also rheumatoid arthritis, which usually occurs due to autoimmune diseases. Gouty arthritis occurs due to increased uric acid, pseudogout develops due to increased calcium-containing crystals in the joint fluid and finally. Another form of arthritis is septic arthritis which occurs due to infection.

2. Iliotibial band syndrome

Another common cause of knee pain is iliotibial band syndrome, commonly seen in athletes, the expert explains. This occurs due to excessive strain on the knee joints. This leads to tension in the iliotibial band which causes pain in the outer region of the knee.

3. Ligament injury

The most common ligament injury is an ACL tear, again common in athletes. This happens due to hyperextension of the knee and leads to an unstable joint.

4. Meniscal injury

The meniscus acts as a shock absorber in the joint and can easily be torn during sudden twisting while bearing weight on the joint.

5. Patellofemoral dysfunction

Patellofemoral dysfunction, also known as chondromalacia patella, primarily affects women during pregnancy. The pain may be attributed to hormonal changes or an increase in body weight that puts extra pressure on the knee joint.

6. Postpartum period

Hormonal changes during pregnancy need some time to settle in after delivery. Additionally, the extra weight can contribute to knee pain. Many mothers prefer to sit cross-legged to breastfeed their babies. This can lead to knee pain because breastfeeding takes longer in the first few days, says Gill.

Woman suffering from knee pain
There are exercises that can help manage knee pain. Image provided by: Shuttertsock

Physiotherapy for knee pain

Physiotherapeutic management of knee pain depends on the underlying cause of the pain. Here are some techniques often used to get some relief:

1. Manual techniques

There are different mobilization techniques to reduce knee pain and restrictions. Practical techniques like Maitland and Mulligan can be used, the expert tells Health Shots.

2. Dry needling and cupping therapy

Nowadays, dry needling and cupping therapy are gaining popularity when it comes to reducing knee pain. Sometimes there are trigger points in the muscles that can lead to knee pain. Dry needling or cupping can therefore be performed on the quadriceps muscles or adjacent muscles.

3. Electrotherapeutic management

Therapeutic ultrasound or laser can be used to reduce knee pain for which you will need around 7 to 10 sessions. But sessions may vary depending on the severity of the pain.

4. Exercises

Choosing the right exercise also depends on the severity of the pain. If it is acute, conditioning exercises like isometrics are used. In later stages, stretching or strengthening exercises can be performed. After an injury, strengthening exercises are very important in order to regain strength. After an injury, strengthening exercises should be performed for at least 3 months.

Lifestyle modification is also necessary so that you can maintain a healthy weight and there is less pressure on the knee joint.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *