Tag Archives: knee injury

physical therapy knee pain

How Physical Therapy Helps Knee Rehabilitation

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PT&Me Knee Rehabilitation

Physical therapists can provide more than pre/post surgical knee rehabilitation for patients experiencing knee pain.

What Causes Knee Pain?
The knee is a relatively simple joint required to do a complicated job…to provide flexible mobility while bearing considerable weight. While walking down the street, our knees bear three to five times our body weight. When the knee is overstressed in sports or in everyday activities, these structures can break down — and a knee injury occurs.

Common Knee Problems Seen by Our Physical Therapists:

  • Strain / Sprain
  • Arthritis Pain
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Ligament Sprains
  • ACL Tears
  • Tendinitis (ie: Patellar, Pes Anserinus)
  • Chondromalacia Patella
  • Patellofemoral Syndrome / Knee Pain
  • Pre / Post Operative Therapy

How Physical Therapy Provides Knee Rehabilitation
Rehabilitation acutely after knee surgery or a knee injury primarily centers around decreasing swelling in the knee joint. Even a small amount of fluid inhibits the quadriceps muscle on the front of knee by slowing the signal for movement traveling from the brain to the muscle. Manual techniques to decrease muscle spasm and improve length tension relationships of soft tissue are also incorporated. Gradually, exercises to increase strength, range of motion and functional mobility are introduced.

Treatments Offered Include:

  • Comprehensive evaluation with an emphasis on determining the source of the problem
  • Individualized and specific exercise programs
  • Manual therapy (hands-on treatment)
  • Modalities as needed
  • Work and sport specific simulations
  • Progressive home program to help restore independence and self-management

Knee Rehabilitation Goals:

  • Reduce Pain
  • Improve Mobility
  • Movement Awareness/Gait Training
  • Functional Strength
  • Patient Education

For more information on knee injuries visit our PT & Me Knee Injury Center page by clicking here.

The PT & Me Injury Center goes over diagnoses on how physical therapists treat specific injuries.

To find or search for a local participating PT & Me physical therapy clinic in your local area please click here.

knee injuries physical therapy

Common Causes of Knee Injuries

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While most of us take our knees for granted, injuries can occur quite easily and for a variety of reasons. Only when you suffer a knee injury, do you realize how much we rely on these joints on a day to day basis. Knee injuries cause discomfort and pain, but that’s not all. They can also be extremely debilitating and in serious cases, result in dramatically reduced mobility. So let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of knee injuries, and what to do in case you experience one.

What Are the Most Common Knee Injury Causes?

Well, there are a number of them – some more serious than others. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones!

  • Fractures: Fractures are very common knee injuries and can affect the patella, which is the most commonly fractured bone around the knee. Fractures can also affect the ends of the tibia and femur in the area where they come together to form the knee joint. Incidents such as serious falls and road traffic accidents are common causes of fractures. And sometimes even the best knee brace for running or other sports won’t be able to prevent a fracture.
  • Dislocated knee: Knee dislocation is another common knee issue and it occurs when the knee bone is either partially or totally out of place. This could include the patella slipping or the femur and tibia sustaining injury that forces them out of alignment. Various different sports activities as well as falls and other high impact trauma can cause this injury.
  • Torn ligament: Tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament is also a common type of knee injury. This is more common among those that take part in athletics and sporting activities. Some of the common causes of this injury include a rapid change in direction when running or incorrectly landing from a jump. In many cases, this sort of injury also comes with additional injuries to the cartilage.
  • Torn tendons: This type of injury is more common among older people, particularly those who are active runners or do any sports that require a lot of running. The tendons of the patella can become stretched and then torn during this type of activity. Direct force to the front of the knees, falls, and incorrect landing following a jump are all common causes of a torn tendons.

There are many different causes of knee injuries, but usually they involve some sort of high impact trauma. This is why these types of injuries are often sustained by athletes as well as people who are keen on physical activities. Falls, incorrect landings following a jump, and the twisting of the knee can all cause various different knee injuries.

The knees are among the most easily injured joints in the human body, and also one of the most common reasons for people seeing their doctor. So in the event of a knee injury, no matter what the cause, it is important to seek medical advice because a knee injury can escalate from simple twisting of the knee to a dislocation or worse pretty quickly. Because the treatment for a knee injury varies based on the severity as well as the type and cause of the problem, ranging from medication and physical therapy to even surgery, consulting a medical professional is the first step to treating your knee successfully.

More information about common knee injuries can be found in the PTandMe injury center.

PT News

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This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

1. Does Wearing a New Knee Brace Help?
Written by the Therapy Team at the Jackson Clinics Physical Therapy – Northern Virginia

As the largest joint in the body and because of its exposed position, the knee is especially vulnerable to injury during sports activities. Read more

2. Is Apple Cider Vinegar the Remedy You Need?
Written by the Erin Clason, PT at the Center for Physical Rehabilitation and Therapy – Grand Rapids, MI

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been used for centuries as a folk remedy to treat everything from warts and the common cold to acid reflux and arthritis. Read more

3. Therapeutic Ultrasound
Written by Angeline Peterson, PT at Intermountain Physical Therapy and Hand Rehabilitation – Meridian, ID

“Are you checking for a foot baby?” That question is not one you may hear very often and may spark further conversation. Read more

ice hockey injuries

Common Ice Hockey Injuries

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Ice hockey is one of the most popular sports played in North America. Physical therapy can provide specific treatment to a number of specific ice hockey injuries. Here are a few injuries that can happen during a hockey game or practice:

Common Ice Hockey Injuries

BACK INJURIES
Hockey players are at risk for low-back injuries due to the flexed (forward) posture of skating and the frequent hyperextension (backward) stress. Low-back pain and/or a pulled muscle are the most common injuries. Stretching of the hip flexors along with strengthening of the back and abdominal muscles will help avoid these injuries.

HIP INJURIES
The hip joint and groin muscle are susceptible to injury due to the mechanisms of the skating stride. Some of the most common soft tissue injuries in hockey players include a groin strain and a hip flexor strain. Off-season strengthening and dedicated stretching before and after practice are important to prevent these injuries. In addition, a direct blow to the outside of the hip can cause a hip pointer or trochanteric bursitis. Hockey pants with reinforced padding over these areas may help protect them.

KNEE INJURIES
The medial collateral ligament is the most susceptible to a sprain because of the leg position – pushing off the inside edge of the skate blade – and contact to the outside of the knee. Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) disruption and meniscus tears (torn cartilage) can also occur but are less common in hockey that in other sports such as football, soccer and basketball.

hockey_goalie

SHOULDER INJURIES
The most common shoulder injuries in hockey are a shoulder separation and a broken collarbone. These injuries occur from direct contact of the shoulder with another player, the boards or the ice. Treatment can include a sling, rest and in serious cases surgery.

ELBOW INJURIES
The point of the elbow is a frequent area of contact, which can result in the development of bursitis. Thick and scarred bursal tissue (which feels like bone chips, but isn’t) can be a source of recurrent inflammation. The best prevention method is wearing elbow pads that will fit well and have an opening for the elbow, soft padding and a plastic outer shell.

WRIST INJURIES
A fall on the outstretched arm or contact with the boards that forces the wrist up or down, may cause a fracture. Players should try bracing themselves against the boards using their forearms instead of their hands.

PT News

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This Month in PT News. Featuring articles from PTandMe partnering clinics!

 

2. Coping with a Mysterious Pain Syndrome
Written by the Therapy Team at the Jackson Clinics – Middleburg, VA

As its name suggests, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a complicated and painful condition. Approximately 80,000 Americans are diagnosed with CRPS each year, usually in the arm, hand, leg or foot. Read more

3. Is Something Better than Nothing? 
Written by Erin Clason at the Center for Physical Rehabilitation – Grand Rapids, MI

When it comes to strength training, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Most of us are aware of the benefits of strength training in areas like everyday physical function, bone rebuilding, self-confidence, fat reduction, and elevated metabolism. Read more

Recovering from knee surgery

Self-Care: Safe Positions & Movement After Knee Surgery

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ACTIVITY GUIDELINES
Recovering from knee surgery does not have to prevent you from moving or taking care of yourself. Listed below are guidelines on how to do some common movements and activities without hindering the healing process.

SLEEP & POSITIONING
• It is very important that when recovering from knee surgery you get enough rest following your surgery. If you cannot get comfortable in your bed, please talk to your therapist.
• Sleep on a bed with a firm mattress. Ideally, the bed should come up to your mid-thigh while you stand.
• Sleep flat on your back and position your leg so your toes and kneecaps point at the ceiling.
• Do not place pillows under your operative leg. If you wish to elevate your leg, support the whole leg with pillows while keeping the knee straight.

Sitting Up In Bed:
• If possible, get out of bed toward non-operated side so that the operated leg is supported as much as possible.

From Sitting on the Side of the Bed to Standing with the Walker:
• Straighten the operated leg in front of you before standing.
• Ensure you have good sitting balance with the walker close in front of you.
• Push up from the bed with both hands and keep weight on the non-operative leg.

From Standing to Getting Into Bed:
• Sit down on the edge of the bed; place at least one hand on the bed as you lower yourself. Remember to keep the operated leg further ahead to avoid straining it.
• Enter your bed leading with the operated side if possible.
• Bring your legs onto the bed while lowering your upper body with your hands then elbows.

BATHING/SHOWERING:
You may shower in a bathtub or shower stall only after your doctor has given their permission.

Getting Into the Tub to Take a Shower:
• Have the tub bench or tub chair placed in the direction facing your shower faucets.
• Using your walker, back up to the bench.
• Reach back with one hand to the bench and sit down with your legs outside of the tub.
• Place one leg at a time into the tub.

Getting Out of the Tub:
• While seated on the tub bench/chair turn your body and place your legs one at a time outside of the tub.
• Push up from the tub bench and stand using both hands on the walker.

knee brace

TOILET TRANSFERS:
When recovering from knee surgery the low surface may cause excessive painful bending at the knee. If this is the case, your therapist may help you with getting a raised toilet seat or a three-in-one commode that can be used over your toilet.

Getting Up and Down From a Toilet:
• Back up to the toilet.
• Reach back for the armrests/raised toilet seat/seat.
• Slide your operated leg slightly forward and lower yourself slowly onto the toilet.
• To stand, use a grab bar or place your hand at the middle of the center bar of the walker.
• Stand up and get your balance before placing both hands on the walker.

DRESSING:
• Put on your top or shirt as you normally would while seated.
• Do not twist the knee too much when dressing or putting on shoes.
• Your therapist may recommend a sock aid, dressing stick, reacher or long-handled shoe horn to help with dressing.

STAIRS:
You should only try to go up or down stairs when your doctor or therapist says it is okay. Do not try to use stairs while using a walker.
• When going up the steps, first step up with your non-operative leg, followed by the operative leg.
• When going down steps, first step down with your operative leg, followed by the non-operative leg.
• Complete only one step at a time and always have help.

CAR TRANSFERS:

While you are recovering from knee surgery you will need someone to help you with getting in and out of the car for both your safety and comfort. The seat would ideally be at the height of your mid thigh. Avoid cars with low or bucket seats.
• Have someone slide the seat back as far as possible prior to entering the car, preferably on the front passenger side.
• Slightly recline the seat back if possible.

Common Football Injuries

Common Football Injuries

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Football is one of the most popular sports played by young athletes, and it leads all other sports in the number of injuries sustained. In 2007, more than 920,000 athletes under the age of 18 were treated in emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, and clinics for football-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Physical therapy can provide specific treatment to a number of specific football injuries. Here are a few injuries that can happen during a football game or practice:

KNEE INJURIES
Knee injuries in football are the most common, especially those to the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament (ACL/PCL) and to the menisci (cartilage of the knee). These knee injuries can adversely affect a player’s long-term involvement in the sport. Football players also have a higher chance of ankle sprains due to the surfaces played on and cutting motions.

Physical therapy treatment for knee injuries may include:
• Exercises to help promote recovery. Specifically, therapists will design a program to strengthen the whole leg as well improve its range of motion.
• Balance exercises to allow the return to daily activities (including work and sports) while decreasing the risk of falls and reinjury
• Hands-on treatment to keep the knee joint from becoming stiff
• Ice and vasopneumatic pressure to reduce swelling and pain

SHOULDER INJURIES
Shoulder injuries are also common. The labrum (cartilage bumper surrounding the socket part of the shoulder) is particularly susceptible to injury, especially in offensive and defensive linemen. In addition, injuries to the acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) or shoulder are commonly seen in football players.

Physical therapy treatment for shoulder injuries may include:
NON-SURGICAL
Most labral tears will respond well to non-surgical treatment and may be just one component of a multi-factored pathology of the aging shoulder. Physical therapy will typically address a labral tear from the biomechanical approach of improving the motion and reducing the repetitive injury. If the inflammation and mechanical stress on the structures can be reduced then the tissue has a chance to heal.
SURGICAL
If the athlete has had surgery to the shoulder, the therapist will follow a specific protocol to apply just the right amount of strain on the shoulder to keep it safe after surgery. A sling may be recommended in the early stages but the therapist will get the arm moving with assistance within a relatively short period of time. Physical therapists will give instructions on how to provide varying levels of assistance to the arm for motion in safe planes in front of the body, and eventually throughout the entire range of motion. Once the tissues are healed, the therapist will begin to put resistance on the support structures in order to improve the mechanics of motion and reduce the risk of another injury.

kid football player

CONCUSSIONS
Football players are very susceptible to concussions. A concussion is a change in mental state due to a traumatic impact. Not all those who suffer a concussion will lose consciousness. Some signs that a concussion has been sustained are headache, dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, drowsiness, numbness/tingling, difficulty concentrating, and blurry vision. The athlete should return to play only when clearance is granted by a health care professional. It is recommended that players go though a concussion baseline test before the start of the season. Results from baseline tests (or pre-injury tests) can be used and compared to a similar exam conducted by a healthcare professional during the season if an athlete has a suspected concussion. More information here.

Physical therapy treatment for concussions may include:
EVALUATION: The physical therapist will take time to talk with you and perform a thorough examination of your condition.
THERAPY: The physical therapist will plan a treatment program suited to your individual condition, which will involve exercises for your balance, vision, inner ear and more in order to restore brain function.
TEACHING: Physical therapists will spend time reviewing information with you regarding your diagnosis and progress as well as answering your questions. This empowers the patient to make a lifelong impact on their health.
RETURN TO SPORT: Physical therapists are uniquely qualified to guide you towards a safe return to sport. A therapist can guide recovering athletes through a stepwise protocol to keep patients symptom free,  and to prevent serious, life-threatening conditions associated with a second head injury due to early return to football.

OVERUSE INJURIES
Low-back pain, or back pain in general, is a fairly common complaint in football players due to overuse. Overuse can also lead to overtraining syndrome, when a player trains beyond the ability for the body to recover.

Physical therapy treatment for overuse injuries may include:
Pain-relieving techniques (such as ice) and decreasing or modifying painful activities. This diagnosis often occurs from muscular tightness or weakness which causes posture to get out of alignment. A physical therapist will educate and assist in proper stretching and strengthening exercises for the back. They may perform hands on, manual therapy techniques to further increase joint flexibility. The final phase of rehab will involve strengthening during functional activities and education to prevent the injury from recurring.

RESOURCES:
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
www.cpsc.gov

Stop Sports Injuries
www.stopsportsinjuries.org

REFERENCES:
Preventing Football Injuries. http://www.stopsportsinjuries.org/STOP/Prevent_Injuries/Football_Skating_Injury_Prevention.aspx

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Try Physical Therapy First

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Benefits of Physical Therapy Over Pain Killers and Surgery:

  • Conservative treatment with physical therapy has no side effects
  • Treat the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms
  • The best effect is getting you more involved in a healthy lifestyle
  • Affordable and covered under most insurance plans

As Physical Therapists We Provide:

  • Improved awareness
  • Increase strength and flexibility
  • Education and exercise designed to prevent future injuries
  • A program that increases your overall strength and flexibility
  • Modifications of movement for daily living

spine doctor

DID YOU KNOW THAT IF YOU HAVE…

BACK PAIN
If you are experiencing physical pain going to physical or occupational therapy for a musculoskeletal screening first may result in long term solutions without the use of expensive prescriptions or tests such as MRI’s, and reduces the risk of re-injury.
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22614792/

KNEE INJURY
Physical Therapy is equally effective In treating degenerative knee disease. One of the most common orthopedic procedures in the United States — knee arthroscopic surgery — is proving to be an unnecessary course of action for many patients who have a torn meniscus in their knee.
Source: New England Journal Of Medicine: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1305189?query=featured_home&

CONCUSSION
Physical Therapists are key to helping in the recovery from concussion by monitoring the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms of an athlete to determine when they are no longer symptomatic.
Source: http://www.momsteam.com/health-safety/post-concussion-treatment-physical-therapy-can-help

We understand that you are concerned with maintaining your health. So ask your medical provider if physical therapy is the right choice for you. By trying physical therapy first, it is likely that you can reduce or remove the need for surgery, as well as remove the risk of dependence on prescription pain killers.