Knee pain has been the hot topic around our office this week!
With the nicer weather we’ve been having – more people are outside – and their knees are “talking” to them.
Knee pain is the second most common complaint of musculoskeletal pain (back pain is number one) and it impacts one-third of all Americans at one time or another.
Most of our clients are in their 50’s and 60’s and love to ski, run, hike and bike. They worry that knee pain could bring an end to their active lifestyles.
The good news is that eighty percent of ALL knee problems can be resolved without procedures or surgery – but it starts with accurately identifying the root cause.
Here are three of the most common causes of knee pain and what you can do to resolve it.
1. Patellofemoral Knee syndrome
Also known as “runner’s knee”, patellofemoral knee syndrome (PFS) is characterized by pain in the front of your knee – usually just below or behind your knee cap. With PFS, the source of the problem typically has to do with unwanted pressure in the front of your knee… that eventually results in pain.
It’s very tempting to just get a cortisone shot – or take pain pills – to reduce the inflammation caused by this wear and tear. But then you’re only addressing the symptoms…
If you truly want to put an end to PFS, you’ll need to find the cause of this problem.
Typically, it’s poor form and movement habits that are the result of an imbalance somewhere between your hips, quads (front of the thigh), and hamstrings (back of the thigh). When you figure that out, you’ll restore healthy, balanced movement in your knee again – and reduce the aggravation at your knee cap.
2. Iliotibial band syndrome
This is a very common problem that is similar to PFS except that you’ll experience pain on the side of your knee instead of the front. Your iliotibial band (ITB) is a large, thick band of tissue that runs along the side of your thigh to the bottom of your knee. Your ITB is formed from a muscle in your hip called tensor fascia latae (TFL).
When your TFL gets overworked – your ITB suffers – and will result in what often feels like stabbing pain at the side of your knee.
The most common treatment I see for this is foam rolling and massage – and while these are great modalities to relieve your symptoms – they do NOT address the root problem.
You must figure out why your TFL is being stressed and overworked if you really want to get rid of your pain. Typically, it’s due to weak glute muscles, the deep ones designed to stabilize your pelvis. Your TFL is neighbor to your glutes so when they decide to be lazy – your TFL loves to help out – and eventually overdoes it.
When you can get these two groups of muscles working properly together – you’ll put an end to ITB syndrome 🙂
Many people find out they have osteoarthritis in their knees and think there’s nothing that can be done. They either have to “live with it” or get surgery to replace their knees.
First of all… arthritis is normal and it happens to everyone as they age. What is NOT normal is for you to think you’re helpless because of it.
Arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time. While there isn’t anything you can do to reverse this process – there is plenty you can do to minimize the symptoms you get because of this condition.
It all comes down to balanced joints and movement.
The more mobility you have – and the more stability you have around your knees – the less symptomatic your arthritis will be.
Some key areas to focus on when you’ve got arthritis in your knees is good core strength, and good flexibility in your hips and ankles. If anything is off in these areas – your knees will want to compensate – which could result in aggravation of arthritic symptoms.
“Motion is lotion” is not just a saying – it works! Especially when it comes to arthritis.
If you’re currently suffering from knee pain, remember that there is a very good chance you fall into the eighty percent of people who can successfully get rid of it completely on their own.
There is no need to rely on pain pills – or think that procedures and surgery are your only options!
If you’re looking for help here in Portsmouth, New Hampshire CLICK HERE to Request a Free Discovery Session. One of our specialist will reach out to you, ask you about everything that’s been going on, and determine if we’re the best people to help you!
Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth and writes for Seacoast Media Group. To request a free copy of her Knee Pain Report CLICK HERE or to get in touch, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.