If you are experiencing knee pain, stiffness, or aches, moving around may seem like the last thing you should do. Often, you’ll find yourself being referred to physical therapy to get your strength back and on the road to recovery. For stiff knee treatment, physical therapy can help.
Physical therapy, or rehabilitation, can ease your joint and muscle pain. This includes
Sometimes physical therapy is all you need for stiff knee treatment, you may not need surgery at all. Even if you do, you will most likely be referred to physical therapy after surgery to help you recover.
For proper diagnosis and treatment, it’s important to know your level of pain.
Acute Pain: Usually occurs 1-7 days after an injury and often requires immediate medical attention. Treatment for acute pain includes the R.I.C.E. method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Sub-Acute Pain: Usually occurring from 2-6 weeks after an injury, this is a good time to start gentle motions around the knee to regain mobility. Sub-acute pain falls in between chronic and acute pain and can be treated with physical therapy.
Chronic Knee Pain: This pain lasts greater than 8-12 weeks and needs to be evaluated by your healthcare provider. He or she may suggest physical therapy for your stiff knee treatment. Physical therapy can help.
To have a successful stiff knee treatment, physical therapy can help by first locating the precise spot of pain. This helps to determine which structures are at fault and how to properly treat them.
Front of Knee: Pain in the front of the knee typically limits the ability to kneel, scale up or downstairs, or to run and jump. The kneecap and the tendon between the kneecap and the shin may become inflamed and painful. This problem with the positioning of the kneecap is known as patellofemoral stress syndrome (PFSS).
Inside of the Knee: If you are suffering from pain on the inside of your knee, there is most likely an injury to the medial meniscus or medial collateral ligament. Often pain due to the medial collateral ligament occurs due to wear and tear or arthritis, not necessarily a specific injury. Pain associated with the medial meniscus is most often associated with shock absorption or the body twisting over the knee.
Outside of Knee: Pain on the outside of your knee can occur for many reasons. The ligament there can be injured due to athletic activity, the iliotibial band (ITB) can rub abnormally on the knee causing a burning sensation, or strain to one of the three hamstring tendons may be the source of your knee pain.
Back of the Knee: While this is rare, it can occur. One of the hamstring tendons attach here and is most likely the source of the pain. Another cause is a Baker’s cyst. Symptoms of this is an abnormal swelling of the knee joint in the back of the knee and excessive pain when bending the knee.
Now that you have an idea of where your pain is coming from, it’s time to treat it. It’s important to note that the best way to get the most effective treatment is to see an expert physical therapist. After your consultation, he or she will design a customized stiff knee treatment plan so physical therapy can help you.
Your trusted physical therapist is a movement expert and will work hands-on with you through different stretches and exercises. He or she will most likely teach you a few simple motions you can do at home as well. These different treatments can include
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Other exercises your physical therapist will help you with include
Everybody is different, every injury is different, therefore your stiff knee treatment plan will be different for you. Be sure to discuss your goals, speak up about pains, and stay on top of your stretches and exercises. Some additional tips for your stiff knee treatment plan and how physical therapy can help are
If you are ready to start your customized stiff knee treatment, physical therapy can help! Contact Desert Edge Physical Therapy and start moving better, so you can live better.