Knee pain can arise from various injuries to the structures supporting it. Common knee injuries include patella-femoral pain syndrome, injuries to the ligaments, tendons or cartilage. Awkward movements, falls, collisions, sudden twists, change of direction, sudden stopping, excessive forces or overuse can result in various injuries to the knee.
Patello-Femoral Pain Syndrome
Patello-femoral pain syndrome is a pathology characterised by pain felt around the kneecap. A cause of PFPS is usually due to the abnormal tracking of the kneecap as the knee bends and straightens. Imbalance in muscle strength, tightness, length and structural abnormalities of the lower limb can also contribute to PFPS. Activities such as squatting, walking up and down stairs or an incline or sitting for prolonged periods can exacerbate the pain.
The knee is held together by a number of ligaments to stabilise the joint. Sudden twisting or excessive forces to the knee (repetitive or direct trauma) can stretch the ligament beyond their normal threshold. Torn ligaments typically causes swelling, pain and joint laxity. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee. Symptoms of and ACL injury include hearing a popping sound (if it is completely torn), swelling and pain in your knees, tenderness on palpation or feeling like your knee is unstable and about to give way.
Muscles are attached onto joints with tendons. Tendons can be overstretched and tear in various activities, either by repetitive activities or direct trauma. Where the muscle joins a tendon is a common place of tears.
There are 2 menisci in your knee – the medial and the lateral. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that sits between your knee joint. One of the most common knee injuries is a torn meniscus. Sudden or severe impact or twisting during and activity, especially weight bearing exercises can tear the meniscus. Tears in the meniscus can also occur in the older population due to wear and tear. Symptoms of a meniscal tear include swelling, pain and the inability to straighten out your leg.
How Physiotherapy Can Help?
Physiotherapy can help identify what is wrong with your knee, provide treatment to decrease pain, prescribe exercises to strengthen/stabilise your knee and prevent the problem from reoccurring again.