Apart from spinal conditions, knee pain is one of the most common ailments of the musculoskeletal system. There is a large range of problems that can affect the knee, as the knee joint is one of the most-used joints in the body. Imagine how often you use your knee joint – walking, running, sitting, bending. No wonder it can get pain from wear and tear!
The knee is like a hinge between the thigh and the shin bones, with a small joint on the outside of the leg (the kneecap). These joints are all supported by cartilage and ligaments to keep it flexible and cushioned during activity. Problems with the knee may include poor mechanics or overuse of the knee joint, traumatic injuries possibly from sports or falls, and problems associated with arthritic changes in the joint. This can result in pain below the knee cap, pain inside of the knee, referred knee pain, and other swelling, stiffness or tenderness.
Poor mechanics of the knee is usually the most common cause of non-traumatic knee pain. Imbalance in other muscle groups that attach to the knee can also lead to pain and dysfunction. The main treatment for mechanical or overuse injuries to the knee is to re-establish proper balance of the muscles, restore movement to the knee cap and other joints and correct any spinal misalignment.
Certain sports can put a lot of pressure on the ligaments supporting the knee. When the knee is stretched or twisted beyond the strength of the ligaments that hold the joint together, tearing of these tissues can occur. The ligaments could also become strained, leading to swelling. Traumatic knee injuries can cause severe pain and swelling and require immediate attention.
Arthritis is also a common cause of knee pain. This usually presents in the form of degeneration of knee cartilage, exposing the bare bone of the knee joint. Pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion are common in arthritic knees. Swelling can also occur in the area, which is usually due to fluid on the knee. The knee joint holds a lot of fluid in a capsule behind the thigh. If the joint is damaged, this fluid can accumulate around the joint, resulting in swelling.
Diagnosis of knee injuries requires a full history of problems, and physical examination. As common knee injury symptoms can result from a number of causes, it is important to correctly identify the origin of acute knee pain. The Chiropractors at Back to Basics Chiropractic are highly trained to provide the proper diagnosis and management of knee injuries.
Knee pain can be treated effectively through conservative chiropractic care. Soft tissue massage and adjustments can reduce swelling and inflammation in the area, and adjustments can restore the range of motion following knee cartilage injuries.
Not only can the chiropractors at Back to Basics Chiropractic help treat knee injuries, a study1 performed by Hoskins and Pollard demonstrated a trend towards lower limb injury prevention with a significant reduction in primary lower limb muscle strains and weeks missed due to non-contact knee injuries through the addition of a sports chiropractic intervention to the current best practice management.
1. BMC MusculoskeletDisord. 2010 Apr 8;11:64. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-11-64.The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized controlled trial. Hoskins W, Pollard H.