Physiotherapy for Knee Pain in Gosforth
What is Knee Pain?
Physiotherapy for knee pain is very common, and treatment can vary depending on the cause. Problems include knee arthritis and sports knee injuries, such as 'runner's knee'. Most knee pain responds very well to physiotherapy treatment.
At Balmoral Physiotherapy, based in Gosforth, we offer more than just exercises. ‘Hands-on’ treatment can help to reduce the swelling and improve the movement of the knee joint and knee cap (patella). Gentle massage and mobilisation of the joints can help to relieve pain and improve function. Taping can be applied to specifically support the joint and relieve knee pain so that you are able to improve strength and mobility. Exercises play an important role in reducing pain and these will be targeted specifically to you and your lifestyle. For more details about arthritis, take a look at our page on arthritis.
The knee joint is a complex joint system consisting of 3 inter-related joints:
- The knee joint (between the femur and tibia)
- The patello-femoral joint (below the patella/knee cap and the femur)
- The tibio-fibular joint (between the two bones of the lower leg)
All of these joints have ligaments, cartilage, muscles and bursae associated with them and therefore dysfunction in any structure or joint system can produce pain in or around the knee or into the lower leg.
The cause may be:
Arthritis / Degenerative knee pain
At Balmoral Physiotherapy in Gosforth, we are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of knee pain and other symptoms arising from arthritis or degenerative joint changes to your knees (‘wear and tear’). Often Doctors will diagnose arthritis or degeneration and offer pain killers or surgery. It is commonly believed that there is nothing that can be done - this is a myth! There is an alternative. Physiotherapy is proven to help relieve the symptoms of knee arthritis, including pain, swelling, stiffness, weakness and mobility problems.
Runner's Knee / Pain walking or jogging
Do you experience knee pain or shin splints after / during running, hiking, or walking? Why not come along to Balmoral Physiotherapy in South Gosforth to see how we can help?
There are many reasons why running or walking can cause knee pain and most of them can be treated and relieved with Physiotherapy. Thorough assessment will help us learn the cause of the problem and we can then work out a plan for improvement. Pain during running or walking is commonly felt at the front of the knee and is often due to problems with movement of the patella (knee cap). This is referred to as patella-femoral pain or dysfunction. This may be due to an imbalance between the muscles around the knee (quadriceps), footwear, training errors, lack of warm up or back problems.
Our Physiotherapists can offer advice on self-management, on how to progress or maintain your training regime and on how to prevent recurrence. The treatment programme is flexible, targeted and decided by you. At our Gosforth physiotherapy clinic we are highly experienced in the diagnosis, treatment and management of running injuries and knee pain. We have treated members from the surrounding running clubs close to our clinic in Gosforth, including Gosforth Harriers, Heaton Harriers, Elswick Harriers, Gateshead Harriers and Jesmond Joggers. See also our page on ‘sports injuries’.
Sport knee injuries
Do you suffer from knee pain during / after football, hiking, rugby, or cycling, perhaps because of damaged cartilage, a torn knee ligament, or knee strain? Is knee pain interfering with your golf swing?
Strains and sprains commonly occur in sport and leisure activities which involve rotation, changes in direction, impact or repetition. The ‘soft tissues’ around the knee include cartilage (meniscus), ligaments (cruciates and collaterals) fat pads and bursae. These structures provide stability around the joint, tensile strength and shock absorption. Sudden or shearing forces can put additional strain on these structures and cause them to tear, over stretch or become inflamed. We offer expert diagnosis of knee injuries - most problems can be resolved with treatment. Physiotherapy for the knee has been proven to speed up recovery and help promote your body’s own healing mechanisms. Our aim is to get you back on track as soon as possible and to prevent recurrence.
What are the Symptoms?
This will depend upon the structure involved and nature of the onset. For example, Patella problems are likely to result in pain at the front of the knee (anterior), where as cartilage problems may feel deeper and pain is associated with movement of the knee. Arthritic conditions may produce stiffness, especially after rest. Degenerative knee pain, knee pain after sitting, and knee stiffness can all be helped by physiotherapy.
Dysfunction of the local structure may include:
- Stiffness of any of the joints
- Tightness or damage to the ligaments
- Cartilage damage
- Tightness of muscles
- Muscle imbalance
- Patella tracking problems
- Swelling/inflammation of a bursa
- Positional problems of the feet
- Hip problems
- Spinal problems
Physiotherapy Treatment for Knee Pain
Physiotherapy can help reduce knee pain, swelling and stiffness and can address the cause to prevent recurrence. A thorough assessment is required to determine the nature of the problem and identify the likely cause. Treatment will include:
- Electrotherapy such as interferential, ultrasound and laser to reduce pain and swelling.
- Hands-on manual therapy to reduce joint stiffness and muscle tightness.
- Specific exercises to stretch and strengthen.
- Rehabilitation for return to sport/leisure.
- Direct MRI referral is available if the physiotherapist feels this is necessary.
- Biomechanical assessment is also available if there are problems with feet or footwear.
A Typical Example of Knee Pain Presentation and Treatment
The following describes a common presentation of knee pain and gives an example of what the physiotherapist will look at to diagnose knee pain problems:
Initially, your Physiotherapist will ask some questions about the nature of your symptoms.
Symptoms (what you may feel)
- Pain at the front of the knee for many years. Getting worse recently.
- Painful and stiff after rest and in the morning.
- Getting more difficult to walk any distance and stairs are becoming a problem.
Examination (what the Physiotherapist sees)
The Physiotherapist will watch how you walk and take a close look at your knees. Important signs could be:
- Slight limp when walking in to the room.
- Swelling/puffiness around the front and/or back of the knee.
- Reduced movement at the very end when bending and straightening. ‘Crackling/grinding’ can be heard and felt.
- Tenderness when touched around the knee cap.
- Weakness of muscles around the knee.
In this example, arthritis of the knee joint or the joint between the knee cap and thigh bone (patello-femoral joint).
Treatment optionsGentle ‘hands-on’ movements of the knee joint and knee cap help to increase the movement of the knee joint and reduce pain. Ultrasound is a useful tool that can stimulate healing in the joint. Interferential therapy is also useful to reduce knee pain and swelling, possibly accompanied by ice. Soft tissue massage encourages reduction in swelling, and taping will help support the joint and allow it to heal. Tailored exercises can also help improve strength, mobility and balance.
The physiotherapist will give helpful advice on walking pattern, using stairs, rest/exercise ratio, and other tips which will help fix your knee pain.
For example: walk a little more slowly, shorten stride, avoid limping – sometimes a stick can help with this.
What you can do
Try an ice pack over swollen areas (wrapped in a damp tea towel). Keep the knee gently moving and avoid the aggravating activity to allow healing. Call us for expert guidance and relieve knee pain with physiotherapy.