It is estimated that 75% of the population will experience knee pain at some time in their lives. As society has placed an increased value upon the merits of exercise and eating healthy, more Americans are getting up and moving. Despite the inherent benefits of exercise to achieve optimum health, we are at greater risk for injury. Knee pain and injury transcends both age and physical condition, with the entire population at risk for a knee injury.
Why are knee injuries so common you might ask? The knee is the largest joint in the body. By design, the knee is a sophisticated structure, consisting of a system of joints and muscles, which ultimately attach to the leg. When this infrastructure is overextended or out of alignment, knee pain is the result. If one of the connecting leg muscles is injured, the knee absorbs the impact and attempts to compensate for the injury. The result is injury to the knee itself. Aside from the connective tissue, the knee itself is as strong as it is fragile. The meniscus, a thick pad of cartridge between the two joints formed by the femur and tibia, is relied upon to absorb great pressure and weight of the human body. Fluid filled sacks called bursae, reduce friction. When the meniscus is injured, friction causes pain.
When is it time to see a therapist for my knee pain?
It is common to experience pain and swelling for minor knee injuries. In this instance, applying ice and resting the knee should alleviate the condition. Pain and swelling that lasts for more than 48 hours should be examined by a doctor. In addition, frequently recurring pain that lasts less than a 24-hour period is also a sign of a greater problem.
Physical therapists develop a specific treatment plan for your particular injury. Typically, treatment plans include resistance therapy, ice packs, massage therapy, and aquatic therapy. Physical therapists have also been instrumental in restoring the knee to a healthy state, eliminating the need for invasive knee surgery.