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What is Knee Pain | Sakit Lutut

Knee pain is a common complaint among adults and is most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities like walking, bending, standing, and lifting. Knee pain can happen to people ranging from athletes who run or play sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting to elderly who lived sedentarily. Regardless of the causes of knee pain, it can be bothersome and sometimes even debilitating in some circumstances. Diagnosing a knee injury or problem includes a medical examination and usually the use of diagnostic procedures such as an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, or arthroscopy. Both non-operative and surgical treatment options are available to treat knee pain and problems depending on the type and severity of the condition.

Causes of knee pain

Traumatic Causes

When knee pain stems from a traumatic incident, it often involves strained muscles or sprained ligaments. Overstretching, sudden twists, or excessive use during exercise can trigger this pain. Athletes often face tendonitis or tendinopathy due to repetitive movements like jumping or running, causing discomfort around the kneecap or shin area.

Severe Traumatic Issues

More severe cases of knee pain involve torn ligaments, tendons, or menisci. This can result in knee instability, making it challenging to stand or abruptly stop movements. Popping sounds during injury are also common indicators.

Non-Traumatic Causes

For knee pain unrelated to trauma, osteoarthritis is a primary culprit, especially in those aged 45 and above. It’s a degenerative condition characterized by articular cartilage loss, leading to stiffness, climbing difficulty, and prolonged walking discomfort.

Chronic Conditions

Gout and rheumatic joint disease contribute to chronic knee pain, accompanied by warmth and redness around the joint. These conditions require assessment and consultation for accurate diagnosis and management.

Goals of Physiotherapy for Knee Pain

Relieve pain

Physiotherapists utilize different techniques such as electrotherapy, manual therapy, shockwave therapy, thermal modalities, and stretching to relieve knee pain.

Regain full or functional range of motion

Physiotherapists will prescribe exercise or stretching to improve joint mobility according to the patient’s goal which is necessary for the activity of daily living and various sports.  

Strengthen the adjacent muscle

Physiotherapists will use specific exercises to strengthen the adjacent muscle(s) that provides necessary support to the knee joint. This helps to reduce the stress on the joint and regain the normal function of the knee. 

Reduce inflammation and enhance healing

Physiotherapists use cryotherapy to reduce inflammation and modalities such as therapeutic ultrasound and extracorporeal shockwave therapy.

Prevent future injuries

Physiotherapists use various strategies such as strengthening, and proper body mechanic training to prevent future injuries.

Educate and provide advice on lifestyle modification

Physiotherapists educate on proper lifting mechanics and advice on the use of knee guards or tapings during sports activity.

When is Physiotherapy Recommended for Knee Pain?

Acute Injuries:

  • Muscle Strain: When a muscle is overstretched or torn, physiotherapy helps in managing pain, restoring strength, and promoting healing through targeted exercises and techniques.
  • Ligament Sprain: A sprain involves stretching or tearing of a ligament. Physiotherapy aids in stabilizing the knee joint, improving range of motion, and strengthening surrounding muscles to support the injured ligament.
  • Torn Ligaments: Severe ligament tears often require rehabilitation to regain stability and function in the knee. Physiotherapy aims to strengthen muscles around the knee to compensate for the injured ligament.
  • Torn Meniscus: Physiotherapy focuses on reducing pain and swelling, improving flexibility, and gradually reintroducing activities while protecting the healing meniscus.

Overuse Injuries:

  • Tendinopathy and Tendinitis: Physiotherapy assists in reducing inflammation, restoring normal tendon function, and strengthening the muscles around the knee to alleviate stress on the affected tendon. Techniques may include exercise programs and modalities to promote healing.

Degenerative Conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis: Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in managing pain, improving joint mobility, and preserving function. It involves exercises to strengthen the muscles supporting the knee, as well as techniques to reduce pain and improve overall knee mechanics.

Pre-Surgery and Post-Surgery:

  • Knee Replacement: Before surgery, physiotherapy aims to strengthen muscles and improve mobility, which can facilitate post-operative recovery. After surgery, rehabilitation focuses on restoring mobility, strength, and function of the knee joint.
  • Tendon Reconstruction, Meniscal Repair, Ligament Repair: Pre-operative physiotherapy helps in optimizing strength and range of motion. Post-operatively, it’s crucial for regaining function, restoring mobility, and preventing complications through specialized exercises and therapies.

Physiotherapy Treatment for Knee Pain Available in Synapse

  1. Manual Therapy
  2. Electrotherapy: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENs)
  3. Therapeutic Ultrasound therapy
  4. Radial  shockwave therapy 
  5. Cryotherapy
  6. Heat therapy
  7. Therapeutic exercise 
  8. Knee orthotic prescription 
  9. Weight management programme
  10. Activity modification advice

Common Question regarding Knee pain

Are there any exercises or stretches that can help alleviate knee pain?

Exercises and stretches can indeed help manage knee pain. Low-impact activities like swimming, cycling, and walking are gentle on the knees. Specific exercises focusing on strengthening the muscles around the knee, such as leg lifts, hamstring curls, and calf raises, can offer support. Stretching the quadriceps, hamstrings, and IT band can also alleviate tension and improve flexibility. However, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional or a physical therapist to get personalized exercises and avoid exacerbating the issue.

What lifestyle changes can I make to reduce knee pain?

Several lifestyle adjustments can ease knee discomfort. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces stress on the knees, so adopting a balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise helps immensely. Using proper footwear and supportive shoe inserts can alleviate strain. Avoiding high-impact activities that stress the knees excessively and using supportive gear during exercise, such as knee braces, can also be beneficial.

How long does it typically take for knee pain to heal?

The healing duration for knee pain varies significantly based on the cause and severity. Minor strains or sprains may improve within a few days to weeks with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). However, more severe injuries or conditions like ligament tears or osteoarthritis might require longer healing times, potentially months, and may necessitate medical intervention or physical therapy.

Are there any specific risk factors that make someone more prone to knee pain?

Numerous factors contribute to knee pain susceptibility. Excess weight places additional stress on the knees. Age plays a role, as older adults are more prone to wear-and-tear conditions like osteoarthritis. Previous knee injuries, poor posture, muscle imbalances, improper footwear, and engaging in activities that involve repetitive stress on the knees can all increase the risk of knee pain.

Aside from pain, what are the other symptoms of knee injuries and conditions?

Beyond pain, various symptoms can indicate knee issues. Swelling, stiffness, redness, warmth, and decreased range of motion are common. Clicking, popping, or locking sensations in the knee joint might signal underlying problems. Instability or difficulty bearing weight on the affected knee could indicate more severe injuries, such as ligament tears or cartilage damage. Seeking medical attention for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is crucial when these symptoms arise.