Knee Pain SECRETS!
Warmer weather encourages us to get out and be active, but after winter hibernation, sometimes our knees don’t cooperate with our plans.
Why does my Knee Hurt?
The knee is a hinge joint and is susceptible to injury due to overloading the tissue, or trauma. Most of our weight bearing activities cause stress through the knee, and when the tissue isn’t strong enough pain and injury can occur.
Even though it is a hinge joint, allowing bending and straightening, the knee is injured most of the time with rotation of the knee as well as lateral forces. Strength and stability at the hip and ankle control these forces.
Common Knee Problems
Here are just a few of the most common injuries I see and how to identify them.
- Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome
Pain on the lateral knee. Pain provoked with repeated bending (such as running).
- Patellofemoral Pain
Pain due to tracking issues of the knee cap on the femur. Grinding or popping, Increased pain with stairs.
Inflammation or degeneration of the tendon resulting in pain with extending or squatting.
Degeneration of the cartilage of the knee resulting in stiffness and pain with bearing weight.
Keys to Treating the Knee
Strengthening of the ankle and hip should always be incorporated into treatment to control strain from rotation and lateral forces.
- Clamshells: Lay on your side with knee bent. Lift top leg like opening a clam but keep your hips still.
- Balancing on one leg: Practice balancing on one leg while catching or doing other motions with your arms.
- Side stepping with a band: Put a looped band around your ankles or knees and walk sideways keeping your feet facing forward.
- Bridging: Lay on your back with your knees bent. Lift bottom off the ground while holding your abdominals tight.
Motion’s lotion! Our joints like to move, and the knee is no different. Staying active helps keep the joint healthy and lubricated.
- Start a walking program
- Make sure what you do is something you enjoy so you will stick with it.
Stretching the muscles that cross the knee can help to reduce strain on the joint.
- Hamstring stretch: With your leg out straight, lean forward at the hips to stretch behind the knee and thigh.
- Calf Stretch: Put one leg back with the heel on the ground, lean forward until a stretch is felt in the calf.
Correct form, whether in running or lifting weights, is key to addressing the underlying problem so the pain doesn’t come back.
David Butler, DPT, OCS
Owner, Clinic Director
Utah Physical Therapy – Lehi