Your knees are both the most complicated and largest joints in your body. They are also very vulnerable due to the massive amount of weight they bear and the complexity of the surrounding ligaments, cartilage and muscles. When standing, our knees support 1 times our body weight, when running this increases to 4 times of jarring that the knee has to absorb.
The knee joint is the connection between the longest bone in our body, the femur or thigh bone, and the tibia, or shin bone. The patella or knee cap sits in a groove formed between the connection of these two bones and slides and glides freely as the knee bends and extends. Between the femur and tibia is a shock absorbing meniscus which prevents bone on bone compression during any jarring or twisting movements. Then 2 deep cruciate ligaments and two superficial side collateral ligaments connect bone to bone and prevent excessive forward/backward or sideways shearing stresses.
Knee injury can occur from an acute injury, for example a rugby tackle, fall or landing awkwardly playing Netball, or can be more chronic in nature, for example excessive running with poor foot biomechanics, or osteoarthritis. Whatever the injury, it usually results in knee pain, loss of range of motion, joint stiffness, weakness, and possible knee instability or clicking, overall limiting your ability to function with normal activities of daily living.
How Physio mechanics can help:
If left untreated minor knee injuries can cause long term complications. Physio mechanics can help. On your first visit we will perform a thorough initial assessment allowing us to confirm your diagnosis and answer any questions you have. From there we will devise an individualised short term treatment plan to relieve your current symptoms, and a long term plan to prevent future reoccurrences. Common knee physio treatments include massage, patella and knee joint mobilisations, orthotic therapy, K taping, and stretching and strengthening exercises. If you are suffering from any knee aches or pains ring today and arrange an appointment with one of our expert staff.
Some common knee injuries we treat are:
Meniscus Sprain/Tear – Our medial and lateral meniscus are the shock absorption cartilage that sits between the thigh and shin bone similar to the discs in our lower back between the vertebrae. They are there to prevent bone on bone compression. However with a sudden jarring or twisting movement at the knee under load, the meniscus can be sprained or even torn. Usually a meniscus injury is characterised by swelling, and pain with weight bearing, twisting or end of range extension. A meniscal tear usually has an audible click with certain knee movements, and an even larger tear may cause knee locking.
Ligament Sprain/Tear – We have 2 deep ligaments connecting the thigh and shin bone – the anterior cruciate and the posterior cruciate ligaments. They prevent excessive forward and backwards movement on each other. We also have a medial collateral ligament that connects the two bones on the inside of the knee and a lateral collateral ligament doing the same on the outside of the knee. These prevent excessive sideways movement. However, during an extreme acute force, for example a rugby tackle, fall or awkward netball landing, we can stretch these ligaments causing inflammation (sprain) or we can stretch them to the point of rupture. Along with the usual pain and swelling of an acute knee injury, a ligament injury is usually characterised by instability, and a feeling of the knee wanting to ‘give way’.
Patellofemoral Pain – patellofemoral pain occurs when there is a biomechanical issue usually stemming from a muscle imbalance that causes the kneecap to not slide and glide correctly in the groove formed by the femur and tibia. The kneecap usually is pulled laterally by tight lateral structures such as the IT band and the undersurface of the kneecap rubs excessively causing anteromedial knee pain, irritation and inflammation. Activities that require quadriceps contraction, for example going down stairs, kneeling, squatting and running, are therefore painful and restricted. Another common complaint is pain with prolonged sitting for example driving or behind the computer desk.
Knee osteoarthritis or knee replacement – Over time unfortunately due to previous injury, excessive loading, poor foot/knee biomechanics, or genetic predisposition, our knee cartilage and joint surfaces do break down. This excessive wear and tear reduces our shock absorption mechanism and we are more prone to disabling pain, swelling, knee stiffness and weakness. Knee osteoarthritis usually gradually worsens untreated, and is worse in the cooler months. In severe cases, a knee replacement may be necessary where they replace the diseased structures with artificial parts creating a knee joint that functions much better.