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How Physical Therapy Can Help Relieve Chronic Knee Pain

Did you know that one in four adults and approximately 30 million Americans of all ages suffer chronic knee pain? This type of pain can be a debilitating and is the third most common reason people visit a physical therapist. Twin Boro physical therapists are highly trained professionals who specialize in treating challenging cases of chronic knee pain that haven’t responded to standard treatments or home remedies. If you’re suffering from chronic knee pain, consulting with a Twin Boro physical therapist may help you manage your symptoms and resume activities that you enjoy. In this article, we will discuss the reasons for chronic knee pain and how physical therapy can help with pain management.

What is Chronic Knee Pain?

Chronic knee pain lasts more than 8 to 12 weeks and may not be due to a specific injury. A study revealed that chronic knee pain was more prevalent in women than men (32.2% in men and 58% in women). Most knee pain is acute or short-term, lasting a few days to a few weeks. Acute knee pain is often related to a specific injury, such as a ligament sprain. Some knee pain is sub-acute, lasting between 4 to 14 days. And a significant percentage of chronic knee pain may be lasting more than six months. At Twin Boro, our physical therapists will assess various factors, such as strength, function, range of motion, balance, and body mechanics, to determine how they can assist you in managing your chronic knee pain.

What are the Symptoms of Knee Pain?

The severity of pain may vary depending upon the cause and affected structures, but some of the main symptoms of knee pain include:

  • Swelling and stiffness of knee
  • Sharp, shooting pain
  • Limited range of motion
  • Dull burning discomfort
  • Redness and warmth to the touch
  • Weakness or instability
  • Popping or crunching noises
  • Inability to fully straighten the knee

What Causes Chronic Knee Pain?

There can be various causes of chronic knee pain, and most of the time, it is the result of some underlying impairments that need to be identified and treated properly. Some of the leading causes and conditions include:

  • Arthritis: 100 types of arthritis exist, but the most common ones affecting the knee are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis.
  • ACL injury: It’s a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament.
  • Tendinitis: It is the inflammation or irritation of one or more tendons.
  • Knee bursitis: Inflammation in the bursae due to knee injury.
  • Dislocation kneecap: Kneecap dislocation due to injury or accident may cause pain to linger.
  • Torn meniscus: A tear in one or more cartilage often due to sudden knee twisting.
  • Iliotibial band syndrome: It happens when the tough band of tissue on the lateral (outside) of the hip to knee becomes tight and rubs against structures along its path.

What Causes Knee Pain Become Chronic?

As the knee ages, the protective cartilage of the knee wears away, causing the bones to rub together, which leads to pain. Here are some points to consider:

  • Knee pain that lasts longer than four to eight weeks without adequate explanation.
  • Chronic knee pain is a symptom, not a diagnosis.
  • The underlying cause can usually be identified with a physical exam, diagnostic tests, and/or imaging studies such as an MRI.
  • Knee pain can become chronic after a person has suffered an injury or surgery.

Who is at Risk for Knee Pain?

Knee pain can affect anyone at any age, although the cause may vary. According to a study, the number of people affected by knee pain increases due to age and obesity/overweight when compared to the general population. Some common risk factors include:

  • Excessive weight: Being obese increases the stress on the knee and the probability of developing knee pain.
  • Lack of muscle flexibility: Lack of muscle strength and flexibility increases the risk of knee injuries.
  • Certain sports or occupations: Some sports or occupations put a lot of stress on the knee compared to others, like basketball and construction.
  • Previous injury: A previous injury increases the risk of injury of not only the same side but the opposite side as well.

5 Ways Physical Therapy Can Help with Relieve Knee Pain

Physical therapy is a key component of managing chronic knee pain. The physical therapist will assess your symptoms and determine which interventions can help decrease your knee pain. Here are five ways physical therapy can help:

  1. Physical therapy can help with swelling and pain.
    • The interventions at Twin Boro contribute to decreasing knee pain and swelling.
  2. It can also improve joint range of motion.
    • Arthritis rehabilitation helps to improve the joint mobility improving joint lubrication, strength, and range of motion.
  3. It can increase strength in the muscles around the knee joint.
    • Physical therapy strengthens the muscles and improves knee power.
  4. It can help prevent secondary injuries.
    • People involved in multidirectional sports such as soccer, basketball, and volleyball can benefit from a pre and in season training program designed by a physical therapist to decrease the risk of knee injury.
  5. It can help manage an overall healthy lifestyle.
    • Twin Boro aims to maximize and improve the quality of patients’ lives.

When Should You See a Physical Therapist for Chronic Knee Pain?

Physical therapy can help manage chronic knee pain through improved mobility, strength, and range of motion. You should immediately consult a physical therapist when you feel:

  • Your knee is unstable or can’t bear weight.
  • Your knee is swollen.
  • An obvious deformity in your knee or leg.
  • Severe pain associated with or without an injury.

Why Choose Twin Boro for Physical Therapy for Chronic Knee Pain?

Chronic knee pain is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be debilitating. It becomes a chronic issue when knee pain lingers for over three to four weeks. At Twin Boro, our talented physical therapists prioritize pain relief and patient wellbeing, ensure that each patient receives the best possible care and treatment, and develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Visit a Twin Boro physical therapy location today and let us help you get back to doing what you love!

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