What is knee pain?
Knee pain is a common problem that we see here at Shefford Osteopathic Clinic. It is a common complaint that affects all age groups, has many different causes and can present in a number of ways. Once the knee joint has become symptomatic you may find that even the simplest of things such as walking and sitting become painful and your daily routine becomes a struggle.
Knee pain can be either referred pain or related to the knee joint itself. It will usually involve inflammation and swelling of the tissues around or in the knee joint. The pain can be at the front, at the back, on the sides, below the knee or in the knee cap itself.
The knee is a hinge joint which means it can bend, straighten and twist. There are 4 main ligaments which hold the joint together and stabilise it and then there are muscles which move the joint. The knee joint is the largest and one of the most complex joints in the body.
There are two parts to the knee joint: the tibiofemoral joint (thigh and shin bones) and the patellofemoral joint (knee cap).
The joint is held together and stabilised by 4 main ligaments called the anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and lateral collateral ligament.
You then have the muscles which move the joint – primarily the quadriceps and the front and hamstrings at the back.
The muscles are attached to the bones by tendon, for example the patellar tendon that attaches the quadriceps muscle to the front of the shin bone via the knee cap.
The ends of the bones are lined with articular cartilage and between the joint there are 2 extra pieces of cartilage called the menisci.
Finally there is the joint capsule which is like a bag that surrounds the joint and contains synovial fluid which nourishes and lubricates the knee.
Symptoms of knee pain
The location and severity of the pain can vary and will depend upon the cause of the problem. You may experience one or a combination of the following:
- Swelling and stiffness
- Redness and warmth to the touch
- Weakness or instability
- Popping or clicking/crunching noises
- Inability to straighten the knee
- Pain when kneeling or going down stairs
- Locking – where the knee gets stuck
- Pain when sitting for long periods
- Pain from running
You should call your GP or seek medical advice if you can’t bear weight on your leg, see obvious deformity in your leg or knee, or have a fever in addition to redness, pain and swelling in your knee.
Causes of knee pain
There are many causes of knee pain due to the complex nature of the joint. All of the structures mentioned above can be injured in different ways.
You can have injuries, mechanical problems, types of arthritis and other problems.
Common causes include:
- Muscle strain
- Sprain of ligaments
- Tear of meniscus
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sitting for long periods
- Problems with hips or feet and ankles
- Trauma from falls and collisions
Adolescents can experience knee pain when tendons and muscles put large amounts of strain on growth plates. Excessive activity, with little stretching and warm up is the cause of most knee pain, especially in young adults. This can lead to early wear and tear known as ‘degeneration’ or ‘arthritis’. As we get older we are more likely to suffer with arthritis and damage to the menisci.
How will osteopathy help?
The knee relies on the muscles and joints above and below in order to function properly and it is our experience here at Shefford Osteopathic Clinic that most knee pain is due to altered joint and muscle mechanics. We will review your symptoms and medical history and conduct a physical examination of your body – back, pelvis, knee, ankle and feet. We will then use a combination of hands–on techniques to improve joint mobility, stretch muscles, decrease inflammation, facilitate healing and rebalance the mechanics of your body.
We may also give your some stretches and exercises to increase the strength and flexibility of your knee and give advice on your posture when working, at home or enjoying sports.
We are fully trained to recognise if your condition should require medical intervention, or whether further investigations are required such as MRI and in such cases we will refer you to your GP. You may also like to see your GP if you require pain or anti-inflammatory medication.
It is difficult to say how many treatments you will need and how long it will take for you to recover until we have actually examined you. Having said that, if it is a minor injury in a young person this will usually resolve in a few weeks, whereas if it is a more elderly person with degenerative changes you may consider having regular maintenance treatments to keep you moving and pain free.
What to do now ……
If you’ve come to this website looking for help, then don’t in silence suffer any longer.
Contact us immediately on 01462 811006 for a consultation and let’s assess your condition.
At the assessment, we’ll take some details from you and build your case history. We’ll discuss why you’ve come to see us and where you have any aches and pains. Then we’ll examine you with the aim of giving you the appropriate treatment.
This will take a little while to complete, but it’s a necessary part of the ethical guidelines we work to. The guidelines are there to make sure everything is done professionally and to a high standard of patient care. I’m sure you agree that’s a good thing!
If you have any questions about what we do and how we do it, call us on 01462 811006 or use the contact form below – and we’ll be happy to help.