We regularly see a large number of patients with knee pain (including kneecap pain) or knee injuries. Unique therapeutic programs have been developed to enhance the recovery of our knee injury and knee pain patients.
Knee injury may be the result of sports injuries, work, auto injuries or slips and falls. Knee pain is frequently the result of arthritis, bursitis, wear and tear or overuse. Runner's knee or chondromalacia patella (damage to the cartilage under your kneecap) is an example of a knee injury or pain caused by overuse.
Children between the ages of 11 to 14 may encounter an overuse syndrome that causes pain, swelling and tenderness over the bony prominence of the upper shinbone (tibial tuberosity) just below the kneecap (patella). The condition is known as Osgood-Schlatter Disease (see treatment) and usually occurs during periods of rapid growth.
While there are some similarities in the treatment approach of knee injuries and knee pain, a generic approach to knee injuries or knee pain is unadvisable. Each patient requires a treatment program that is customized to their particular knee problem.
Registered physiotherapists are trained in the assessment and treatment of knee problems. Frequently, knee problems are miss-managed or left untreated. This can result in the development of chronic knee pain and further complications. Knee injuries and knee pain, both acute or chronic, respond exceptionally well to our therapeutic approach. Our therapy is also very effective for post surgical patients and patients with artificial joints or screws.
The knee is a “hinge” type joint that allows the leg to bend and straighten. The knee is also a weight bearing joint that is susceptible to injury and arthritis.
There are three compartments to the knee joint. The inner and outer compartments are located between the thigh bone (femur) and the lower leg bone (tibia). The third compartment is the knee cap (patella). All three compartments may be injured or may become arthritic.
Advanced Physiotherapy Treatment for Knee Pain
Gone are the days when a tendon problem was treated strictly with anti-inflammatory medications and rest. Inflammation is part of the healing process. While chronic inflammation is bad, it has been found that anti-inflammatories at the acute stage can impair the healing process and should be held in reserve for chronic inflammatory conditions.
Traditional treatment includes elevation, ice and muscle toning exercises. For certain conditions, tens or ultra sound may be included in the treatment plan. Depending on the nature and extent of the injury, recovery with these methods may take any where from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.
At LightSpeed we have developed an advanced treatment plan that uses low intensity laser therapy in combination with physiotherapy and active exercise. Our laser therapy plan utilizes three different wavelengths and intensity of light to accelerate healing by increasing circulation, lymphatic drainage and cellular repair.
Laser therapy is painless and speeds the recovery rate by up to four times. In addition, researchers have found that laser therapy reduces scar tissue formation in torn muscles, ligaments and tendons. With less scar tissue, elasticity of ligaments and tendons are maintained, repaired ligaments and tendons are stronger and the potential for a return of complete range of motion is enhanced. Ultimately, the potential for re-injury is reduced and the recovery time is also reduced.
Active exercise is initiated once joint pain and swelling are reduced. Active therapy consists of range of motion exercises, education and progression to strengthening activities when appropriate.
This combined approach is highly effective when treating all knee problems, including post knee surgery recovery. The Advanced physiotherapy treatment for knee pain has been clinically proven to reduce recovery times by 30% or more.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis also respond very well to laser therapy. In addition to resolving joint inflammation quickly, laser therapy also promotes the drainage of accumulated fluids in the knee. (For a clinical study on the effectiveness of laser therapy for osteoarthritis, Click Here)
Researchers have also found that torn and worn cartilages also undergo tissue repair when exposed to low intensity laser therapy. The inner membrane of synovial joints is called the synovial membrane, which secretes synovial fluid into the joint cavity. This fluid forms a thin layer (approximately 50 micrometres) at the surface of cartilage, but also seeps into micro cavities and irregularities in the articular cartilage surface, filling any empty space. The fluid within articular cartilage effectively serves as a synovial fluid reserve. During normal movements, the synovial fluid held within the cartilage is squeezed out mechanically (so-called weeping lubrication) to maintain a layer of fluid on the cartilage surface. As we age, the synovial membrane may become desiccated. The joint becomes dry and abrasive. Laser therapy stimulates the production of synovial fluid, resulting in joint pain and inflammation.
In the past, rest has been the prescription of choice for children with Osgood-Schlatter disease. Since Osgood-Schlatter disease commonly afflicts active children (30% of boys between the ages of 13 and 14 encounter Osgood-Schlatter disease), prescribing several weeks of rest is impractical and unnecessary. In our practice, we have found that three to five 30 minute treatments of low intensity laser therapy over a five to ten day period usually alleviates knee pain and minimizes the potential for long-term complications. Once the treatment is completed, children can usually resume their normal activities pain free.
The net result of our advanced physiotherapy program is reduced knee recovery time with improved soft tissue repair.
Common Reasons for Knee Pain:
Acute Injuries: Broken bones, torn cartilage, ruptured ligaments, ruptured quadriceps, sprained ligaments, severe knee strain, bruising and arthritis. Most acute injuries cause severe pain and swelling.
Subtle injuries may cause less swelling and pain. This may be the result of partial tendon or cartilage tears or ligament sprains. Usually, this results in some difficulty in walking or bending the leg. Subtle injuries can become chronic. Ignoring a subtle injury is usually ill-advised.
Overuse: This can result in painful knee caps, chondromalacia patella, arthritis flares, bursitis and joint effusion; also know as “water on the knee”. The pain usually increases as you walk up or down stairs. Squatting, kneeling, or sitting with your knee bent may also be painful. A grating or grinding sensation may occur when your knee is extended. Muscle imbalances in your knee can cause knee pain and can lead to injury. It is important to not only strengthen the muscles for your favourite sport but also to strengthen the opposing muscles as well.
Arthritis: Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis of the knee is very common. Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disease that is less painful at the beginning but gradually becomes more severe.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic disease which tends to have flare-ups or bouts of arthritis. This is usually accompanied with swelling, redness, morning stiffness and the joint feels warm or hot.
With LightSpeed’s combined laser therapy, physiotherapy and active therapy program, recovery times may be reduced by 30% to 50%.