This is caused by many reasons and most resolve with time and if symptoms persist, physiotherapy can resolve most issues. Certainly don’t consider surgery before having correct rehabilitation. If conservative measures don’t work you should not be worse – the same can not be said of surgery.
Knee arthritis (Osteoarthritis)
“We do not wear out: we rust out.” The myth that joints wear out is wrong and if we use the joint sensibly it will last longer than you! Knee pain is a result of damage to the cartilage (thick discs between the two bones that reduce the stress between them).
Rehabilitation with knee arthritis aims to change your view about your joint and show you how to walk correctly and begin increasing your activity levels again. Research clearly demonstrates that an active programme aimed at restoring movement, control and strength does work in reducing pain and returning function. Don’t have surgery before trying conservative treatment. Your knee joints have the potential to improve if you learn a few new ideas and start living again.
A ligament is a band of tissue that connects two bones together to provide joint stability and helps to control movement. A ligament has some elastic qualities, but if stressed beyond those limits it will be damaged (e.g. rupture or complete tear). A partial tear of a ligament will repair with the formation of scar (connective) tissue and in the case of a rupture the ligament will not repair. However, muscles around a damaged joint may compensate for a ruptured ligament, but if this is not successful, surgery may be required.
Physiotherapy following a ligament injury aims to optimise recovery and gradually increase the stresses across the ligament (damaged tissue responds to controlled movement to stimulate the healing process). If surgical repair is required, physiotherapy helps to regain the patients control around the damaged joint by strengthening muscle across the joint and regaining co-ordination of the limb before returning to previous sport or function.
Anterior Knee Pain
This is usually a result of altered tracking of the patella (knee cap) as it runs over the anterior surface of the knee. Going down stairs or sitting with the knee flexed for long periods (sometimes called ‘movie goers knee’) can often elicit symptoms. Physiotherapy for most anterior knee pain (click to link to hear Matt discussing knee pain in cyclists) requires that the alignment of the patella is changed by strengthening the muscles that control the tracking and by reducing the stresses on the patella using taping techniques.
Additionally, it is sometimes necessary to treat the hip and foot, as abnormal movement within either of these joints can lead to altered patella tracking.