We get this question all the time. “I’m in my 40’s and want to exercise but the next day I am miserable” or “I played tennis and basketball and now my knees are really sore” or “I can’t go upstairs easily, and I’m really sore when I’m sitting for any length of time.” You may think you need knee surgery or to have a knee replacement to get this pain to go away. But this is not necessarily true. Let’s take a look at your options.
Why do my knees hurt?
Before we talk about why we hurt, we need to talk about normal anatomy first. Our knee joint contains 2 parts: the tibial/femoral joint and patellofemoral joint. The tibial/femoral joint connects the femur and the tibia together and the patellofemoral joint is the kneecap in front. We have different ligaments that connect the bones together, and a meniscus that sits between the tibia and the femur. These can get injured with trauma. The biggest thing that we have on each part of the bone is called articular cartilage. Articular cartilage is usually what wears away with age and intense physical activity. It acts as a coating for our joints just like coating on our pots and pans when we cook to protect food from sticking. As we age the articular cartilage wears down and can start to cause pain. (Ahh=articular cartilage – that’s the reason why I hurt!) So, here is the question I always get: should I stop exercising? The answer is NO – that will do the opposite of help in this situation. Instead, there are things we can do to hopefully keep you from needing surgery. Staying active with Physical Therapy is very important. With the right treatment plan and exercises, we can help you get back on track.
What can PT do to help?
There are a number of things that Physical Therapy can do to help those achy knees. Here are a few:
- Manual Therapy – our focus is on unloading the knee and taking pressure off your joints
- Exercises that won’t aggravate the knee
- these include hip drills: clams, clam lifts, band walks, RDLs, planks, etc (we give examples of these on social media and in our monthly recommended exercises)
- try to avoid exercises that will aggravate the knee (deep squatting, stepping down from something, etc)
- Wearing a Knee Sleeve – this can be helpful during activity to keep your knee warm and calm down your symptoms
- Taping – this is a great way to help your symptoms as well
- we can be specific to just your kneecap, or your tibial/femoral joint too, depending on the areas affected
If you have knee pain and have been avoiding getting treatment/diagnosis, come see us. Our job is to get you back to where you belong – as quickly as possible! Schedule an appointment here.