Statistics show that 40% of elderly Singaporeans have experienced pain in their knees for more than five years with women being more predisposed to having knee pain than men. There are a few factors that put your knees at risk of pain and early degeneration.
1) Being overweight or obese increases stress on your knee joints and knee caps, even during ordinary activities such as walking or going up and down stairs. Losing weight can significantly reduce the compressive force on your knees.
2) Having weak and tight muscles and a previous knee injury can also increase the risk of knee injuries. Strong muscles are needed to stabilize the knee joint while good flexibility allows the joint to move through its range of motion.
3) The sports that you play may put greater stress on your knees if it involves high impact pounding on to the joints. This also applies to occupations that involve prolonged standing or excessive heavy lifting.
Many knee problems are a result of continual wear and tear on the knee while others are a result of an injury or a sudden movement that strains the knee. There are many structures in the knee that can cause pain when injured or strained. These include ligaments, muscles, tendons, joint capsule, cartilage and menisci.
A sprained or strained knee ligament or muscle is usually caused by a traumatic incident such as a blow to the knee or a sudden twist of the knee. This may be accompanied by cartilage and menisci tears as well. On the other hand, inflammation of tendons are often due to overuse during certain activities such as jumping, running or cycling. Jumper’s knee is a common condition that often occurs with sports such as basketball and it presents with tendonitis of the patellar tendon. When the cartilage in the joint gradually wears off due to repeated excess stress on the knee joint, it is known as knee osteoarthritis. Knee osteoarthritis often affects the older population and is the most common cause of their knee problem.
If you are having knee pain with the following signs and symptoms, it is best to address it as soon as possible to prevent further strain or injury to the structures involved.
This is usually present in the early stage of the injury and may occur at the time of the injury to 48 hours after injury. Due to the excess fluid in the knee, the joint may be difficult to bend or straighten. Swelling must be well managed through rest, elevation, compression and cryotherapy.
Your knee may feel unstable when you are running or even walking. It may give way or buckle, causing you to lose balance or fall. This may be related to a muscle strain / tear or ligament injury / tear.
Determining if the knee is not bending as a result of pain or something inside physically impeding movement of the joint is important. A locked knee may be due to a meniscus tear, loose bony fragments or muscle tears. An X-ray or an MRI scan can be helpful to determine the cause.
This may be accompanied with swelling and are considered as signs of inflammation.
Audible and palpable crepitus accompanied with movement of the knee may indicate cartilage issues. These noises are heard when the joint surfaces are not gliding smoothly on top of one other, causing friction and wearing of the cartilage.
Your knee pain treatment is dependent on the severity and nature of your injury.
Your initial visit to see a physiotherapist would ensure a correct diagnosis and proper management of your knee pain. This can be achieved through a series of examinations such as gait evaluation, palpation, range of motion measurements, strength measurements, balance assessment and/or swelling measurements.
During the acute stage of the injury, physiotherapy aims to help to reduce pain and inflammation. Gentle massage, muscle activation and electrotherapy modalities can assist with that. It is important that you are participative in rehabilitation as some strengthening and stretching exercises will be given to help to fully restore the function of the knee. You also will discuss your goals with your physiotherapist so that there will be a mutual understanding of your expectations.
Like any other joints of the body, the knee gets painful when there is abnormal load on it. When the knee has an ideal alignment, the force going through the knee does not cause injury. Being the center joint of the leg, abnormal forces from the hip or ankle joint will always have an impact on the knee. At Balance Core, our physiotherapists are trained to always identify the root cause of knee pain. Our assessment of knee pain involves a detailed analysis of functional movements, aggravating movements and the entire lower limb strength, control and flexibility.
Through a series of guided exercises, facilitated muscle stretching, postural advice and activity modifications, we ensure that every client gets quality care and fastest recovery. To book an appointment please call us at 64582575, or message us at 91714325.