Did You Know?
Research and professional advances are helping to improve the ways physical therapists help people with knee pain.
Ways Physical Therapy Can Help
Most treatments will involve more than one of the following, but will focus on what patients need the most:
- Exercise prescription and performance with a physical therapist
- Manual therapy
- Treating the whole person
- Weight loss
- Education, activity modification, and appropriate dosing
- Local or systemic inflammatory process
- Improving active lifestyle
Knee Osteoarthritis Performance Tool (KOPT)
KOPT is a new tool being implemented and researched within TAI clinics in the Portland area to assist in training the knee for the specific activities an individual wishes to perform. It helps therapists determine if the knee is “fit” enough to perform activities without pain or poor form that leads to greater osteoarthritis progression.
There are many ways that physical therapy can assist people with knee osteoarthritis. It will vary based on the individual and will likely involve multiple modes of treatment. Research supports physical therapist-supervised exercise, manual therapy, weight loss, and a variety of other interventions. If possible, it is important to try physical therapy before knee osteoarthritis is severe, because there is more potential for improvement and slowing down progression. However, physical therapy can still help to an extent, even if knee osteoarthritis is severe.
Patellofemoral (Kneecap) Pain
Patellofemoral Pain is the second-most prevalent source of knee pain in adults and teenagers. Pain in the kneecap area is usually present going down stairs, squatting, or after prolonged sitting. The good news is that a host of physical therapy interventions have been proven effective for this type of pain:
- Hip and core strengthening
- Foot/ankle support or strengthening
- ASTYM or other manual therapy interventions
- Treatment of factors leading to more sensitive nerves in the knee
- Running analysis
It has been established that kneecap pain improves with physical therapy. Interventions are chosen by a physical therapist based on the presentation of the patient. Individuals should not have to live with kneecap pain, and there is little evidence that bone structure is a primary contributing factor.
Based on increasing emphasis on functional exercises and testing in rehabilitation, we utilize a battery of functional testing and video analysis to assist in rehabilitating patients to a higher level of performance than before injury.
Here are some additional ways we can assist in the prevention of ligament injuries:
- Functional tests and video analysis to help identify who is at risk of knee injuries.
- A variety of options are available for athletes at risk of knee ligament injuries. Physical Therapists can work with athletes to identify best options for improving risk and re-assess risk after intervention.
General Tips for Knee Health
- Maintenance of healthy weight is key
- Overall fitness is also key, especially when it involves a variety of activities and doesn’t push through considerable pain
- How one walks or runs, especially if done frequently, has great bearing on knee health
- Systemic factors can make a difference (ex. inflammation in body, stress, etc.)
- If you have a previous history of knee injury or some level of osteoarthritis, it is good to consult an expert