Knee pain is common and can originate from several different structures in the knee whether it be bone, ligament, meniscus or the knee cap. Also, because of the knee joint’s proximity to the hip and foot, there can be compensations in the knee that arise from dysfunction in the hip and/or foot. That is why it is important to get a full evaluation of the lower half of the body.
Common reasons for knee pain:
- Ligament tear is usually a result of direct trauma where an outside force compromises the knee joint and the ligaments tear. This can be a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament) or LCL (lateral collateral ligament). Many of these injuries require surgery, but there are some ligament tears that do not necessarily need surgery.
- Meniscus injury can be a result of wear and tear, twisting of the knee or direct trauma. Either way, the meniscus can become injured causing pain, swelling and/or locking of the knee. Not all meniscal injuries need surgery and there can be success with proper rehabilitation.
- Patellar tendonitis is usually a result of poor biomechanics of the knee cap. There is an imbalance in the gliding of the kneecap that aggravates the cartilage behind the knee. It tends to glide more laterally and can result in pain, clicking sounds, swelling and soreness in activities or long bouts of sitting.
- Arthritis which is joint inflammation and the most common type is osteoarthritis (joint degeneration). The increased inflammation in the joint affects the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons leading to pain and stiffness. Normal ‘wear and tear’ can put more stress through the joint and break down the cartilage.
Pilates and Physical Therapy can help with the proper biomechanics of the entire lower body to help rehab the injury and prevent further damage.