Physical Therapy for Knee Pain
Knee pain is often the result of injury, a mechanical issue or arthritis. One injury that causes knee pain is a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL); a mechanical issue that causes knee pain is a dislocated knee cap. There are many types of arthritis that cause knee pain; two of the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Treating knee pain with physical therapy can minimize or eliminate pain, and restore movement.
Therapeutic Methods for Treating Knee Pain
To help control pain and swelling, initial physical therapy treatments include ice, electrical stimulation, and massage. As healing begins, exercises are often used to increase movement and mobility. Physical therapy exercises focused on improving the strength, control and movement of the knee include the following:
- Range-of-motion exercises
- Muscle-strengthening exercises
- Balance training
- Weight-bearing activities (weight is gradually increased)
Physical therapists show patients how to perform exercises correctly, and often use hands-on stretches to loosen tight muscles. Balance exercises are used to stabilize and control the knee. Strength exercises focus on key muscle groups, including those in the buttock, hip, thigh and calf. Endurance exercises may be introduced with the use of a stationary bike or lap swimming. Exercises are sometimes performed in a pool because the buoyancy of the water helps a person to exercise without putting too much pressure on the injured area.