Osteoarthritis (Knee OA)
Osteoarthritis of the knee is a loss of cartilage between the thigh bone (femur), shin bone (tibia), and knee cap (patella). This can be caused by sudden injury or normal wear and tear. Factors that increase loss of cartilage can be increased weight, family history, or diabetes. Symptoms include joint stiffness, decreased range of motion, painful stairs, unsteady feeling of joint “giving out”. Goal: Improve flexion and extension, decrease inflammation and stiffness, increase knee and hip stabilization.
The meniscus is the cartilage between the femur and tibia providing cushion and allowing the two bones to glide without rubbing together. Meniscus tears can occur from wear and tear over time, or can be injured from a bending and twisting motion as seen in sports or a car accident. Symptoms include knee pain, stiffness, and swelling causing decreased range of motion. There is usually tenderness at the joint line and most painful with quick, pivoting movements. Popping, clicking, locking in knee, and a sense of knee giving out are all common complaints. Goal: Improve knee flexion and extension, decrease inflammation and stiffness, increase knee and hip stabilization.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee)
The knee joint includes the thigh bone (femur), shin bone (tibia), and knee cap (patella). The patella is controlled by quadriceps muscles and tendons and allow it to naturally move over the tibia and femur when bending the knee. When these structures become too tight or too loose the patella will not glide properly and will rub against the femur causing pain. Symptoms include a dull or aching pain located in front of the knee, occasionally pain is behind the knee or outside the knee. Pain increases with bending or squatting, stairs, sitting with flexed knee for prolonged periods. Avoid sitting or standing prolonged periods. Avoid increased activity requiring running or jumping while healing. Goal: Increase ROM and hip flexibility, decrease STRs in hips and quads, increase hip and knee stabilization.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band)
The ITB is thick band of connective tissue running down the lateral thigh from hip to knee. When the band becomes irritated it can cause pain most commonly at the lateral knee where the ITB connects. Common symptoms include pain at the lateral hip or shooting pain down length of ITB. Most commonly occurs in runners and cyclists and happens from overuse and weakened hip stabilizers. Avoid crossing legs, sleep with pillow between knees on your side. Decrease running, walking, cycling while healing. Goal: Increase hip and knee ROM and flexibility, and improve hip and knee stabilization.