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How do you treat long term knee pain?

We’ll go through the most common knee symptoms to watch out for, and what they could mean. How do you treat long term knee pain? Read on below to find out

Have you had knee pain for more than 3 months?

This type of pain can be mild and annoying, or quite severe and debilitating. Make sure you read on to see what you need to know about long term knee pain.

Common symptoms associated with long term knee pain:

  • Does your knee click when you squat?
  • Is your knee stiff and sore in the mornings?
  • Do you have pain at the back of your knee after sitting on the couch?
  • Maybe you don’t trust your knee when jumping or running?
  • Or you may have pain at the front of your knee walking down a hill or steps

Did you answer yes to these questions above?

Clicking, cracking, pain, catching and weakness are all signs of your knee not functioning well.

What do I do about my long term knee pain?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions above, you could be on the path to developing knee osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition, and is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs most frequently in the hands, hips and knees.

As osteoarthritis progresses, it can cause a lot of pain and start to limit your day to day activities. Many knee injuries, sports injuries and painful conditions of the knee can lead to osteoarthritis.

So what’s causing my long term knee pain?

The best way to find out is start with an assessment with a Physiotherapist. Often scans are not required initially, as Physiotherapists have a range of tests to help identify and diagnose your injury.

If you have pain in your knee, or near your knee, your Physiotherapist will test for the following things, to identify the source of your pain through observation and testing

  • Kneecap alignment issues
  • Strained or torn ligaments
  • Fat pad swelling and inflammation
  • Cartilage damage
  • Meniscus tear
  • Tendon pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain referred from your hip or low back

How can you treat long term knee pain?

The important first step is identifying the contributing factors to your knee pain. Your Physiotherapist will take a full history of your pain, understanding the things that increase and decrease your knee pain.

Then we will take your through a series of movements and tests that are appropriate to your situation. From this we can better understand why you are getting knee pain

Treatment for your long term knee pain will be specific to address what we find on assessment. Each persons knee pain is unique, and so treatment must be unique to that person too.

Often treatment includes:

  • Manual therapy like joint mobilisation and massage
  • Dry needling
  • Exercise therapy
  • Education
  • Advice on pain management and pacing
  • Strength based rehabilitation program
  • Movement re-training to offload painful structures

Is Physiotherapy the right treatment for knee pain?

Physiotherapists are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in treating knee pain, and a wide range of knee injuries. We can assess your knee function, meniscus and ligament integrity, joint health and overall function. We’re able to identify restrictions in movement, and issues with soft tissue structures around your knee like fat pad irritation and bursitis.

As Physiotherapists, we spend most of our week re-training movement patterns, teaching clients about how to make good progress after an injury, and reducing pain through hands on treatment and exercises.

Yes Physiotherapy is the right place to start for treatment of your knee pain.

Do I need knee surgery or a ‘clean out’?

There is clear evidence from research that physiotherapists with expert skills and knowledge can prescribe specific and correct exercises to improve knee pain. It has been shown that exercise therapy under supervision of a Physiotherapist is superior to arthroscopic surgery in most cases.

Do I need a scan for my knee pain?

Did you know that Physiotherapists can identify the cause of your knee pain, often without the need for any scans. It’s best to start with a Physiotherapy assessment, to get a good understanding of what is most likely causing your knee pain.

What is the best type of exercise for long term knee pain?

This is a very common question! The best type of exercise for your knee pain is the type that helps to reduce your knee pain. This may vary from one person to the next, but research shows that a structured, progressive strength based exercise program provides significant relief from knee pain. Read more about the GLA:D Program of Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis here. We offer this program at our Glenelg Physiotherapy Clinic, and see significant reductions in pain over the 6 week period.

So what do I do next?

At Aspire Physiotherapy & Pilates Glenelg, we have the skills and knowledge to treat all knee problems and injuries, prescribe the right exercises for you, and identify other aspects of your daily living that might be contributing to your knee pain.

Book in to see one of our knowledgeable Physiotherapists here