How to Help Knee Pain with Osteopathy
The largest joint in the body is the knee, which unfortunately means it is also one of the most commonly injured as it is major weight bearing. Bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons make up the knee joint. It lies between the thighbone, known as the femur and the shinbone, known as the tibia. At the front is the kneecap or patella. Articular cartilage covers the back of the kneecap and the ends of the thighbone and shinbone so that it slides easily over the bones so that the leg can straighten or bend.
The meniscus cartilage acts like “shock absorbers” between the thighbone and shinbone to help add padding and to stabilize the joint. The collateral ligaments control the sideways motion of the knee and supports it against unfamiliar movements. The inside is the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the outside lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
The back and forth movement of the knee is controlled by the cruciate ligaments and is found on the inside of the knee joint. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) cross over each other to create an “X”. These ligaments keep the knee stable by holding the bones together. Tendons are used to keep muscles connected to bones. The quadricep tendon connects the muscles in the front of the thigh to the kneecap and the patellar tendon connects the shinbone to the kneecap. Then there is the synovial fluid which is the joint capsule that surrounds the joint and lubricates it.
Symptoms from knee pain may include: pain, stiffness, aching, locking, swelling, limping, difficulty straightening or bending, weakness, instability, or noises like popping, clicking and crunching.
Minor Injuries: muscular strain
Moderate Injuries: soft tissue damage such as meniscus irritation, ligament strain or pulled tendons
Severe Injuries: fractures, meniscus tears, ligament tears, tendon separation
Some causes from knee pain:
- Wear and tear under the kneecap- such as going upstairs or doing deep knee bends
- Abnormal changes in the direction of up and down slide of the kneecap- commonly due to an imbalance in the muscles controlling this movement
- A tear or trapping of the meniscus- typically after a bending and twisting movement through the knee. This often produces symptoms of locking, giving-way and/or swelling
- Ligament damage- most often via a sideways stress on the knee, usually resulting in feeling of instability
- Foot problems- a bad back or hip can change how we use and stress the knee
- Prolonged kneeling at work or on hard surfaces
The Osteopath will review your symptoms and medical history and do a physical examination of your body. The Osteopath will then use manual manipulation to stretch muscles, enhance joint mobility, reduce inflammation, promote healing and rebalance the fundamentals of your body. You may also be provided with some stretches and exercises to be used at home.
The Osteopath will not be able to determine how many treatment you will need until they have examined you at your initial assessment.