Are you hobbling instead of walking these days? Do you fear that your active lifestyle is the thing of the past? Do your hips and knees simply refuse to do their jobs without causing you intense pain? If your quality of life has been drastically reduced by knee pain and/or hip pain, you may be looking for a path to relief that doesn’t involve drugs or surgery. Physical therapy is a conservative approach can that not only ease your hip or knee but also improve the function of these critical weight-bearing joints. You can learn more by contacting Washington Physical Therapy & Rehab physical therapist today!
Understanding Hip and Knee Pain
Your hip and knee joints have a tough job to do. The hips must bear the entire weight of your upper body, while your knees must bear all of that weight plus the weight of the hips and thighs. At the same time, these joints must be able to flex so that you can walk, run, dance, sit, play sports, and perform other everyday tasks without losing your balance. It’s not hard to understand how these demands can produce chronic hip or knee pain over time. Hip or knee pain can also come about quite suddenly (and intensely) in response to an acute injury.
Causes and Symptoms of Hip and Knee Pain
Hip and knee pain can be caused by a great number of problems. Some of these are related to musculoskeletal misalignment, poor posture, and/or excess weight; others occur as the result of natural aging or unhealthy sports/work habits. Your hip or knee pain may stem from:
- Osteoarthritis, a painful inflammatory condition involving deteriorated joint cartilage
- Postural/alignment issues that throw your body off balance, straining the knees or hips
- Bursitis, an inflammation of the friction-reducing sacs surround the joints
- Tendinitis or stretched ligaments
- Runner’s knee, an instability of the kneecap
- Traumatic injuries such as dislocation of the joint
Our physical therapist can often tell the cause of your hip or knee pain from its location. For example, pain along the inside of the hip is more likely to be caused by a problem with the bones or cartilage. Pain along the outer side is typically caused by a problem in the muscles, tendons or ligaments.
How Physical Therapy Helps Hip and Knee Pain
Once our physical therapist has isolated the underlying cause of your hip or knee pain, we can prescribe techniques to help you start feeling — and moving — more like your old self. Physical therapy for hip or knee pain may start with passive exercises, in which we move the afflicted joint for you to increase its pain-free range of motion. Exercises that reduce the amount of weight on the joints can also be extremely helpful. For instance, we may recommend swimming or water walking as a means of exercising the hips and knees without also forcing them to bear your full weight.
Other types of exercises can also help you overcome your hip or knee pain while improving joint function. Strengthening exercises help by reinforcing the muscles and connective tissues that serve the joint. Corrective exercises and neuromuscular re-education can help you maintain a straighter, more symmetrical posture.
Last but not least, physical therapy offers a variety of helpful modalities beyond exercise. We may treat your joint pain with heat, ice, and manual therapies such as massage, just to name a few.
Are you ready to reclaim your pain-free mobility through physical therapy? Contact our physical therapist for an appointment!