Kick Your Pain to the Curb - Find Relief for Hip and Knee Discomfort With Physical Therapy
Do sharp pains in your hip make it difficult to get up in the mornings, move about during the day, and lie back down at night? Are your knees feel painful, or even feel as if they may buckle underneath you without warning? Hip joint pain and knee pain can seriously interfere with your life, especially if you are dealing with both. Whichever may be hurting you, physical therapy can help get to the root of your problem safely and comfortably, without the need for harmful drugs or surgery.
Why do I have hip joint pain and/or knee pain?
Hip and knee pains can be experienced together or separately, but it is important to note that as the old saying goes, your knee bone is connected to your hip bone, therefore what happens with one, affects the other. Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint that works to support the weight of your upper body, relying on multiple muscles and tissues to keep it mobile and stable so it can function properly. Your knee is a hinge joint, confined to forward-and-backward motions. Individually, your knees support more weight than the hips, 6 times your body weight when doing a squat. Proper movement of both your hip and knees allows complicated motions giving you the ability to stand, walk, run, and dance without falling over.
Pain felt in the hips and/or knees may originate in the joints themselves, but it may also be a result of an underlying condition in another part of the body. For example, your hips and knees are part of the same kinetic chain, meaning they make up a combination of weight-bearing joints that must function together in harmony in order for your body and posture to function properly. Therefore, a problem with your knee joint may transmit abnormal forces to your hips, and vice versa. If one part of the kinetic chain is out of balance, stress and deterioration may be placed on another.
What causes hip and knee pain?
Many times, the hips and knees suffer the same diseases, disorders, and injuries. For example, overuse injuries such as tendinitis and chronic muscle strain are common in both the hips and knees because both joints are constantly in use. They are also both subject to acute injuries, such as sprains, strains, and dislocation.
Hip and knee pain can also be affected by referred pain from a pinched sciatic nerve, as the nerve travels through both areas. Imbalances in your stance or gait may cause abnormal stresses and premature wear-and-tear in your hips and knees, resulting in painful symptoms or arthritis.
Some painful conditions may be specific to one joint or the other. Cartilage injuries known as labral tears are specific to hip pain, while inflammation of the bursa sacs known as bursitis is a specific condition affecting the knee joint. However, painful injuries that cause instability in the hips can also affect the knees. Tight hip flexor muscles and weak gluteus medius muscles can cause the hip to rotate inward without you realizing it. This can cause painful problems such as iliotibial band friction syndrome or patellofemoral stress syndrome, as stress is put on the knee or kneecap.
How will physical therapy relieve my hip and knee pain?
The physical therapy treatments at Washington Physical Therapy can help to greatly reduce your hip and knee pain. In many cases, it can even relieve it altogether, sparing you the need for potentially harmful medication or surgical correction. Our Kirkland, WA physical therapists will examine your hip and/or knee for signs of misalignment or structural damage, in addition to examining your stance, posture, gait, and range of motion. After your physical exam is complete, our physical therapists will prescribe a physical therapy plan for you, aimed at relieving unnatural stresses and strains, and normalizing your joint function.
You will be given targeted exercises designed for relieving joint pain and stabilizing weak hip and/or knee tissues. The exercises may vary depending on your condition; for example, research has demonstrated that those suffering from patella pain (kneecap pain) tend to respond better to exercises that focus on strengthening both the hips and knees, rather than just focusing on the knees alone.
You may also be given exercises designed to strengthen the core, including your lower back muscle groups, lower abdominal muscle groups, or pelvic muscles. Core exercises are aimed at straightening your posture and equalizing the weight load on both sides of your body. Additional specialized treatments may also be added as our physical therapists deem fit, such mobilizations to improve joint movement or other soft tissue treatments that relieve pain and promote the healing of damaged hip and/or knee tissues.
It is time to take a stand against your hip and knee pain. Contact Washington Physical Therapy today to speak with one of our dedicated Kirkland, WA physical therapists, and get started on the path toward long-lasting pain relief. Your hips and knees will be glad you did!
What causes knee pain?
Your knees are hinge joints that allow for the forward-and-backward motions within the joint.
The knee is one of the largest joints in your body, made up of a complex system of bones, tendons, and ligaments. Because of this, the knee can be easily injured due to overexertion or repetitive motions. Additionally, knee pain can be caused due to an underlying ailment. Some of the most common causes of knee pain are sprains, strains, fractures, tears, dislocation, tendinitis, bursitis, and arthritis.
What can I do to relieve knee pain?
There are some actions you can take on your own to relieve your knee pain, including wearing properly fitted shoes, using hot and cold remedies, stretching, and taking breaks from physical activity when noticing painful flare-ups. However, physical therapy is the best way to find consistent, long-lasting relief for your knee pain. Through manual therapy, strength training, flexibility training, balance training, and pain-specific exercises, physical therapy can get your knees moving comfortably once again.
How do I get rid of knee pain?
Frequently consulting with a physical therapist is the best way to continually manage your knee pain. Having a regular physical therapy checkup ensures that your joints are working at their peak performance. In addition, any problems will be discovered early, preventing the onset of arthritis and joint injury. If you do have arthritis or have had surgery, then a regular physical therapy check-up is especially important, in order to make sure that your knee pain remains at bay.
How do you diagnose knee pain?
Our physical therapists will examine your knee for signs of misalignment or structural damage, in addition to examining your stance, posture, gait, and range of motion. If needed, additional tests (such as x-rays) may be conducted. This will help determine the cause of your knee pain so we can treat it accordingly. After your initial evaluation is complete, your physical therapist will prescribe a physical therapy plan specifically for you, aimed at relieving unnatural stresses and strains, and normalizing your joint function.