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EPISODE 30: The Simple Cure - Resolving Knee Pain with Ease

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

The problem with knee pain is that we think it is just gonna go away. But it's not. Getting your knee to feel better, however, does not have to be so complicated. It can be very simple.

Ongoing knee pain requires an investigation. It needs some TLC. You can't keep doing things that hurt your knee and expect it will get better. You also will not get better if you stop all activities and just "rest it."

The 2 simple keys to getting your knee to feel better are:

  1. Symptom Modification

  2. "Graded exposure."

You have to modify the things that aggravate your knee pain and keep doing things that feel good. It is really just that simple. Your knee might not like it when you run, but it feels okay when you deadlift. You then expose your knee to the things it does not like by reducing the difficulty of it to at a load it can handle. So your knee might not like running but it might be okay with walking. You keep walking until you can start jogging and then eventually running again.

The reason you need people like us is because we know how to guide you to do these things. Most people don't. Physical therapists are experts in this field. Others will claim to know how to do this. Chiropractors can not. Personal trainers can not. Even Sports Medicine physicians and Orthopedic surgeons can not. They are simply not trained in rehabilitating injury- just like we are not trained to perform an ACL reconstruction if it is indicated or design a weight loss program. We are not trained to do these things!

There are several reasons that one could be experiencing knee pain in the athletic population. Let's take a quick peak at the knee:

Knee Anatomy, Healthy Knee Joint

Some of the most common we see are:

Patellar Tendinopathy - a common overuse injury, caused by repeated stress on your patellar tendon resulting in tiny tears in the tendon.

MCL/LCL/PCL/ ACL sprains - when one of these ligaments is stretched too far

Medial or Lateral Meniscus tears- an injury to the meniscus (cartilage tissue) that is located on the inside/outside of the knee.

Pes Anserine Tendinopathy - inflammation of the 3 tendons (sartorius, gracilis and semitendinosus) that run along the inner lower aspect of the knee joint.

Hamstring and Quadricep Strains- overstretch, or pull, the quadricep or hamstring muscles.

Regardless of the diagnosis, we approach knee pain the same for all of these problems. Our goal is to ensure range of motion is normal, swelling is eliminated, and strength is normalized. We first focus on making sure you can perform your daily activities without difficulty and then we move to guiding you back to your recreational activities, hobbies and sports. The only thing different between each of these problems is that we see that each of them present a little different from each other. For example, if you have patellar tendinopathy, you might have pain with going down stairs but if you have a medial meniscus tear, you might report "catching" in your knee with walking. Based on these presentations and the things that are irritable we would design our programs a little different for each case.

So what is the take home for you? If you have insurance and can afford a Physical Therapist your best bet to getting rid of your knee pain is get some help from one. If this is not an option for you follow the advice above at the bare minimum. It is free and it will help reduce your knee pain. As a reminder that advice is:

You have to modify the things that aggravate your knee pain and keep doing things that feel good.

Tune in to our Knee Series where we go over each of the common conditions above to help you get a better understanding to each problem and how rehab can help it!

We hope you find this information helpful! Thank you for tuning in and subscribing to our BLOGS ! If you are interested in any specific topics let us know. You can drop us a comment or send us a message in IG, FB or via email.

Til next time,

Dr. Ja'nae Brown

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