The knee joint is actually two separate joints, the weight-bearing tibiofemoral joint between the tibia (shin bone) and the femur (thigh bone), and the patellofemoral joint (PFJ) where the patella (knee cap) slides up and down a groove in the femur as we bend and straighten our knee.
The purpose of the PFJ is to give our quadriceps more leverage when straightening the knee making them more efficient. Most of the injuries to the knee occur due to excessive lateral and rotational stresses. These stresses can occur with one sudden forceful event causing ligament injuries or tears to cartilage structures such as the medial or lateral meniscus. Careful assessment of the severity of these injuries is important as sometimes surgery is required for satisfactory outcomes.
Other injuries include patellofemoral pain syndrome (when the patella slips out of its groove when gliding up and down, creating friction with the thigh bone), patella tendinopathy or illiotibial band (ITB) friction syndrome (‘runner’s knee’). These injuries result mostly from smaller but repetitive lateral and rotational stresses over a longer period time ultimately leading to irritation of tissues and pain. Other common causes of knee pain are osteoarthritis, ligament sprains and patella dislocation. Effective treatment focuses on decreasing or eliminating any excessive lateral and rotational stresses that exist thus facilitating ‘straight-line’ mechanics of the knee. Identifying and treating underlying factors that drive these stresses underpins the treatment process. Knee pain may also originate from above or below joints and body structures. Poor muscle control of the hip and pelvis, as well as collapsed arches such as those seen in flat feet or high arches reducing shock absorption may disrupt the normal biomechanics in the lower limb and cause knee pain too. Physiotherapy treatment for knee pain will vary depending on your particular condition and may include cryotherapy, electrotherapy, compression, manual therapy, taping, dry needling, gait re-education and a tailored exercise program.
See also - Jaw Pain, Shoulder, Elbow & Forearm, Wrist & Hand, Pelvic Pain, Hip & Groin, Thigh, Knee, Shin, Foot, Head & Neck, Upper Back/Thoracic Spine, Lower Back, Buttocks, Calf & Achillies Tendon, Ankle
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