Knee Pain and Osteopathy
Knee pain is one of the most common causes of orthopaedic surgery performed in the United States. Usually, knee surgery is performed to relieve some painful or debilitating condition of the knee joint.
The knee is made up of a variety of structures that may become injured or show signs of wear and tear. These include: the bones of the knee – the femur (thigh bone) and lower leg (tibia), and the kneecap (the patella); the patellar tendon; the ligaments – anterior cruciate (ACL) and medial collateral (MCL) these hold the knee together; and the meniscus (a cartilaginous pad between the femur and tibia). Additionally, the ends of the femur and the patella are covered by cartilage (soft, cushiony tissue).Any of these structures may become injured or worn producing knee pain
Some of the more common knee conditions that may require osteopathic treatment are: strained or torn meniscus, mild degenerative arthritis, and strained ligaments.
The knee is a highly integrated mechanism, all types of surgery including arthroscopic surgery are invasive and cause scar tissue and can potentially disrupt the mechanics of the knee. Surgery should only be performed as a last resort when all other non-invasive treatments have not helped the patient.
A rehabilitative program should always be performed after knee surgery, even if you are pain free. The knee relies highly on muscle strength and you may not be aware that your knee is weak. It is essential to regain strength.
Diagnosis and Osteopathic Treatment for Knee Pain
Your osteopath will diagnose the cause of your knee pain (if you don’t already know it). This is an important step as it may alter the subsequent treatment that you require. Injuries to the ligaments, tendons or cartilage will all be treated in a slightly different manner as they will require different areas of soft tissue stimulation and loosening. In general, manipulation of the soft tissue will be carried out so that your muscle, ligament or tendon that is causing you problems is stretched and loosened and the surrounding soft tissue is strengthened in order to add support whilst your problem area heals.
Osteopathic treatment of the knee depends on the nature and cause of the injury. For a traumatic knee injury the main objective is to promote healing of the torn tissues and to ensure that new tissue is laid down in the correct alignment. Where there is a chronic problem which is due to improper alignment, the osteopath will focus attention on rebalancing the muscles and correcting alignment.
Treatment may include soft tissue treatment to the muscles which cross the knee, articulation to the knee itself, articulation of the hip joints and lumbar spine.
If you have suffered a traumatic knee injury, your first line of attack should be to ice the knee. This reduces swelling which would otherwise impede blood flow into and out of the area. Swelling is the body’s way of immobilising the joint, so you should remember the importance of rest for a few days to allow healing to get underway. However remaining inactive for too long can be counter-productive, so after a few days of rest, it is best to start gentle exercise