Knee pain can be the result of local knee problems, including continual wear and stress on the knee joint, as well as injury or a sudden movement that strains the knee. Below are a few of the more common conditiond that your osteopath can help you with.
Ligaments connect your bones to each other. Ligaments in the knee are usually sprained, torn or ruptured accidentally through injury or athletic activity. Symptoms often include pain, swelling, and difficulty in walking.
Inflammation of the tendons resulting from overuse of the tendon during certain activities such as running, jumping, or cycling. Swelling may be present and the tendon is usually painful with movement.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee. Some contributing factors include, excessive weight on the joint for a period of time (i.e. being overweight), or if there is a history of the joint being overused (eg. running, football). If the knee has suffered an injury in the past then there is a higher risk of osteoarthritis developing. It usually develops slowly over many years and can result in pain and stiffness of the knee.
Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the knees by causing the joint to become inflamed and by destroying the knee cartilage. It is an autoimmune disorder, where the body's immune system attacks itself, and can develop suddenly within weeks or months.
A bursa is a small sac of fluid that reduces friction between the tendons, ligaments and bone. There are many bursae in the knee and they can become inflammed through overuse, or excessive kneeling, or sports injury. Swelling is usually present and the area can be painful to touch.
Patellofemoral Syndrome (Patellar Tracking Disorder)
As you bend your knee, your patellar (knee cap) glides over a groove on the femur (thigh bone). If you have imbalances in your muscles that control this movement (quadriceps) then the patellar can deviate and cause pain. Other causes can be flat feet or feet with high arches, as these can have an effect on the alignment of your tibia (shin bone), that can in turn effect the glide of the patellar. It is a common problem for sports people who are using their leg muscles frequently.
However, apart from the local knee problems, knee pain can also be a result of problems in areas above and/or below the knee, i.e. the hip, pelvis or foot. For example, an over-pronated foot (fallen arch) causes the whole leg to rotate abnormally, which, over time can lead to pain in the knee through a developed stress pattern.
Osteopaths are in a great position to diagnose and treat knee problems as they not only have the anatomical knowledge, but they take a global approach to dealing with the complaint. This means they will examine areas above and below the knee, in order to ascertain the cause of the problem.
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