Knee Pain Treatment

In our experience there are essentially 2 kinds of knee pain sufferer. There are those with shorter term or milder knee pain who are looking for ‘pain relief’, and there are those who have suffered a great deal with their knee pain and are looking for a more long term result. In either case we can often help. 

Most people with knee pain come to us on a weekly basis at first until their pain has reduced, then they start to see us a lot less and work on exercises to strengthen their knees. The duration of requiring weekly treatment visits varies greatly, from 3 weeks right through to 6 months and even longer in severe cases. 

The knee is an extremely strong joint and has the largest surface area of any joint in the human body. The knee takes so much stress in humans due to the act of walking upright that it is the joint that changed shape the most when we went from 4 legs to 2 legs. These are clues to the sheer amount of strain that the knee takes when we walk upright. 

The specifics of treatment for your knee pain will be largely unique to you. One of the most crucial determining factors in what treatment you will receive is obviously which part of your knee is hurting. The knee is made up of bone, joint cartilage, strong ligaments, meniscus, tendons, muscle, bursae and a very special patella bone. Any of the above can become inflamed or damaged in a life spent stomping around on concrete and paving slabs. The severity of harm that has been done to the knee, either by injury or over time will also influence what treatment your require, thankfully the great majority of knee pains don’t need surgery and will respond to a treatment/rehabilitation toolset. Most cases of knee pain are best treated with a systematic 3 step rehabilitation process.

Step 1 – Get An In Depth Diagnosis

Getting an in depth diagnosis means working with someone who can explain to you WHY the pain, injury, wear & tear or damage has occurred. If you have meniscus damage on your right side, some osteoarthritis on your left or maybe just stubborn pain at the front of either knee those are all symptoms of something more fundamental. There will be some reason/weakness/habit that has bought the pain and/or damage about. That weakness, habit or imbalance is the real cause of your knee pain, and as such it’s your true diagnosis. Something that you may just need to take our word for,  is that pain & injury in healthy tissues is very rare. There is virtually always some ongoing, historical weakness, imbalance or strain in a problem knee. You need to know what and why that is, if you are going to attempt full rehabilitation. 

Possible underlying issues that can lead to knee pain include..

  • Muscle wasting triggered by old injuries.
  • Scar tissue build-up triggered by old injuries.
  • Weak gluteal muscles.
  • Particularly flat feet or high arches.
  • Tight hamstrings from sitting alot.
  • Muscle weakness caused by lack of fitness.
Step 2 – Get Some Hands On Treatment For Your Pain

Work with a team who are willing to trial a variety of methods to ease your pain. At our clinic example, treatments include… 

  • Acupuncture
  • Mobilisation
  • Stretching
  • Manipulation
  • Cryotherapy
  • Vibration
  • Deep tissue release
  • Suction cups
  • Scar tissue release 

If you have stubborn knee pains you may find that you need a determined, flexible and open minded practitioner who is willing to throw the kitchen sink at your pain. Some of our patients who are recovering from major knee injuries find that they need a long list of different pain treatments at different times in order to progress. 

Step 3 – Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation exercise usually means doing exercises that strengthen the weaknesses and imbalances identified in Step 1. This step is crucial for those who want to do everything they can to resolve their knee pain in the longer term. A percentage of patients also need insoles for their shoes, usually those with either very high or very low arches. The key to effective strengthening exercises for knee pain is a willingness to learn knee exercises and keep doing them over a long period of time, in much the same way that you cannot go to the gym for 6 weeks and then just stop it you want lasting change.

Closing Thoughts

It isn’t always easy to find the right help for your knee pain in a world where crumpled exercise sheets, painkillers and surgical consults account for 90% of interventions. Surgery is great, if your knee is badly damaged enough to need it. Painkillers and exercises are great, if your knee problem is so mild that these interventions alone work for you. Most persistent knee pain issues  need something a bit less invasive than surgery, and something a bit more effective than painkillers and self-directed rehab.

If you have short term knee pain a bit of treatment might be enough to get you back on track.  If however you have more significant issues, the right clinical team should put together a structured plan to improve your knee pain. Most effective trestment plans start with fairly intensive ‘hands on’ type treatment protocols and then at the right time graduate to functional strength training for your knee stabilising muscles and in some cases custom insole prescription.

So there is a roadmap for success in managing many kinds of knee pain. With the right help, the right tools and the right mindset many people have had great success managing even severe knee problems in the long term. Whatever the effort involved to heal your knees surely must be worth it, the ability to move freely and comfortably through a normal active life is great !!