This is a continuation of the series on knee pain and Chiropractic. Restricted motion at the knee is a common complaint. Restricted motion may be the result of swelling of the joint, loose bodies in the joint, or tight musculature. Most acute injuries to the knee will cause a painful swelling and lack of motion in the knee. Chronic conditions of the knee are more likely due to problems with the muscles and tendons especially if a person is not very active. If stiffness at the knee is a problem after long periods of sitting (and the pain resolves after 20 minutes of exercise) the problem usually relates to tendinitis of the quardriceps (patellofemoral pain) or osteoarthritis. Tendinitis of the quadriceps is more common in younger athletic people and may be successfully treated with Chiropractic care involving myofascial release technique. Osteoarthritis is more common in older people. Osteoarthritis may cause swelling or bulging of the knee at the joint line as well.
A feeling of weakness in the knee is sometimes seen in knee injuries as well as conditions of the lower back. Diabetic conditions may cause weakness in the knee which is usually on one side only. Some types of disc conditions may cause weakness in the hamstrings and the knee.When the knee is painful and weak usually the muscles and ligaments about the knee are the cause.
Instability at the knee is most often due to injury to the ACL. Meniscus injury may also cause the knee to give way. ACL instability is often non painful and occurrs during motions that cause rotation at the knee. Instability caused by a meniscus are often painful.
Knee injuries are one of the most common types of sports injuries especially in sports that feature running, contact and jumping. Chiropractic care is often the first step in evaluation and management of an injures knee. Several different types of injuries can result in injury to different structures of the knee.
Blows to the knee from the outside often result in damage to the ligaments on the inside of the knee (the Medial Collateral ligaments-MCL). The MCL is known to be most susceptible to injury when the knee is bent. Rotational injuries with the foot fixed on the ground are often responsible for injuries to the meniscus. Hyperextension injury often affects the ACL. ACL injury is most often associated with sudden stopping or cutting. Contraction of the quadriceps is known to have a protective effect on the knee. Knee injuries in skiing is thought to be most related to a rotational mechanism.
Overuse injuries are often very successfully treated with Chiropractic treatments. Myofascial release treatments are often the most effective Chiropractic technique for overuse injuries at the knee. Running is often linked to IT band syndrome, especially in women. Problems with the IT band are often seen as pain in the outer part of the knee just above the joint. Jumping and sprinting are often associated with tendinitis of the quadriceps. Osgood Schlatter’s is often associated with running/jumping sports and results in pain at the front of the knee below the knee cap. Pain in Osgood Schlatter’s is felt more at the attachment of the quadriceps below the knee. If pain is felt going up/down steps it is often indicative of tendinitis of the quadriceps (also called patello-femoral pain or chondromalacia patella).