The knee, a hinge type joint that allows the leg to flex and extend, has the greatest risk of injury compared to all other joints in the body. Knee pain can be extremely annoying, not to mention debilitating. For most who suffer from knee pain, a surgical solution is not their number one option. That’s where physical therapy comes into play.
Physical therapy exercises can help relieve your knee pain, restore or improve your knee movements and help you return to your normal daily activities. Whether your knee pain is caused by an injury, disease or a result of knee surgery, physical therapy can help restore you to back to the highest possible function. Each individual has their own needs and goals, so physical therapy exercises may vary from person to person. However, most physical therapy programs have similar features, including:
- Strength building: Strengthening exercises such as: straight leg raises, hip abduction, hip adduction and quarter squats help rebuild and tone the muscle.
- Stretching: Stretching exercises that include hamstrings, quads and runner’s stretch help improve flexibility and range of motion.
- Passive modalities: Ice, heat and elevation helps to reduce swelling and discomfort.
Proper exercise and therapy equipment for knee rehabilitation should promote a smooth motion of the knee, with minimal jarring and harsh impact to the joint and the least amount of bending to provide maximal toning of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Different knee exercises and therapies that physical therapists recommend include:
- Fast paced walking
- Aerobics in the water
- Swimming (the crawl stroke is best)
- Cross country ski machines
- Soft platform treadmill
The goal of physical therapy is to prevent further weakening of the muscles surrounding the knee so you can reduce the burden on the knee joint. With proper care of your knee joint and good use of the physical therapy techniques provided by your healthcare professional, you can prevent further accidents from occurring and get many more years of activity without pain.