The Importance of assessing knee pain before beginning rehabilitation exercises

The Importance of assessing knee pain before beginning rehabilitation exercises
Something most of us will encounter at some point in our lives is knee pain. The treatment for knee pain is not the same in every case just as the structures injured in the knee are not the same with every injury. Let’s look at two common but very different causes of knee pain.

Athlete #1 gets knee pain after a plant and twist traumatic knee injury in football. This athlete quite likely has pain in the

Athlete #1 gets knee pain after a plant and twist traumatic knee injury in football.

This athlete quite likely has pain in the knee that is coming from structures in the knee being quickly and aggressively stretched beyond their normal limit. Two common structures injured like this are ligaments and meniscus.

Knee pain 2

Athlete #2 gets knee pain that gradually builds up over time, she originally tries to self manage but the pain progressively gets worse over time especially after increasing her running trying to improve her 5km time.

Knee pain 3

Athlete #2 may have pain in the knee but to find the true cause of the irritated knee we have to look elsewhere. Often in a case like this the pain in the knee is actually a result of a dysfunction at the hip or ankle. In this example we want to make sure we address the muscles of the hip that stabilize the pelvis when weight bearing. When these muscles don’t do their job and the hip drops causing an internal rotation and valgus force at the knee, patella femoral pain can be the result.

Knee pain 4

Treatment for these injuries must not only address the painful structures in the knee but also the root cause! As you can see with these two common examples it’s necessary to have your injury assessed to make sure your rehabilitation focuses on both the painful structures AND the cause!

Derek Fletcher
MPT BKIN FDN
Registered Physiotherapist

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