The proper functioning of the knee is essential to our most basic activities. Knee pain is common and can become chronic. Though most knee pain does not need surgery, it can be just as disabling. Chronic knee pain can be divided into those causes occurring inside the knee joint space and those causes outside the joint space.
Chronic Knee pain inside the joint can be caused by:
- Arthritis. Arthritis causes the joint to ache and deteriorate. Arthritis knee pain is caused by the lining of the knee being inflamed.
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL injury. This is a tear in the main knee ligament that joins the upper leg bone with the lower leg bone. The ACL helps greatly to keep the knee stable. Pain, knee joint swelling and unsteadiness are symptoms of this injury. Surgery is required for serious athletes or tears that don’t respond to knee pain treatment.
- Meniscus tear. The meniscus is a rubbery disc that cushions your knee joint. Each knee has two discs, which balance and cushion your weight across the knee. A meniscus tear can occur when you lift something heavy or play sports. As you get older, your meniscus gets worn. This can make it tear more easily. A torn meniscus almost always causes pain and swelling of the knee. As with ACL tears, surgery is required only for serious athletes, or tears that don’t respond to knee pain treatment.
Chronic Knee pain outside the knee joint can be caused by:
- Tendinitis. The tendons controlling the knee joint’s movement can become chronically inflamed. This result of overuse, misuse or injury, makes up the majority of chronic knee pain cases. Knee pain after prolonged activity is the most common complaint.
- Torn ligaments. The ligaments supporting the knee from the inside of the joint and outside the joint can be torn in a fall, playing sports, or in an accident. The most common symptom is pain directly over the ligament. Swelling over the torn ligament may appear, and bruising is common 1 to 2 days after the injury. In more severe injuries, patients may complain that the knee feels unstable, or as though it may 'give out'.
- Knee Bursitis. Knee bursitis is a common cause of swelling and pain on top of the kneecap. This condition is associated with kneeling for extended periods of time. Knee bursitis is common in professions such as carpet layers and hobbies such as gardening. The symptoms of knee bursitis include swelling over the kneecap and limited, painful movement of the knee.
A complicated hinge joint:
- the knee hinge is dependent on proper hip function as it shares the same long bone
- the long bone of the hip must sit on the knee in a way that prevents wear and tear
- the ankle/foot also share long bones with the knee
- the knee hinge is therefore also dependent on stable foot and ankle function
Knee pain can be relieved even if the ligaments or cartilage in your knee have been torn
Knee pain relief is the result of improving key relationships within the entire leg, and optimizing the function of the knee as it relates to hip and foot. Therapy will involve the whole body and include Feldenkrais exercises. The goals of your treatment are to relieve pain and prevent your knee from being reinjured.
At the Feldenkrais Center, our approach to treating the causes of your chronic knee pain allows for a quick and effective treatment course. Most patients show substantial improvement in less than a month.