Besides spinal problems, knee pain and disability is one of the most frequent problems of the musculoskeletal system. Problems with the knee can be separated into several categories including unsatisfactory of the knee and faulty foot mechanics that compensate for foot pain, general overuse of the knee joint, inflammation due to arthritic changes in the joint, and traumatic injury from events such as sports and falls.
Non-trauma knee problems: Deficient mechanics of the knee joint and the corresponding stress on the soft tissues of the knee are, by far, the most widespread cause of non-traumatic pain. The patella or knee-cap is normally the area affected because many times the patella does not move adequately on the femur during bending of the knee producing abnormal stress on the tendons, cartilage and ligaments. This particular condition is often called chondromalacia patella (CMP) or Patella Femoral Syndrome (Knee Cap Pain). The problem usually starts when there are imbalances in the quadriceps muscles of the thigh that attach to and move the patella. Lower back conditions, especially in the sacroiliac joints, are one of the foremost reasons for imbalances in the muscles related to knee movement, and resultant knee problems. Pain and dysfunction can also be produced by imbalances in the muscle groups that connect to the knee. For example, pain on the medial or inside of the knee occurs when the muscles on the insides of the thigh are stressed and taut. Mechanical knee pain is also caused by gait abnormalities such as pronation.
The associated pain from overuse is most generally felt during activity, particularly stair climbing, running, jumping, and following getting up from prolonged sitting. Many women are likely to be predisposed to painful overuse problems for anatomical reasons, although such ailments are often caused by wearing high heels on a regular basis.
The main treatment for mechanical or overuse injuries to the knee is to re-establish proper balance of the muscles, restore proper movement to the patella and other joints of the knee, and to correct any subluxations of the sacroiliac joints and bones of the foot. In certain cases, a brace is used to assist with the positioning of the patella or to stabilize the joint. Chiropractors, such as your San Jose chiropractor, are highly experienced in administering the appropriate diagnosis and treatment of these ailments.
Knee problems due to trauma: Traumatic injuries often occur during sports that involve running and jumping, particularly. When the knee is pulled or bent beyond the strength of the ligaments that hold the joint together, tearing of these tissues can happen producing a sprain. Strains to muscles that facilitate movement of the knee can occur when the muscles are torn during injury. As with a sprain, a muscle strain can range from a mild injury that requires little care to a serious injury needing surgery. The knee also has two special “cartilages” – the menisci – between the tibia and the femur that allow frictionless motion and cushioning. These cartilages can also be torn during trauma, and often require surgical repair, or even removal if damaged severely.
Traumatic knee injuries can cause severe pain and swelling and need prompt diagnosis and care. In most instances a qualified chiropractor, such as your San Jose Chiropractor, can manage these conditions, however there are some injuries that do need the skills of an orthopedic surgeon. Nevertheless, it is crucial to stabilize the injured joint right away and to put ice on the damaged area, if possible, until the injury can be examined.
Conditions such as poor mechanics and problems due to overuse, as well as traumatic injuries, need to be corrected at an early stage. Otherwise, the tissues of the knee joint, especially the cartilage, will start to erode. Consequently the bones will rub on one another, and changes such as bone spurs can occur. This painful affliction, known as degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis, is commonly progressive with age. Usual treatment may involve medications such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Nevertheless, there are natural anti-inflammatory supplements that produce excellent results such as rosemary, glucosamine sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, bioflavinoids, curcumin. Conservative treatment, such as chiropractic, can be extremely valuable in reducing the pain. Your San Jose chiropractor is will gladly discuss anti-inflammatory supplements. In addition, sufferers can frequently help themselves by keeping their weight down, doing exercises (especially in the pool), and wearing cushioned shoes or insoles.