Paul Tompkins Physiotherapy

Orthopaedic & Sports Injury Specialist

Injured? In Pain?

Why not call us today, you won't regret your choice !

Contact Us Today

Conditions treated - Knee Pain

There are number of ligaments with help support structures in and around the knee joint.

Ligaments are thick fibrous band of connective tissue, which connects one bone to another to support and prevent excessive movement within the joint in one or more direction.

What is knee pain

Knee pain can be caused by a number of different conditions and or injuries. The most common of which are:

  • Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) injury - A thick fibrous band of tissue on the inside of the knee to prevent inside stressing of the knee originating from the inside of the femur (thigh bone) to the inside of the tibia (shin bone).
  • Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL), Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), and Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) injury - The ACL is the main ligament that provides stability to the knee in forwards and backwards motion. It is the most common knee ligament injury, especially in athletes, footballers and particularly younger females like netballers. Twisting rotational movements in sports like these are what cause the ACL to strain or tear. Strains can sometimes recover through Physiotherapy and muscle strengthening, though tears almost always require surgery. The most common method for repairing ACL injuries is arthroscopic surgery. Other common injuries accompanying ACL tears are MCL, and knee cartilage tears (meniscus).
  • Knee Osteoarthritis - Osteoarthritis is a common condition that may cause joint stiffness, swelling and pain in the knees, and can also occur in the hips, feet, hands and spine. Some people's arthritis can be so severe that joint replacements are the best solution, while others experience few symptoms even though x-rays show that they have quite advanced osteoarthritis.
  • Anterior Knee pain - pain described as anterior knee pain means pain at the front of the knee. This can be caused by the kneecap (patella) tracking awkwardly, early arthritis behind the kneecap, or a muscle imbalance for the 4 muscles termed the quadriceps. Kneecap problems can be prevalent in adolescent females, in runners and athletes in jumping type sports (can be referred to as 'jumpers knee') Treatment can include exercise aimed at re-educating the muscles that can become weaker as a side effect of the pain.
  • Meniscal tears - The meniscus is the circular shaped cartilage deep inside the knee joint sitting between the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone.) The meniscus acts as a shock absorber between the two joints, and contributes to the stability of the joint when bending and twisting on the knee. Cartilage tears are common in sport, with symptoms of locking, catching and giving way after a direct injury. These often need surgery and Paul Tompkins Physiotherapy have access to a wide range of specialists and surgeons in relation to key-hole surgery (arthroscopy) and other forms of surgery should that be necessary. It is more common to experience problems with the meniscus as you get older, the cartilage can thin and become more roughened with mini tears forming that can cause pain and restriction in movement.

What causes knee pain?

Most knee pain does not have one simple cause, and can be a result of a range of conditions that affect joints, ligaments and the other tissues in the knee. Factors that can contribute include poor posture, injuries to other areas causing poor walking or running gait, sustained or repetitive activity, and long-distance driving.

If the knee has moved suddenly and unexpectedly (as in a car accident or trauma caused within a sporting collision), the pain may be due to an injury, often to one or more of teh ligaments.

How can physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapists are highly skilled at supporting people with knee pain. The physiotherapist may offer manual therapy and will explain how you can manage the pain, contribute to your own recovery and prevent the problem from recurring. Research clearly shows that physical activity and exercise help, and a physiotherapist can provide an exercise programme based on your health, ability and fitness levels.

What will happen when I see a physiotherapist?

The physiotherapist will assess how your knee is working and affecting your life, and the level of fitness you need for your usual activities. They will ask lots of questions, watch your movements and touch your knee and other areas including your legs and back. Physiotherapists will also look closely at your gait, posture and seek to identify other conditions which may be contributing to the problem. They will also explain how to manage the pain, contribute to your own recovery and prevent the problem recurring.

Your consultation is likely to include:

  • advice about exercises or physical activities that will help
  • posture and lifestyle advice and activities to avoid.
  • In some instances a referral to a specialist or surgeon will be the appropriate course of action. In the event that this is the best way forward your physiotherapist will offer advice and guidance on post operative recovery and rehabilitation.
  • pain management techniques.

It may also include:

  • applying heat or cold to the affected area, and showing you how to do this at home
  • hydrotherapy.
  • acupuncture
  • electrotherapy.

Meanwhile, how can I help myself?

  • Try to keep mobile. Moving the affected joint helps reduce stiffness, and maintains the strength of the supporting muscles.
  • Modify any activities that cause you discomfort, and spread these activities through the day, taking short rests when necessary.
  • If your joints feel hot or swollen, rest them.
  • Try to be positive – this will help you to manage the pain and be motivated to remain active.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is provided for general information purposes only and is not meant to replace a physiotherapy or medical consultation.

Note: You do not need a GP referral to receive physiotherapy if you self fund your treatment. However if you intend to claim all or part of your treatment costs back a GP referral is usually required by your insurance company.