Have your knees been knocked around one too many times? Seeing a knee pain specialist in Fort Myers, FL can help you knock out your knee pain once and for all.

As one of the largest and most complex joints in the body, knees are prone to a variety of injuries and in rarer cases, infection.

Knee physical therapy can diminish the knee issues you’re experiencing, including pain, buckling, weakness, swelling, and popping. A physical therapist who specializes in knees can treat your knee condition using the safest and most effective treatments.

Knee physical therapy may eliminate knee pain and injury so that patients won’t need to seek risky treatments such as surgeries, medications, or injections.

Most knee troubles stem from weak muscles, poor flexibility, and poor mobility. A physical therapist will help you to restore strength, flexibility, and mobility into the knees to heal them for good.

Knee physical therapy can help with almost any knee condition and can rehabilitate the knees after surgery. This guide will cover everything you need to know about knee physical therapy, including:

  • What you can expect from knee physical therapy
  • Knee Physical Therapy for Pre-and Post-Surgery Rehabilitation
  • What to Expect at Your Initial Physical Therapy Appointment
  • How a physical therapist will determine the cause of your knee condition
  • Common knee injuries (& their symptoms) treated by physical therapists
  • Common Knee Physical Therapy Treatments
  • How to Get Started

What You Can Expect from Knee Physical Therapy

When you see a physical therapist, who specializes in knee conditions, you are in the care of an expert who knows everything there is to know about the knees. Physical therapists are certified healthcare professionals who can determine the cause of your knee troubles and give you the best type of treatment available to heal your knees.

 Knee Physical Therapy for Pre- and Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

Post-Surgery Rehabilitation

Are you preparing for knee surgery such as total knee arthroplasty/knee replacement? Knee physical therapy can help you recover from your surgery sooner.

Numerous research studies prove that knee physical therapy speeds up the rehabilitation process from knee surgery.

One of the most recent studies, involving 1,043 knee replacement patients, reveals that preoperative physical therapy significantly reduces recovery time post-operation. This means that if you’re preparing for knee surgery, you should consider pre-operative knee physical therapy in addition to post-operative physical therapy for the quickest recovery possible.

What You Can Expect at Your Initial Physical Therapy Appointment

During your initial appointment, your physical therapist will guide you through a physical examination, testing, and questions related to your knee problems. The questions and testing will help your physical therapist make an accurate diagnosis and pinpoint the cause of your knee troubles.

Many knee pain “treatments” focus on fixing the symptoms of knee problems rather than the cause. When only the symptoms are treated, your knee problems will likely return or worsen.

Physical therapists collect information from the initial appointment to determine and fix the cause of your knee pain. This cause-based approach will prevent reoccurring pain and promote happy, healthy knees.

Initial Questions

Your physical therapist will ask you questions related to your injury during your initial visit.

One of the most important questions that your knee physical therapist will ask is: “what makes your injury better or worse?” Some injuries that have similar symptoms are distinguishable based on which movements and activities aggravate and reduce the pain/injury. Although certain injuries have similar symptoms, they may require different treatments.

Some factors that may worsen your knee pain include:

  • Going up and downstairs
  • Moving uphill or downhill
  • Bending the knees
  • Kicking
  • Repetitive motion, such as walking or running
  • Long periods of sitting or standing

Some factors that may make your knee pain feel better to include:

  • rest
  • ice
  • compression
  • elevation
  • stretching
  • specific physical activities (for example, swimming, which is considered a no-impact sport)

Your physical therapist will ask how long you’ve experienced the symptoms and/or pain. Knee injuries tend to worsen the longer that they are ignored or improperly treated. Ignoring or improperly treating your injury can lead to severe injury and increased healthcare costs.

If you’ve tried treatments for your knee condition, your physical therapist will want to know which treatments helped and which did not help.

Knee Pain

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Many patients try treatments such as heat/cold packs, medications, rest, or surgery prior to visiting a physical therapist. Often, these treatments are not sufficient in healing the knee injury since they typically don’t fix the cause of the injury.

Your physical therapist can provide you a solution that prevents the knee problems from reoccurring.

Physical Exam

You’ll undergo a physical exam during your initial visit so that your physical therapist can check for swelling or signs of physical deformity.

 Range of Motion Test

knee-treatment

Your physical therapist will guide you through movements and stretches that test your range of motion. Pain-causing knee stiffness is often due to poor range of motion in the knee or other areas in the body.

A goniometer (which is like a ruler for joints) might be pressed gently against your skin to measure your joints’ range of motion.

Functional & Muscular Strength Tests

Functional and muscular strength tests reveal how well you can physically function with your injury. You will perform various types of physical activities during these tests.

One way that your physical therapist may test your strength is to have you push inwards or outwards with your leg into his or her hands.

You will perform functional and muscular strength tests during the initial visit and routinely throughout your physical therapy program to assess the progression of healing.

 Here’s a quick example of how a Doctor of Physical Therapy will try to detect the root cause of your knee injury or pain:

How Your Physical Therapist Will Detect the Cause of Your Knee Condition

Your physical therapist will use information from the initial questions and tests along with his or her observations to accurately detect the cause of your knee condition.

Often, knee conditions are not caused directly by injury in the knees themselves, but from issues in other parts of the body (such as poor mobility in the feet/ankles or weak muscles in the hips). This fact makes it tricky for non-physical therapists to diagnose and treat knee conditions.

 Common Knee Conditions (& Their Symptoms) Treated by Physical Therapists

Common Knee ConditionsBelow are some of the most common knee conditions treated by physical therapists.

Do you have any of the symptoms? A physical therapist will ensure you have a treatment plan that is specific to your condition and lifestyle.

ACL Tears

ACL Tears (aka Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears) occur most frequently during sports that involve jumping and rapidly changing directions (such as soccer, basketball, and football).

Athletes who suffer an ACL tear during sport usually hear a loud pop combined with immediate instability and pain in the knee, causing them to fall and grab their knee.

Signs & Symptoms of ACL Tears

  • A loud “popping” sensation in the knee coupled with pain and instability
  • Severe pain and inability to pursue physical activity
  • Rapid swelling around the knee
  • Loss of range of motion in the knee area
  • A lack of stability when bearing weight on the affected leg

 Knee Arthritis

Knee arthritis is a condition where the knee cartilage of the knee joint gradually wears away. Once the cartilage wears away complete, the underlying bone is exposed and can develop bony spurs that may cause knee stiffness, swelling, pain, clicking, or grating.

 Signs & Symptoms of Knee Arthritis

  • Knee pain that occurs gradually and feels worse with long periods of inactivity (such as immediately upon waking up)
  • Knee pain that feels worse with weight-bearing activities such as walking/running, going up or downstairs, kneeling, and squatting
  • Knee stiffness
  • Knee swelling
  • Warmth around the knee
  • clicking/grating
  • Feeling of weakness in knees and muscles around the knees

 

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