Knee pain is a common problem, largely because of how mobile and exposed the knee is. Swelling and stiffness, instability, and reduced range of motion and flexibility are among the symptoms often associated with this type of discomfort. There are two main types of physical therapy that could help you better manage or recover from knee pain: passive and active. Below, are the main types of therapy typically recommended for knee-related discomfort.
Passive Knee Therapies
Passive therapies require little or no direct patient participation. Therapies of this nature are typically recommended when knee-related pain first becomes noticeable, or shortly after a knee-related injury occurs. These are therapies intended to ease your discomfort and allow your knee to start healing.
Cold applications help with knee discomfort by reducing tissue swelling, or inflammation. This may be done by placing a cold compress on your knee joint or using an ice pack. You may also be asked to wear a cooling wrap around your knee to allow for continuous cold application.
What heat does for your painful knee is decrease stiffness by boosting blood flow, or circulation. An increase in circulation also stimulates the body’s nature healing processes. Physical therapists may perform heat therapy by placing a heating pad on your affected knee joint or giving you a heat wrap to wear. Passive knee therapies may also involve:
• Aquatic therapy so you can make gentle movements in water
• Massage therapy to stimulate tissue healing
• Passive motion therapy where the knee is gently moved
• Electrical nerve or muscle stimulation
Active Knee Therapies
Active therapies require some degree of patient participation. The goal is to strengthen various parts that support your knee. Such therapies are also designed to restore range of motion and normal knee functions. Active knee therapies are important because they prepare your affected knee for a safe return to normal activities.
These are exercises that help rebuild strength within the knee area. Strengthening exercises, which you’ll likely be encouraged to do at home between therapy sessions, may involve straight leg raises or wall or ball squats. You may also be asked to make various knee movements as an appropriate level of resistance is placed on your knee to strengthen muscles.
If your knee discomfort is related to arthritis or another underlying health issue, you may benefit from flexibility exercises. This can also be true if a knee injury has affected your knee’s flexibility or range of motion. Standing hamstring stretches and hip raises are among the possibilities with flexibility exercises for knees. Active therapy may also involve:
• Treadmill walking
• Exercises to improve knee posture
• Stair stepping and similar exercises to improve knee stability and strength
The good news is most people respond well to knee-related therapy. It’s just as important to be mindful of how you prepare for activities involving knee and leg movements post-therapy. During therapy sessions, you’ll receive personalized tips to keep in mind to ease stress on your knees and increase your odds of responding well to therapy. If you are experiencing persistent issues with knee pain, contact Plano Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center to explore your therapy options.
3405 Midway Road Suite 500
Plano, TX 75093
Hours: Monday – Thursday 7 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Friday 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Contact us to set an Appointment