One of the most distressing injuries anyone can ever encounter is an injury of the knee. Besides the fact that it dramatically affects your overall comfort, it can also affect your ability to complete normal tasks and daily activities. This means you will need comprehensive medical treatment and therapy to recover. However, another option you can consider for treating your knee injury is rehabilitative exercises.
How do you know if rehabilitative exercises are right for your knee injury?
To determine whether rehabilitative exercises are an appropriate course of treatment for your knee injury, you will need to have a thorough examination and evaluation of your entire lower extremity, starting from your hip all the way down through your foot. A physical therapist will assess the amount of pain in your knees and prescribe the appropriate treatment methods, including modalities and rehabilitative exercises designed to improve overall mobility and decrease the amount of pain within the knee.
The anatomy of your knee
Are you already familiar with the anatomy of your knee? The knee is considered a hinge joint which is connected to your shin and tibia or your thigh and femur. The front part of your knee is known as the patella. The knee is supported by four ligaments and two shock absorbers, known as the meniscus, that are located within the knee.
What causes a knee injury?
There are many things which could cause you to feel pain in your knee – some resulting from the knee itself and other resulting from connected areas such as the hip. The most common causes of knee injuries include:
- Knee fracture
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
- Meniscal tears
While you may have been involved in a single accident which you believe to be the cause of your knee injury, knee injuries are rarely caused by a single event. More often, a knee injury is caused by repetitive trauma to the area. You may not recognize symptoms of a knee injury immediately, but when pain begins to set in you may experience various functional limitations such as difficulty rising from a sitting position, walking, and climbing up or down stairs.
Different types of pain caused by a knee injury
Any time you suffer an injury to your knee, it will likely result in knee pain at some point. It is imperative for your treating physician to determine the specific type of pain you are experiencing, so they can properly diagnose your condition and make an appropriate treatment plan. The different forms of knee injury pain include:
- Acute Pain – this type of pain is considered is directly caused by soft tissue damage and usually appears between 1 and 7 days after injury occurs. Acute pain tends to be a more sharp and severe pain, although it usually lasts for no more than 3 to 6 months.
- Sub-Acute Pain – this type of pain is a subset of acute pain. Sub-acute pain typically occurs within 2 and 6 weeks after an injury and lasts for a minimum of 6 weeks, but not more than 3 months.
- Chronic Knee Pain – this type of pain is defined as pain lasting for more than 12 weeks. Chronic pain is a more serious form of pain that will require regular monitoring by a licensed healthcare provider.
Rehabilitative exercises that can aide in recovery
There are a few rehabilitative exercises that may be able to help you recover from your knee injury sooner. You should always review your options for rehabilitative exercise with a physical therapist or medical provider. A few of the most common rehabilitative exercises used include:
- Straight leg raises
- Prone straight leg raises
- Side leg raises
- Hamstring curls
- Wall squats
- Calf raises
- Single leg dips
- Balancing exercises
- Leg presses
When doing any rehabilitative exercises, you want to be sure to perform the exercises by starting slowly and working your way up with caution. If you place too much pressure on your knee, it can cause stress and make it more difficult for you to recover from your knee injury. While you will not immediately see any improvements, with patience and discipline you will begin to see impressive results over time.