PT Month: Knee Pain & What it Might Mean

Knee pain isn’t just for football players you watch every Sunday night, or for your favorite young soccer player. Your knee is a vital joint that doesn’t get enough credit for carrying a lot of your body’s workload – until something goes wrong. Here are some general tips for how to know what your knee pain might mean:

Pain over your kneecap: Often called “runner’s knee,” it can affect anyone from actual runners to walkers and beyond. Essentially, this is a catch-all term that can apply to patella pain, IT band pain, misalignment of the knee cap, and others. It can be as simple as having overly tight hamstrings, caused by overuse, or other reasons.

Pain on the inside of your knee: Your MCL (medial collateral ligament) runs along the inside of your knee. You can sustain a tear or strain of your MCL in something as sudden as a football injury, or as minor as turning your leg the wrong way getting out of bed. If you have swelling, acute pain at the inside of your knee, or knee instability, your MCL may be affected. Minor injuries of the MCL will often heal on their own; however, severe injuries may require surgical repair.

Pain on the outside of your knee: Your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) runs along the outside of your knee. If you tear your ACL, you may feel or hear a pop. You’ll also likely experience pain and swelling. Depending on the severity of the injury, you may require surgery. Sports like football and soccer often see ACL injuries as it can be caused by a blow or by pivoting with one foot planted.

(Other) pain on the outside of your knee: Your IT band runs from your hip down to your knee, and although it may seem odd, if your IT band is irritated, you may actually feel pain in your knee and have trouble flexing your leg and walking/moving normally.

What to Do: When seeing a medical professional, let him/her know the history behind your pain. Do you run long distances and recently increased your mileage? Did you sustain a direct hit in soccer? Did you fall? Did you move in an unusual direction prior to the onset of your pain? Seeking care with a physical therapist is a great choice; if you require imaging, s/he will recommend that. Your PT will assess your injury and develop a custom treatment plan that may involve in-person visits as well as work for you to do at home between your appointments.

Your physical therapist will work with you to decrease discomfort and increase strength, flexibility, and better movement patterns. You’ll also learn what may have contributed to your injury, as well as how to help prevent a recurrence in the future. Knee pain is common, and with appropriate treatment you should be able to hope for a healthy knee and return to your active lifestyle.

If you’re dealing with knee pain, (or hip, back, neck, ankle, shoulder, elbow, etc. pain) Body One Physical Therapy is ready to get to work helping you feel better. We’re both locally-owned and operated and have three locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Don’t sit and suffer, take control of your health and call Body One today.