For the past few weeks I have been suffering from pain in my knees — alas osteopaths aren’t immune from aches and pains! I think the soreness in my knees is a result of my makeshift lockdown gym, but it has got me thinking about this most important and delicate of joints…
The knee is the largest joint in the human body — connecting the thigh bone (femur), the largest bone, to the shin bone (tibia). The knee is a major load-bearing joint, balancing your bodyweight on your shins and feet when you stand, walk, run, jump, dance… Perhaps it shouldn’t come as any surprise that it is one of the most frequently injured joints in the human body. Knee pain can have a number of different causes and, as I have experienced this week, it can be incredibly painful and debilitating. Although some conditions may require surgery or replacement, I’ve found that many patents can be helped with the right advice, exercise and treatment.
Anatomy of the knee
To understand the causes of knee pain, we should first take a quick look at its anatomy. The architecture of the knee is complex and delicate. In front sits the patella or kneecap, the part that can be wiggled when the leg is at rest. It is composed of a number of structures including ligaments, muscles, synovial membrane and two ‘c’ shaped pieces of cartilage known as the menisci.
Damage, strain or sprain to any of these structures can result in intense pain on standing, walking or bending at the knee. It can be the result of a sudden trauma, repetitive strain, poor alignment or wear and tear with age. Below are some examples of knee conditions that I treat on a regular basis:
The knee supports you weight on a daily basis and absorbs shock from jumping, running and twisting. All components of your knee — in particular the ligaments, cartilage and patella — are susceptible to painful damage. Injuries to the knee can manifest as stiffness, aching, locking and swelling. You may find yourself limping, with difficulty standing or supporting weight through your leg.
Many common knee strains, issues with alignment and arthritic wear and tear can be addressed with a course of osteopathic treatment and acupuncture.
- Osteopathic therapy, including gentle manipulation and massage, have been shown to treat the underlying conditions related to posture, or to irritated and strained muscles. Studies have shown osteopathy to be an effective alternative to surgery in treating meniscal, ligament and osteoarthritis injuries of the knee.
- Acupuncture works with the release of neurochemicals to relieve and manage localised pain. Recent studies have shown acupuncture to be an effective analgesic therapy for the treatment of osteoarthritis and chronic knee pain.
No two knees are alike! In your first consultation I will examine and discuss the underlying issues to your pain, including activity level, previous injuries, postural or alignment issues. I use a combination of massage, gentle manipulation of the joint, electrotherapy or acupuncture to help alleviate your pain. The exact course of treatment depends on the cause and onset of the injury.
YouOsteopathy has been shown to help strains and arthritis through treating the underlying condition such as poor alignment and irritated, strained muscles and trigger points. (A myofascial component of pain in knee osteoarthritis AdiDorBPTLeonidKalichmanPT, PhD , Fascial Manipulation® for persistent knee pain following ACL and meniscus repair Journal of Bodywork and Movement TherapiesVolume 21, Issue 2April201tiPages 452-458 Sannasi Rajasekar, Aurélie Marie Marchand Manual therapy for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee – A systematic review Manual TherapyVolume 16, Issue 2April2011Pages 109-11ti H. P. French, A. Brennan, B. White, T. Cusack ). Acupuncture relieves the pain and inflammation of knee injury and osteoarthritis there have been several studies to show this. (The effect of acupuncture on the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis–an open randomised controlled study. Tukmachi E, Jubb R, Dempsey E, Jones P. Acupunct Med. 2004 Mar;22(1):14-22. doi: 10.1136/aim.22.1.14. Referred Knee Pain Treated With Electroacupuncture to Iliopsoas Mike Cummings Acupunct Med 2003 Jun;21(1-2):32-5. doi: 10.1136/aim.21.1-2.32. )