Experiencing knee pain in common for adults age 65 and older. Why is this? Well, the main reason for knee pain is simply due to normal wear and tear on this joint. Your joint consists of the ends of bones coated by a protective surface called cartilage, held together by ligaments and lubricated by synovial fluid which also acts as a shock absorber. As with all mechanical devices, these body parts erode with time. Every step you take throughout your life can contribute to the deterioration of your knee joint, but there are also a variety of medical conditions that may be the cause of your pain. For instance, being overweight or obese puts extra pressure on your knee joints. Perhaps you suffered a strain a few years ago, and are now feeling the effects of that old injury. Or, osteoarthritis, which affects around 34 percent of seniors, causes the cartilage protecting the bones in your knees to break down, resulting in chronic knee pain.
Regardless of the reason behind your knee pain, treatments are available that can help ease some of your discomfort. One of the most common treatments recommended by doctors is physical therapy, which helps not only in reducing your pain, but in increasing your strength and restoring your mobility. Stronger muscles can support stretched out ligaments that make your joints prone to injury.
Physical Therapy: An Effective Treatment for Knee Pain
When you’re experiencing knee pain, getting up and moving your joint around is probably the furthest thing from your mind. However, physical therapy can get you back on your feet and enjoying your active lifestyle.
First, the physical therapist will evaluate your specific needs and the condition of your knee. He or she will gather information about the history of your problem, what seems to cause you more pain and what you’ve currently been doing to help relieve it. Your gait may also be evaluated, as well as your range of motion, how much strength you have in your knee, how well you can balance, and if there is any current swelling around your knee joint.
After this thorough examination, the physical therapist will recommend treatment specific to your needs. Physical therapy for knee pain often involves exercises to help strengthen and improve the mobility of your knee. In fact, these exercises are generally the main tool prescribed in an effective treatment plan for knee pain. Your therapist may recommend a combination of exercises, from balance and core exercises to lower extremity stretches, leg raises and quad sets. You also may be required to perform these exercises throughout the day at home, in between your therapy sessions.
Other methods for knee pain relief the physical therapist may recommend include alternating ice and heat on your joint, electrical nerve or muscle stimulation or ultrasound massage. Assistive devices like a cane may also be an option to help relieve some of the pressure on your joint until it’s stronger and more fluid.
The goal of physical therapy for your knee is to eliminate current pain, learn skills to avoid injuries and future pain, and regain optimal use of your leg. Sounds like a much better option than giving up things you enjoy!
American Senior Communities offers quality rehabilitation and physical therapy for seniors in our Moving Forward Rehabilitation program throughout our locations. Contact us today to request more information.