Knee

WHY PHYSICAL THERAPY IS YOUR FIRST CHOICE IN RECOVERY FROM ILIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME (IT BAND SYNDROME)

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itbs-injury-hptOne of the most common causes of knee pain, especially in people participating in endurance sports, is Iliotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band Syndrome).  It accounts for up to 24% of cycling injuries and up to 12% of running injuries.  Physical Therapy is extremely effective in managing Iliotibial Band Syndrome.

What Exactly Is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS), liac crest, Gluteus medius, Tensor fascia latae, Gluteus maximus,Vastus lateralis, Iliotibial band, Tibia tubercle, Patella, Inflammation of the iliotibial band (ITB) causes outer knee pain and possible pain in the hip, MendMeShop TM ©2011

The Iliotibial Band (often referred to as the IT Band) is a type of soft tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh from the pelvis to the knee.  Its shape thickens as it approaches the knee as it crosses a prominent area of the femur (thigh bone) called the lateral femoral condyle.  It attaches to two important hip muscles near the pelvis–the gluteus maximus and the tensor fascia latae (TFL).  Iliotibial Band Syndrome occurs when excessive irritation causes pain along the outside of the knee.

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WHY YOU SHOULD THINK PHYSICAL THERAPY FIRST WHEN YOU GET SHIN SPLINTS

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With Spring right around the corner, many individuals will “pick up the pace” and resume running.  However, with just starting to train or even adding distance to your running program, you run the risk of developing shin splints, also called medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS) where pain develops on the inside of the shin.  Being a very common athletic injury, shin splints affect both the muscle on the inside of the shin and the bone to which it attaches.  It is estimated that up to 35% of athletes who run and jump will develop shin splints, such as distance runners, sprinters, basketball players, tennis players, dancers, and gymnasts.  It is also very common among our military personnel as well.  A Physical Therapist should be your first choice in getting help to recover from shin splints as they can instruct you in the proper exercises and tactics to prevent reinjury.

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TORN ANTERIOR CRUCIATE LIGAMENT (ACL)? WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PHYSICAL THERAPY.

acl498 The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is one of 4 major ligaments (ligaments connect bone-to-bone) of the knee–it connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone).  A torn ACL is a devastating knee injury that commonly affects many athletes…soccer/basketball/football players, gymnasts, skiers just to name a few.  Surprisingly, 70% of ACL tears do not involve contact, while 30% of ACL injuries are contact related (either play-to-player or player-to-object).  Also, the predominance of ACL tears is 4-6 times higher in women than in men.

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IS KNEE PAIN SLOWING YOU DOWN? IT JUST MAY BE BURSITIS.

Knee-tendonitis-bursitis-254x300167 Bursitis of the knee, often referred to as “housemaids’s knee,” involves inflammation of one or more bursae at the front of the knee.  It can be extremely painful with movement, with kneeling, or even when at rest.  Conversely, it can also be painless with only visible swelling present.  There are many different causes of knee bursitis, the most common being trauma, either from a direct blow to the knee or the result of repetitive activities such as kneeling or crawling on hard surfaces for long periods of time.  This is often seen in tile setters or carpet installers, or in individuals who scrub floors.  More commonly though are athletes who Knee-pain-join-pain-dislocated-knee-outsideexperience the discomfort of knee bursitis–up to 10% of runners develop the condition.  However, there is no direct correlation to knee bursitis and any particular age or ethnic group.  This condition can also be caused by infection or autoimmune conditions.  Physical Therapists should be contacted as the first line of defense to treat individuals with knee bursitis by decreasing pain, reducing inflammation and stiffness, and addressing any any associated weakness in the knee or leg.

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WHAT CAN PHYSICAL THERAPY DO FOR A CALF STRAIN?

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While most of us know that the calf is located in the back of the lower leg below the knee, many don’t realize that the calf is actually made up of 9 separate muscles, any of which can be injured individually or together.  Calf strains are very well-known to runners, gymnasts, dancers, soccer stk63074cor_XSand basketball players.  They can occur during hi-speed motions (e.g., running and jumping), or from any type of forceful or uncoordinated movement.  As we age, so too does our vulnerability to calf strains with less forceful movements.  The goal of Physical Therapy in treating individuals with calf strains is to reduce pain, restore flexibility and muscle strength, and increase recovery speed.

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CAN PHYSICAL THERAPY HELP MY KNEE PAIN?

knee-pain-blockKnee pain can be nagging or debilitating, and is often caused by injury or disease.  It can affect muscle control in the sore leg, decrease the strength and endurance of the muscles that support the knee, and can restrict mobility as well.  Injuries can occur from a sudden movement that pushes the knee beyond its normal range of movement, or as the result of a direct blow.  This can happen in recreational activities, a fall, a sporting event, or a motor vehicle accident.  As for disease, Osteoarthritis, also known as Degenerative Joint Disease, is the most common one affecting the knee.  This is caused by the cartilage in the knee gradually wearing away, leading to pain and swelling.    If the pain in your knee is a result of an injury, the most likely culprits involve cartilage tears (e.g., meniscus tears) and/or ligament tears (e.g., ACL, or Anterior Cruciate Ligament).  Knee pain can also be caused by repetitive stress, as often occurs with the kneecap (known as PFPS, or, patellofemoral pain syndrome).  Very rarely do knee injuries involve broken bones, with the exception being extreme trauma.

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