Don’t Let Hip and Knee Pain Slow You Down!
Physical Therapy Can Improve Your Hip and Knee Function
Do you sometimes worry that your knees are going to “give out” from under you while you’re standing up? Do you dread lying down at night or getting up in the morning because of pain in your hips? Know that you aren’t alone -- hip and knee pain are very common conditions!
Hip joint pain and knee pain can seriously interfere with your life, especially if you are dealing with both simultaneously. It can feel like there’s no answer to your pain besides over-the-counter medications.
Whether you’re experiencing hip pain, knee pain, or both, physical therapy can help get to the root of your problem safely and comfortably, without the need for harmful drugs or surgery. Request an appointment at Full Circle Physical Therapy today to get back to living a healthy, active lifestyle once more.
Why knee and hip pain are connected
Oftentimes when we are in pain and go to the doctors to find out what the problem is, we’re shocked to hear that the area we’re experiencing pain is actually not the true cause for concern. That’s because all of our body parts are connected and work together to keep us going. Many times, if your knee is hurting you, your hip is too, and vice versa!
Pain felt in the hips and/or knees may originate in the joints themselves, but it may also be a result of an underlying condition in another part of the body.
Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint that works to support the weight of your upper body, relying on multiple muscles and tissues to keep it mobile and stable so it can function properly.
Your knee is a hinge joint, confined to forward-and-backward motions. Individually, your knees support more weight than the hips, 6 times your body weight when doing a squat. Proper movement of both your hips and knees allows complicated motions giving you the ability to stand, walk, run, and dance without falling over.
The hips and knees are part of the same kinetic chain, meaning they make up a combination of weight-bearing joints that must function together in harmony in order for the body to function properly.
Therefore, a problem with your knee joint may cause issues to happen with your hips, and vice versa. If one part of the kinetic chain is out of balance, stress and deterioration may be placed on another. It’s all connected!
Why am I experiencing hip and knee pain?
There are tons of reasons why hip and knee pain can occur.
Hip and knee pain can happen as a result of an issue referred from a pinched sciatic nerve, as the nerve travels through both areas. Imbalances in your stance or gait may cause abnormal stresses and premature wear-and-tear in your hips and knees, resulting in painful symptoms or arthritis.
Overuse injuries such as tendinitis and chronic muscle strain are common in both the hips and knees because both joints are constantly in use. They are also both subject to acute injuries, such as sprains, strains, and dislocation.
Some painful conditions may be specific to one joint or the other. Cartilage injuries known as labral tears are specific to hip pain, while inflammation of the bursa sacs known as bursitis is a specific condition affecting the knee joint.
However, painful injuries that cause instability in the hips can also affect the knees. Tight hip flexor muscles and weak gluteus medius muscles can cause the hip to rotate inward without you realizing it. This can cause painful problems such as iliotibial band friction syndrome or patellofemoral stress syndrome, as stress is put on the knee or kneecap.
Although all of these reasons are plausible, the best way to know the true reason behind your hip or knee pain is to see a licensed physical therapist for a thorough evaluation of your condition.
Physical therapy for hip and knee pain
You don’t have to let hip and knee pain slow you down. Physical therapy can help.
Physical therapy treatments at Full Circle Physical Therapy can help to decrease (and in some cases, even eliminate) your hip and knee pain. This can end up keeping you from undergoing expensive, painful surgery!
At your first appointment, one of our Monterey physical therapists will examine your hip and/or knee for signs of misalignment or structural damage, in addition to examining your stance, posture, gait, and range of motion.
Next, after your physical exam is complete, our physical therapists will prescribe a physical therapy treatment plan for you, aimed at relieving unnatural stresses and strains. They will also focus on improving your overall joint function so you can get back to living life comfortably.
You will be given targeted exercises designed for relieving joint pain and stabilizing the weak hip and/or knee tissues. The exercises may vary depending on your condition; for example, research has demonstrated that those suffering from pain in their kneecaps tend to respond better to exercises that focus on strengthening both the hips and knees, rather than just focusing on the knees alone.
You may also be given core strengthening exercises that can also improve your back muscle groups, lower abdominal muscle groups, or pelvic muscles. Core exercises are aimed at straightening your posture and equalizing the weight load on both sides of your body.
As our therapists see fit, there may be additional specialized treatments added to your recovery plan, such as mobilizations to improve joint movement or other soft tissue treatments that relieve pain and promote the healing of damaged hip and/or knee tissues.