Knee pain

Knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints. The knee structure involves bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, muscles and bursas, so there are many elements that can be involved in knee dysfunction. Knee trauma is common from falls and collisions however most knee pain is due to altered muscle mechanics, often involving the kneecap.

Osteopaths will determine the cause of your knee pain and most importantly help you correct the mechanics of your knee and other joints so that you can move around with confidence and comfort. If need be, your osteopath will refer you for further medical assessment.

For the young:

Sporting injuries such as sprains and strains can be due to muscular imbalance, poor technique, or environmental factors such as terrain or equipment. Adolescents can also develop pain as a result of chronic stresses on their skeletal system which is commonly referred to as growing pains.

The tissues in the body have a memory system that can hold a strain pattern for many years, these strain patterns can slow efficient healing and if left untreated can predispose the athlete to chronic pain or further injuries.

A knee injury can also affect the biomechanics of the lower back, hip, leg and ankle.

Cranial osteopathic treatment aims to assist young athletes reach their full potential by ensuring the body is moving at its optimum.  Treatment can address the the muscular imbalances and improve lumbo-pelvic biomechanics, which could prevent the recurrence of injuries and decrease healing time.

For the adult: 

Osteoarthritis commonly affects the knee and is caused by degeneration of cartilage. In the worst-case scenario, the thigh bone and the leg bone will rub against each other and this can result in a chronically painful knee. Patients with osteoarthritis symptoms usually report knee pain that gets worse with activity, prolonged sitting or within half an hour of waking.

Cranial osteopathy treatment can relieve symptoms by gently working on the structure around the knee, improve circulation to the area and decrease swelling. This can relieve the tension within the knee. Osteopaths are holistic in their approach and will also work on the lower back and the other areas of the body that may be affected to improve the quality of life.

Some ways to manage knee pain:

  • keeping a normal weight (excess body weight increases the forces placed on the knee during everyday life)
  • stretch and strengthen the imbalanced musculature
  • choose exercise wisely (chronic knee pain would benefit from swimming or a reduced frequency of high impact sports such as basketball, tennis or jogging)

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Hendry M, Williams NH, Markland D, Wilkinson C, Maddison P.

Published in Family Practice

Several physical, cognitive and contextual factors, and a typology of exercise behaviour were identified that could be addressed in primary care consultations. The importance of gyms and GP referral schemes for people who are exercising for the first time, and the high level of patient satisfaction associated with these were highlighted.

Bachem S. Salzmann I. Schwartz U

Although only 30 patients participated, the study presents a significant decrease of pain and improvement in quality of life. Because patients failed to achieve recovery in the conventional, more local focused proceeding, but experienced an important decrease of pain in the osteopathic, the whole body including way, our findings lead to the hypothesis, that knee pain is broadly influenced by different regions of the body. Therefore we conclude that osteopathy has beneficial effects in the treatment and accompanying of chronic knee pain.

Haberl Franz-Josef

Compared to the control group, the osteopathically treated test group showed a statistically significant increase in performance capability. The experimental group was able to increase performance capability by an average of approximately 4.5%. Measured performance increased by an average of 8% among female and 5.5% among male test persons compared to the control group. Treatment showed a sustained effect in three out of five achievement groups, with a further increase in performance levels between the third and the fourth test. One achievement group of the control group also increased performance in this period. Evaluation of questionnaires proved that neither of the two groups was able to accurately self evaluate their performance capability. Apart from the low number of participants, the results confirmed that osteopathic treatment is able to enhance performance capability and improves the sustained effect of training.