The hips and knees are parts of the body that are common areas of discomfort. This tends to increase with age, as the cartilage in the joints begins to wear down. However, hip and knee pain can also develop from injury, overuse, or underlying conditions. In some cases, surgery may even be necessary; however, with the help of physical therapy, it is likely that you will be able to find relief without the need for surgical correction. To find out more about how our physical therapy services can help treat your hip and knee pains, contact Focus Physical Therapy today!
I’m feeling hip and/or knee pain… what does that mean?
When you schedule an appointment with a physical therapist, the first thing you can expect is a thorough evaluation. Your physical therapist will examine you to figure out where the painful area is, as well as where the pain is stemming from. For example, sometimes pain can be stemming from the hips but can be felt in the lower back, buttocks, groin, or the front/side of the hips. Additionally, pain stemming from the knees can be felt on the front or back of the knee joint. It can also be felt on the inside of the knee if a trauma occurred, or the outside of the knee if you are experiencing iliotibial band stress.
Hip pain is typically reported as a constant dull ache that doesn’t seem to go away. However, knee pain is a bit different, and is often assessed as one of several different types of pain:
- Chronic – Chronic pain can be defined as any pain that lasts longer than two or three months. If you’ve been living with serious knee pain for that long, you should consult with your doctor. He or she will most likely suggest performing another full physical exam, in addition to x-rays.
- Subacute – Subacute pain is typically felt two to six weeks after an injury. The affected area will still be painful, but it will not be nearly as severe as the acute pain of the first week. The treatment for subacute knee pain generally consists of gentle motions meant to increase your range of motion and facilitate healing.
- Acute – Acute pain is the most intense type of knee pain. It typically occurs after an injury and will last for about a week. The treatment for acute pain is generally just to simply rest and isolate the affected area, as your body is working hard to heal it.
How will physical therapy help my hip and/or knee pain?
As part of your evaluation process, your physical therapist will administer a series of tests that can be used to analyze both hip and knee pain. These include:
- Gait analysis. Your physical therapist will assess how you walk to determine if anything is out of the ordinary with your gait.
- Palpation. Your physical therapist will provide gentle palpation of the knee or hip to figure out where the pain is originating.
- Checking strength. Testing the strength of your knee and hip structures will give your physical therapist a better idea on whether your pain is due to an injury or a physical imbalance.
- Checking range of motion. Your physical therapist will test the limits of your knee or hip, to see how far it will bend. This helps in determining the severity of the trauma and will give your physical therapist an insight into what the course of treatment should be.
Your physical therapist may also decide to analyze your balance and/or measure the inflammation around the affected areas. Your treatment plan will be dependent upon the outcomes of these tests, as your physical therapist will design a treatment plan based around your individual needs.
The treatment plan you’re prescribed will include gentle exercises and stretches, in order to help strengthen the muscles around your hips and/or knees. Throughout the process, our Newhall, CA physical therapy team will closely track your progress in order to help you along each step toward reaching your end goal. If you have been suffering from hip or knee pain, don’t let it limit your life any longer – find relief with physical therapy!