The knee is one of the largest joints in your body and is vital to movement. It allows the lower leg to move relative to the thigh while supporting the body's weight. Movements at the knee joint are essential to everyday activities including walking, running, sitting and standing.
How Does the Knee Function?
The knee is a hinge joint whereby the upper leg bone (femur) and the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) are connected by ligaments, tendons and muscles. The surface of the bones inside the knee joint is covered by articular cartilage, which provides a smooth and gliding surface for the joint movement. The joint has two extra pairs of cartilage called menisci, which spread the load more evenly across the knee. The knee joint is held in place by four main ligaments, the joint capsule and serveral large muscles which attach across the knee.
What Causes Knee Pain?
There are many different causes of knee pain. Although a knee problem is often caused by an acute or sudden injury to one or more of the knee structures, it may also be a result of repetitive damage over a longer period of time. Some people are more likely to develop a knee problem that others. Common risk factors which contribute to the incidence of knee pain include older age, previous knee injuries, being overweight and sports or work that place excessive stress on the knee joint.
The Importance of Exercise Therapy
Exercise therapy is fundamental in the rehabilitation process as muscles surrounding the knee directly support and stabilize the knee joint, Incorrect biomechanics in the lower limb can place increased stress on vulnerable structures, such as the menisci, which can lead to degeneration and chronic pain. Developing the correct ratios between opposite muscle groups and stretching overly tight muscles based on an individualized assessment, is key in preventing or rehabilitating knee pain.