By Dr. Michael Gampolo
One of the most common knee problems is tendonitis. This condition is due to inflammation. This painful condition often occurs when a tendon or ligament that attaches to the knee joint becomes irritated, either from injury or overuse. Other common knee problems include arthritis, ligament sprains, muscle strains and problems with the ankles, hips, pelvis or low back.
The knee joint works best when the motion is either flexion or extension. Rotation and side to side movements are less tolerated. Too much stress in these directions can cause ligament sprains, muscle strains and/or tears (ACL tear, PCL tear, MCL tear, LCL tear, meniscus tear). Repeated forces during weight bearing can also cause knee joint irritation. Commonly played sports that can cause these conditions are tennis, football, basketball, soccer, and to a lesser degree golf. Continued irritation to the knee can cause calcific tendonitis, which is a type of arthritis.
Knee injuries or chronic knee problems from overuse can affect more than just the knee joint. Knee problems can adversely affect posture and performance. Sometimes simply walking or going up and down stairs can be painful. Knee pain can extend up to the hip and lower back. Many knee problems caused by inflammation of the tendons will also worsen with turning forces; a common way to acquire or to worsen knee pain is to perform repetitive compression exercises (jumping, squatting).
Frequent application of ice packs usually works well to reduce inflammation around the knee joint. It is best to ice the knee for no greater than 20-minutes at a time and not to reapply the ice until 10-15 minutes after removal. Using the acronym RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate) is the best way to ice the knee.
Your chiropractor can also examine your knee to help determine the nature of the condition. Diagnostic tools such as x-rays may reveal early calcification of the tendons around the joint, which may be one reason why the problem keeps recurring. With proper therapy such as joint manipulation, ultrasound (which can help reduce inflammation and breakdown calcified deposits) and other therapeutic measures, your condition may be markedly improved.
Other treatments for knee problems include protective bracing (kinesiology tape) and nutritional supplements like bromelain (an enzyme helpful in reducing inflammation and found in pineapples.) Your Doctor of Chiropractic can help you get a correctly sized and fitted knee support. Additionally, many chiropractors use orthotics to help stabilize the structure and posture, decreasing pressure on the knee.