WHAT IS HIP AND KNEE PAIN?
Hip pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions as well as from certain injuries. It often occurs when inflamed tendons from over-exertion or an athletic injury. Tendinitis, dislocation, sprains, and pinched nerves can all contribute to or be the cause of hip pain. Hip pain may also result from repetitive injuries or poor posture.
Fractures, tendinitis, and knee bursitis are all common knee injuries. Injuries that include torn cartilage or damaged ligaments can cause knee pain. Medical conditions such as arthritis or gout can cause mild to severe knee pain. You may be experiencing stiffness or swelling in one or both knees, and it might be difficult to stand, walk, or fully straighten your knee. Sometimes knees will make popping or crunching noises.
If you’re experiencing hip or knee pain, don’t assume it will just dissipate over time! Chances are that you do need to see a physical therapist for help.
WHAT BENEFITS DOES PHYSICAL THERAPY OFFER?
Hip and knee pain can be debilitating – it seems like no matter what you have on your schedule for the day, if you move around too much, you’re going to experience pain. Thankfully there are ways to reduce your pain over the long term.
It may take some time and effort on your part, but physical therapy has proven time and again to help reduce hip and knee pain for patients of all ages and backgrounds.
You might be wondering, “How does the pain relief I can get from physical therapy last for so long? Well, there are a few reasons! We’ve compiled some of the most obvious ones in a list for you below.
- Physical therapy will prevent future injuries. One of the big frustrations with joint pain is that it never seems to fully go away. Even if you rest for a while and feel better, when you go out and start moving again the injury can flare up all over again. But with physical therapy exercises, you get much stronger than you were before. The added strength allows your muscles to better support your joints, so you are less likely to experience additional irritation in the joint.
- A physical therapist can teach you how to move in the proper ways. Many times the pain you are experiencing in your hip and knee is related to unhealthy movement patterns. They may have been learned over time or in response to an initial injury. Those unhealthy movements cause added strain on your joints and lead to further pain and injuries. Your physical therapist will help identify unhealthy movement patterns and provide you with education that will allow you to replace those patterns with ones that will protect your joints from further injury.
- Physical therapy can help you live a healthy and active life. Chronic hip and knee pain can be significantly improved or eliminated through regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Of course, you have to be able to move without significant pain to exercise – something that is made much easier by physical therapy. Your physical therapist can help you improve your hip and knee pain and teach you ways to exercise so that you avoid injuring your joints. Through physical therapy, you can regain strength and mobility so that you can lead a more active lifestyle.
- It will stop your pain problem at the source. If you just treat the symptoms of a hip and/or knee issue, you are almost guaranteed to see the problem pop up again later on. However, if you can determine the true source of the pain problem, you can actually treat what is causing the pain. Physical therapists have a process to identify the causes of hip and knee pain so that they can give you targeted treatments designed to get to the bottom of what is causing your pain.
COMMON CAUSES OF HIP AND KNEE PAIN
A great number of problems can cause hip and knee pain. Some of these are related to musculoskeletal misalignment, poor posture, and/or excess weight gain; others occur as the result of natural aging or unhealthy sports/work habits. Your hip or knee pain may stem from:
- Traumatic injuries, such as dislocation of the joint
- Postural/alignment issues that throw your body off balance, straining the knees or hips
- Runner’s knee, an instability of the kneecap
A skilled physical therapist can often tell the cause of your hip or knee pain from its location. For example, pain along the inside of the hip is more likely to be caused by a problem with the bones or cartilage. Pain along the outer side is typically caused by a problem in the muscles, tendons or ligaments.