While chiropractors are very well known for treating lower back pain, neck pain and headaches, we are not as commonly associated with treating joints such as the knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, wrist any other peripheral joints. However as most people experience knee pain at some point in their lives, the chiropractors at Walkley Chiropractic Group are frequently asked to not only assess but also treat knee injuries.
While the knee can be injured in many different ways and with many varied activities, the majority of knee injuries fall into 5 major categories.
Knee Ligament Injuries
Ligaments are what connect your bones together, so in the case of the knee we are talking about thigh bone (Femur) being connected to the bones in the lower leg (Tibia and Fibula). Within the knee joint there are 2 very important ligaments called the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. Most people would recognize these as the ligaments that are commonly injured by AFL players. Other important ligaments are found on either side of the joint and are called the medial and lateral collateral ligament. These ligaments play a crucial role in stopping sideways movement of the knee.
While most injuries involving the ligaments of the knee are traumatic in nature, they can result from repeated stresses being placed on the joint.
Knee Ligament Injuries
Knee Cartilage Tears
Cartilage is pliable but tough structure that lines that portion of the bone found within a joint. Cartilage can be damaged from an acute trauma, or as is the case with a lot of elderly athletes, it can wear and break down through repeated use and abuse.
Within the knee there are 2 shock absorbing pads called meniscus. These structures look at little like crescent moons with one on each side of the joint. Meniscuses are very commonly injured in athletes. These injuries are painful and are very commonly associated with a clicking or a sensation of the joint giving away. In severe cases it can result in a locking of the knee joint. While many cases of a meniscus injury can be treated conservatively a percentage will require surgery.
Arthritis of the Knee
Arthritis is commonly found within the knee joint. While there are many forms of arthritis, the most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While osteoarthritis is use and abuse arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is a dysfunction of the immune system resulting in the body attacking its own joints. Both forms of arthritis result in pain, swelling and reduced movement. In severe cases surgery may be required with joint replacement not uncommon.
A common injury seen in athletes that are involved with sports that have a lot of jumping or repeated knee flexion is Jumper’s knee. With this complaint patients will commonly complain of pain just below the patella (kneecap). This is painful when pressure is applied and is aggravated by activity. When treated correctly there is normally a good result achieved for the patient.
So next time you find yourself experiencing joint pain, ask you chiropractor to assess you. Only then can we help by providing an accurate diagnosis and an effective management plan for your problem.