I HAVE PAIN BEHIND MY KNEE CAP, WHAT IS THIS?
Pain behind the kneecap is most commonly due to mal-tracking of the knee cap. The outer thigh muscles are often tight and pull the knee cap out to the side. Weak inner thigh muscles are unable to counteract this pull. This causes pain as the cartilage gets worn out unevenly. Relief is achieved by releasing and stretching the outer thigh muscles and strengthening the inner thigh muscles.
I HAVE DAMAGED MY CARTILAGE, WHAT IS THIS AND CAN PHYSIO HELP?
Every joint in the body has articular cartilage on the surface to assist the joints to glide over one another during movement. In addition to the articular cartilage covering the surfaces of the tibia and femur, the knee joint has 2 wedges of cartilage within the knee joint that serve as shock absorbers and increase the congruency of the femoral and tibial surfaces.
You can damage any of these surfaces/wedges due to wear and tear or a sports injury. Cartilage does not heal very well on its own however physiotherapy can help to correct the cause of the cartilage problem by correcting muscle imbalances, encouraging normal distribution of forces and taking the pressure off the damaged area.
HOW IMPORTANT ARE THE CRUCIATE LIGAMENTS TO THE KNEE?
Your anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments are crucial to stability of the knee especially in athletes. They prevent excess movement of the tibia (shin bone) on the femur (thigh bone). Damage to these ligaments will create excess movement in the joint and place increased stress on the cartilage and collateral ligaments.
WHICH SPORTS ARE CONSIDERED KNEE FRIENDLY?
Walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, generally anything non weight-bearing!
WILL A BRACE/KNEE GUARD HELP/PROTECT MY KNEE COMPLETELY?
A knee guard will not be enough to protect the knee joint however it will give you a sense of what the knee is doing and thus activate your muscular system to prevent awkward movements.
A brace is a much stronger support than a knee guard. It has metal parts in it that protect ligaments from tearing. They can be tailor-made for a specific body type and injury. This however should not replace physiotherapy that will restrengthen specific muscles, and improve biomechanics and balance.
MY CHILD HAS KNEE PAIN, WHAT COULD THIS BE?
Children can develop knee pain for various reasons but it is often caused by the thigh muscle (quadriceps) pulling on the tibia where the bone is still developing (during childhood the growth plates which are at the ends of bone have not fully closed and are at risk of injury). The child will experience pain and swelling below the knee cap. Treatment will include ice and rest at first and progress to stretching of the thigh muscles to take pressure off the knee cap and bones.