The knee is the largest, and possibly most complex, joint in the body. It is where all of the major bones of the leg join together with ligaments, cartilage, and tendons to facilitate movement by allowing the leg to bend.
Because it has numerous moving parts and performs so many weight-bearing functions, the knee is prone to multiple types of athletic injuries, especially in sports like soccer, football, basketball, and volleyball where sudden stopping, starting, pivoting, and cutting is often required during play. Runners, skiers, and gymnasts are also at increased risk.
Overuse injuries from repetitive motions and natural wear and tear to the joint can result in general knee pain and stiffness, along with worn-down cartilage, meniscus or tendon tears, and tendonitis. These types of injuries not only make it uncomfortable to participate in your sport but can eventually make it difficult to climb stairs or get up from a seated position.
Acute injuries to the knee, such as fractures, dislocations, and ligament injuries, tend to be associated with more traumatic events like awkward landings or a direct impact with another player or the ground and can have an immediate impact on mobility.
While some of these injuries will immediately or eventually require surgery, many knee complaints can be addressed through chiropractic care, especially if caught soon enough. That’s because proper body alignment plays a key role in knee function and overall body mechanics.
Oftentimes, knee pain and injury don’t even originate in the knee but are a result of a limited range of motion in the hips and/or lower back that places undue strain on the knee joints. Correcting misalignments or lack of flexibility in these areas can relieve the stress on the knees, reduce pain, and prevent further pain and injury. On the flip side, pain that originates in the knee may cause an athlete to compensate in ways that create misalignments (and pain) elsewhere in the body.
These minor discomforts, when ignored, can end up becoming major problems. Often, patients report experiencing escalating or off/on pain for months or even years before finally tearing a meniscus, ACL, or facing another injury requiring surgical intervention. It’s best to have knee pain seen about right away.
The thorough assessment and diagnostic methods utilized in sports chiropractic can be useful in not only pinpointing the source of the pain — whether in the knee or elsewhere in the body — but also in formulating an appropriate treatment plan.
Your chiropractor may suggest:
* Xrays or other imaging
* Spine or knee adjustment to ensure everything is properly aligned
* Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) and/or soft tissue massage to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow to the area
* Deep tissue or trigger point therapy to reinforce mobilization
* Stretching and strengthening exercises to encourage flexibility and stability
If surgery is required, sports chiropractic can complement orthopedic efforts as an important part of rehabilitation during the post-op period. Many of the same therapies used on patients who don’t need surgery are extremely effective at alleviating pain (and limiting the need for prescription medications,) and reducing healing time. Furthermore, chiropractic rehab focuses on strengthening and stabilizing the knees to prevent future injury.
Even for athletes who currently have no pain, sports chiropractic can help keep it that way. When included as part of a regular training program, chiropractic therapies are extremely effective at both reducing the likelihood of injury and optimizing performance.
Sports chiropractic is increasingly an athlete’s first stop when experiencing pain during training or play. If you’re dealing with knee pain, whether new or old, mild or severe, contact Dynamic Sports Medicine for an evaluation.