If you injured your knee in an auto accident, at work, playing sports you should seek advice from an experienced healthcare professional. One of the common treatment methods for knee injuries is physiotherapy or physical therapy, also known as rehab or rehabilitation. Physical therapists guide you through light exercises and stretches, along with other treatments, to help reduce pain and improve your range of motion.
To help your physical therapist develop a treatment plan for your knee, the first session of treatment is typically dedicated, at least partly to an assessment.
The assessment will include your medical history and answering questions about your knee, including how you rate the pain, what activities trigger the pain, your range of motion, and how it interferes with your daily life.
The physical therapist will also physically assess your knee. Expect them to move your leg and knee in various ways and ask you how it feels in each position. They will also pay attention to how easily your knee moves and how you balance and walk on your knee.
This assessment is important because, although 25% of adults experience frequent knee pain, everyone experiences that pain differently.
As mentioned, two of the primary goals of physiotherapy for your knee injury are to reduce your pain and improve your range of motion.
Other goals include eliminating swelling in the joints, increasing strength in the muscles around your knees, improving your balance, and helping you regain functionality so you can complete your daily activities.
You and your physical therapist will come up with specific goals for your treatment during the initial assessment. Let them know if you have any goals in mind, such as returning to a sport.
Your physical therapist will create a customized treatment plan for you based on your current condition and goals. The treatment might include:
Some of these require a closer look.
For those unfamiliar, the last of these involves using TENS or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. During the process, your therapist will put electrodes above your knee on your thigh. They will then send small electrical signals to the electrodes. These electric signals signal the muscle’s nerves, boosting blood flow.
Although everyone is different, some exercises are a bit more common than others for knee injuries. Remember that with any exercise, your physical therapist will have you start slowly and with very few repetitions, then slowly increase the repetitions over time.
You may have to do straight leg lifts, short arc quads, wall squats, single-leg dips, hamstring curls, wall squats, or other balancing exercises
Your physiotherapy involves more than just the sessions you have with your physical therapist. They will also give you exercises to complete at home. These will almost always be exercises that you first complete with the therapist, ensuring that you know how to complete them properly.
On average, you should expect between 7 and 10 physical therapy sessions. This varies based on your injury and what your insurance will cover, though. More importantly, your physical therapist will ensure you have the skills and knowledge to complete your recovery before your final session.
At every single session, your physical therapist will reevaluate your knee injury, at least to some extent. This assessment may not always be obvious and can be as simple as paying attention to changes to your body’s reaction to movements.
Some of the techniques they will use for this reassessment include the following:
Even if they do not directly ask you to walk in front of them, you can assume that your physical therapist pays attention to how you walk during your sessions. Their training means they will notice any small improvements.
In the case of knee injuries that affected your balance, your physical therapist will also pay attention to how this imbalance improves. This is important because you may put too much stress on your knee when you are not well-balanced. Consequently, this hurts your knee’s healing.
During each session, your physical therapist will look for improvements in your knee’s range of motion. Some of this will be through observations during exercises. They may also take measurements to compare with your initial measurements.
When a physiotherapist palpitates your knee, they use their hands to feel the area, searching for anything that is not as it should be. During this process, they will also want to know if any touch causes pain.
These reassessments are important as they show your progress. They provide a means of showing that you benefited from physiotherapy. They also let your physical therapist continue to adapt your treatment to meet your needs and abilities, so they do not push your knee too hard too soon.
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