Having Knee Issues?

Since becoming a Physiotherapist I’ve had a special interest in working with Knee instability and injury recovery. I come by this interest honestly; in my youth I was soccer crazy (who am I kidding – I still am) and used several years of Physiotherapy, and eventually two surgeries, to mange a knee condition so that I could continue to play.

While in Australia I had the opportunity to attend a couple of specialized courses that enabled me to advance my understanding of knee injuries and conditions. One of these courses was presented by a leading knee surgeon and the medical and training staff of a professional Australia Football League (AFL) team at their training grounds in Sydney Australia. The other by a very well known and respected Australian based physio – Jenny McConnell.

Besides the education, having several years of experience treating a wide range of patients, from high level athletes, weekend warriors, to the general population, has allowed me to hone in on the many different factors of knee pain and performance dysfunction. These factors can include, just to name a few: nerve irritation from your low back, poor patella (knee cap) tracking, osteoarthritis, bursitis, ligament or tendon irritation/ damage, trigger points and other muscle dysfunctions from the hip, and even from your ankle and lower leg! So that “simple” knee ache or pain, may have many different branches or roots, and having an assessment by someone who understands not just the individual issues, but how they all interconnect in a web of dysfunction, is your best bet in not only stopping the pain, but also making sure your knee continues to function in an optimal way.

Did you know – Most Osteoarthritis of the knee (knee joint and knee cap) can be prevented? Once the alignment or tracking of the knee is compromised, one of the major stabiliser muscles (VMO – inside quad muscle) actually stops working properly! The VMO is responsible for keeping the knee cap pulled inwards so that it tracks properly along the femur (big thigh bone), especially when the knee is partially bent (most of everyday life movements). Once the VMO “goes out to lunch”, it has a hard time coming back on its own. Trust me when I know how this feels – several years of this before my corrective surgeries, has lead me to learn about this concept all too well. The issue with the VMO “switching off” can start a domino/cascading effect of problems, typically leading to poor knee alignment, and ultimately to more wear and tear = more osteoarthritis and a higher likelihood of surgery/ replacements. The other question to consider is why did all of this happen in the first place?? This could be something as simple as sitting too long at your desk day in and day out, causing nerve irritation to the nerve that supplies the quads, or a collision in a sport, or a twisted ankle… the list can go on and on.

In summary, the knee is a simple hinge joint with a knee cap that sits on top for biomechanical leverage. However, as you can tell, the knee is far from being a “simple” structure. There are a number of different factors that will impact not only your knee pain, but also how the knee will perform after the pain has gone. You must also consider why the pain happened in the first place! Therapy and rehabilitation must have a multi-factor approach, you want the pain to be gone obviously, but if you don’t spend the time re-calibrating or updating the software, there is a high likelihood these issues will persist and your performance will suffer.

This combination of my life changing personal experiences and formal education/training gives me insight into what you as a patient are experiencing and the ability to help you.  Are you experiencing issues with your knees, contact me to see if I can help.

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