Common Conditions Related to Knee Pain or Dysfunction

Close up of woman's knees and legs with resistance band on

What is anterior cruciate ligament tear / repair (ACL)?

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an important structure in the knee joint that controls rotation and forward motion between the tibia (lower leg bone) and femur (thigh bone). An injury to this ligament can occur during athletics or an accident and often is not due to a direct contact injury. ACL injuries are more common in women than men and when injured this typically causes very sharp pain with an audible "pop," causing your knee to give way when trying to put pressure on it. Many people opt for surgery after an ACL tear, but some can be successfully rehabilitated without surgery. A CityPT physical therapist can help determine if you are an appropriate candidate to manage an ACL without surgery and/or guide you through pre-surgical exercises to help you achieve optimal outcomes. If surgery is required, CityPT physical therapists are well versed in the proper treatment protocols to foster return to sport, high activity levels and daily life.

What is a meniscus tear?

A meniscus tear is an injury to the cushion between the tibia (lower leg bone) and femur (thigh bone). We have a medial (inside) and lateral (outside) meniscus in the knee joint. Full or partial tearing can be caused by trauma or breakdown over time. The most common mechanism of injury to a meniscus is by standing on a slightly bent knee and twisting. A CityPT physical therapist can determine if your symptoms fit a meniscal tear and can assist you in avoiding surgery or performing pre-surgical exercises to improve your post-surgical outcomes. Did you know that not all meniscal tears require surgery? When the meniscus tear is smaller and stable it is preferred to treat the tear with physical therapy. CityPT physical therapists stay up to date on the latest research to help reduce your pain, increase your strength, improve your mobility and help you return to sport and daily activities.

What is iliotibial band syndrome (ITB)?

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITB) is a common overuse injury that presents as pain along the outside of the hip, thigh, and/or knee. Pain is caused by friction and compression of this thick band of connective tissue against the thigh and knee bones. ITB friction is commonly caused by altered body mechanics that arise from weakness in the hip musculature which causes compression and rubbing at the knee joint in certain positions leading to inflammation and pain. A CityPT physical therapist can help you find activities that reduce the friction/compression of the ITB at your knee to help with reduced pain levels. Your therapist will then find the root cause of why you are experiencing your symptoms, target an appropriate strengthening and mobility routine to your needs, and educate you on how to perform myofascial treatment. Physical therapy from CityPT should be the first line of treatment for ITB syndrome so that you can get back to pain free performance of your daily activities, work, and sport.

What is bursitis in the knee?

Bursitis in the knee is inflammation of a small fluid filled sac (bursa) that cushions between muscle, tendon, and bone. This inflammation occurs over time as a result of poor positioning at the knee resulting in increased friction forces. The most common locations for knee bursitis are on the inside of the knee where three muscles insert in close proximity to one another (known as pes anserine bursitis) and at the knee cap (patellar bursitis). A CityPT physical therapist will listen to your condition and determine ways to reduce friction to this area based on common activities you perform. Your therapist will then tailor a treatment plan to you that targets a regular cardiovascular exercise routine, strengthening and mobility exercises to lower your pain levels and provide you with the tools you need to get back to your optimal function.

What is a stress fracture?

A stress fracture is hairline cracking in a bone that typically is caused from repetitive impact activities like marching and running. The tibia, lower leg bone, is a common location for stress fractures. There is an increased risk of developing a stress fracture if you have a poor diet, osteoporosis, hormonal imbalance, or have poor sleep hygiene. A CityPT physical therapist can also determine different factors causing your stress fracture by assessing your chain of movement to determine which areas of your body need to be addressed. Your therapist can help you learn how to diversify your exercise and gradually ramp up intensity of exercise to avoid any future stress fractures.

What is patello femoral pain syndrome (PFPS)?

Patello femoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is a generic term describing pain at and around the knee cap. The patello femoral joint is the area where the patella (knee cap) meets the femur (leg bone) and is one of the joints in our knee. The patella glides within a groove in the femur as our knee flexes and extends. Irritation in this area can be due to trauma, poor alignment, and/or muscular imbalance. While the pain may be felt at the knee, the problem may be a misalignment issue actually caused by imbalance at the hip or foot. It is important to consult with one of our physical therapists to find the cause of your knee pain to determine an appropriate treatment plan for your individual condition.

What is knee ligament pain / injury?

Knee ligament pain/injury is discomfort felt due to irritation or injury at one or more of the four main ligaments at the knee joint. A ligament is a connective tissue that connects bone to bone and injury to these areas can be due to improper warm up prior to activity, weakness, trauma or quick motions during contact and non contact sports. A common ligament of the knee that individuals are familiar with is the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament. A proper warm up prior to activity and sport can help prevent knee ligament injuries and provide proper muscular reaction strategies that carry over into other tasks. Many ligament strains can be managed conservatively with physical therapy from CityPT. All CityPT physical therapists are knowledgeable on the positions that stress the ligaments in the knee. We can help you determine which balance, strengthening, and mobility exercises are needed get you back to your normal work, family, and sport activities.