Do sharp pains in your hip make it difficult to get up in the mornings, move about during the day, and lie back down at night? Do your knees feel unstable and painful, as if they may buckle underneath you without warning? Hip joint pain and knee pains can seriously interfere with your life, especially if you are dealing with both. Whichever may be hurting you, physical therapy can help get to the root of your problem safely and comfortably, without the need for harmful drugs or surgery. Contact Accelerate Therapy and Performance today to schedule your appointment with one of our physical therapists!
Why do I have hip joint pain and/or knee pain?
Hip and knee pains can be experienced together or separately. Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint that works to support the weight of your upper body, relying on multiple muscles and tissues to keep it mobile and stable so it can function properly. Your knee is a hinge joint, confined to forward-and-backward motions. Individually, your knees support more weight than the hips, allowing you to stand, walk, run, and dance without falling over.
Pain felt in the hips and/or knees may originate in the joints themselves, but it may also be a result of an underlying condition in another part of the body. For example, your hips and knees are part of the same kinetic chain, meaning they make up a combination of weight-bearing joints that must function together in harmony in order for your body and posture to function properly. Therefore, a problem with your knee joint may transmit painful signals to your hips, and vice versa. If one part of the kinetic chain is out of balance, stress and deterioration may be placed on another.
What causes hip and knee pain?
The hips and knees contain similar structures; therefore, they can be subject to similar stresses. Many times, the hips and knees suffer the same diseases, disorders, and injuries. For example, overuse injuries such as tendinitis and chronic muscle strain are common in both the hips and knees because both joints are constantly in use. They are also both subject to acute injuries, such as sprains, strains, and dislocation.
Hip and knee pain can also be affected by referred pain from a pinched sciatic nerve, as the nerve travels through both areas. Imbalances in your stance or gait may cause abnormal stresses and premature wear-and-tear in your hips and knees, resulting in painful symptoms or arthritis.
Some painful conditions may be specific to one joint or the other. For example, the Mayo Clinic states that cartilage injuries known as labral tears are specific to hip pain, while inflammation of the bursa sacs known as bursitis is a specific condition affecting the knee joint. However, painful injuries that cause instability in the hips can also affect the knees. Tight hip flexor muscles and weak gluteus medius muscles can cause the hip to rotate inward without you realizing it. This can cause painful problems such as iliotibial band friction syndrome or patellofemoral stress syndrome, as stress is put on the knee or kneecap.
How will physical therapy relieve my hip and knee pain?
The physical therapy treatments at Accelerate Therapy and Performance can help to greatly reduce your hip and knee pain. In many cases, it can even relieve it altogether, sparing you the need for potentially harmful medication or surgical correction. Our physical therapist will examine your hip and/or knee for signs of misalignment or structural damage, in addition to examining your stance, posture, gait, and range of motion. After your physical exam is complete, our physical therapists will prescribe a physical therapy plan for you, aimed at relieving unnatural stresses and strains, and normalizing your joint function.
You will be given targeted exercises designed for relieving joint pain and stabilizing weak hip and/or knee tissues. The exercises may vary depending on your condition; for example, research has demonstrated that those suffering from kneecap pain tend to respond better to exercises that focus on strengthening both the hips and knees, rather than just focusing on the knees alone.
You may also be given exercises designed to strengthen the core, including your lower back muscle groups, lower abdominal muscle groups, or pelvic muscles. Core exercises are aimed at straightening your posture and equalizing the weight load on both sides of your body. Additional specialized treatments may also be added as our physical therapists deem fit, such as ice and heat therapies, laser therapy, massage therapy, or other soft tissue treatments that relieve pain and promote the healing of damaged hip and/or knee tissues.
It is time to take a stand against your hip and knee pain. Contact Us Today at our Salisbury, NC location to speak with one of our dedicated physical therapists, and get started on the path toward long-lasting pain relief. Your hips and knees will be glad you did!