FEBRUARY FOCUS – THE KNEE

The knee is the largest joint in the body and is very complex. It consists of the joint between the patella and femur (kneecap and thigh bone), and between the femur and tibia (thigh and lower leg bone).

As a weight-bearing joint it is required to be strong, yet it must also be flexible. It is a common area to suffer degenerative changes, and often sports injuries. It is effected by our choice of footwear and an increase in our body weight. It is prone to strain from problems above and below the joint. An injury at the ankle or foot can alter the position of the knee, and vice versa. A hip or spinal problem will readily place more stress on the knee as someone adapts and tries to compensate for the pain. The lower back and hip may even refer pain to the knee.

Common structures causing pain at the knee are ligaments and cartilage. Most commonly the medial collateral ligament, then the medial meniscus (cartilage), and then the anterior cruciate ligament.

Early and accurate diagnosis is essential. A delay could result in an increased chance of developing degeneration in the joint.

Osteopaths are trained to assess the knee joint, taking the area through an active and passive examination. Including orthopedic tests as appropriate. Osteopaths also consider the knee within the context of the whole individual. If another area were placing undue strain on the knee joint, then this could be addressed in treatment too. If necessary, referral for further joint imaging may be necessary.

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