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.
Happy february! I hope you’re all keeping well. If you are experiencing any musculoskeletal problems, please do feel free to telephone or email and enquire if your problem is suitable for Osteopathic treatment. Until the next time, stay well. This month’s post focuses on the knee, I hope you find it interesting and perhaps of some use.
Happy New Year to everyone! Hopefully we’re feeling refreshed and looking forward to a healthy 2012. This month’s news focuses on respiratory health, and how Osteopathy can get involved in helping those who struggle. Read on through the January posts. The exercises can be done even if you don’t suffer from a respiratory ailment, it is beneficial to try and maintain efficient breathing mechanics.
WHY PUFFY KNEES CAN BE A SIGN OF “SILENT” ARTHRITIS (DAILY MAIL, ROGER DOBSON) – This article highlights how often symptoms of arthritis can be ignored, in this case the article is particularly talking about Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). It reports that if symptoms aren’t treated within 3 months of their onset, then there is a risk of long term joint damage, disability and pain. The article states that many ignore symptoms such as pain, stiffness and swelling. Putting it all down to the ageing process, or over-doing things.
The exact cause of RA remains unknown – a genetic predisposition, or possible viral/bacterial infection may trigger it? There is no cure, but there is a range of medications that can be used to alleviate the symptoms. Sometimes surgery may be indicated. The article talks about an injection which is currently being developed, it’s purpose is to stop the immune system from overreacting. Apparently results so far are promising, and seem to help the worse effected patients.
The key symptoms to look out for are early morning joint stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes. Persistent swelling of one joint or more, especially in the hands. Also pain when the joints are squeezed. MY THOUGHTS, RA is a terrible joint disorder and can cause terrible deformity and disability in those worse effected. Not everyone who suffers morning joint stiffness, pain and swelling will have RA. But its important for people to observe their bodies and report any persistent issues as appropriate.
SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT: WOMAN BANISHES MIGRAINES…BY HAVING FROWN MUSCLE REMOVED. (DAILY MAIL, CLAIRE BATES) – A 47 year old lady having struggled over 3 decades with migraine headaches has finally become head pain free. She has had an operation to remove the corrugator muscle (frown muscle). She had to have many tests to assess the potential effectiveness of this procedure for her, the surgery was carried out in Berlin. MY THOUGHTS, there are many different reasons why people suffer migraines, and it is a problem that is poorly understood. Any procedure which makes such a dramatic transformation to someone’s life is wonderful, but its unlikely to be the solution for all migraine sufferers.
Osteopathy can treat respiratory function via the musculoskeletal system. In acute and chronic disease we change the way we breathe to deal with the problem, especially with chronic (long term) issues where these changes become adaptations over a period of time. The system develops “bad habits” and over-relies on areas, often resulting in pain.
Osteopathy works on the areas directly related to breathing, so the diaphragm muscle, ribcage and associated muscles, are commonly effected. The ribs and diaphragm attach to the spine, so often this area is strained and can become symptomatic. A good example of this would be in the case of a persistent cough. Very commonly we will place greater emphasis on what are termed the accessory muscles of breathing. We have to when there is a disease process, it’s a coping mechanism. There are several muscles we utilise more, for example those that travel up into the neck from the upper ribs – scalenes, and those that travel across the chest and attach to the ribs – pectoralis minor.
Poor breathing mechanics can alter an individual’s posture, so an Osteopath would look at a whole individual to assess the areas effected and work accordingly.
The types of respiratory problems that very commonly present to Osteopaths are asthma, bronchitis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), people who are very stressed, and the common cough and cold. Obviously there is a need in some of these instances for appropriate medication to be given, and for the patient to be monitored by their GP. An Osteopath won’t cure these conditions, but Osteopathy may help when people struggle to manage their symptoms.
Happy December/Christmas! Welcome to the new Rivermead Osteopathic Clinic monthly bulletin. My aim is to offer some useful and interesting information.
After a mild autumn, we are now experiencing the cold once more. This weather can often highlight people’s aches and pains. Try and stay as active as possible and wrap up warm. If you have any persistent joint and muscular issues, I may be able to help. Osteopathy treats musculoskeletal problems from head to toe. It could really make a huge difference to your daily comfort.
Read the rest of the December posts, it may be of particular interest to you if you suffer or know anyone else who has hip pain. There are some exercises to try and keep us all more mobile, whether we experience pain or not.
Enjoy the festivities!
Hip osteoarthritis is the degenerative wear and tear of the hip ball and socket joint. It can cause local stiffness and pain, and may also create pain elsewhere as a result of the strain placed on other areas, or the hip may refer pain. It can substantially reduce an individual’s mobility, and reduce their ability to stay active. At worse, it may require a joint replacement.
If the joint isn’t bad enough for a replacement, what do you do? Staying mobile with gentle, regular activity and specific exercises should help. If necessary pain medication could be available from your GP or pharmacy.
However, Osteopathic treatment would aim to reduce or eliminate the need for additional pain medication. Gentle manipulation and soft-tissue massage can aid the mobility and comfort of the area. An Osteopath would also look at other related areas, and possibly work on these. The aim being to remove as much pressure as possible from the arthritic hip. For example, it is common to need to work on the lower back as well as the hip itself.
If you feel Osteopathic treatment may be of use to you, please call to make an appointment or to discuss your issue.