Positive Motion Chiropractic provides expert chiropractic adjustments to treat knee pain in Los Gatos.
Our knees are vital to mobility and staying active. Most sports require being on our feet. But knee pain can hobble us, making us feel prematurely old. The good news is that many times knee pain is caused by simple imbalances in the muscles and joints around the knee. Balancing out these structures can restore function and get rid of knee pain.
The sports chiropractors at Positive Motion Chiropractic have helping hundreds of patients complaining of knee pain with conditions such as:
- Runner’s Knee Pain
- Meniscus Tears
- Knee Ligament Injuries
- Knee Osteoarthritis
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
- Knee Sprains and Strains
- ACL Injuries
- Knee Bursitis
- Knee Tendinitis
- Osgood Shlatter’s Disease (OSD)
Knee Joint Anatomy
The knee joint is made up of four bones: the femur, tibia, fibula and patella. The tibia and femur are the main weight-bearing joint. There are also muscles that stabilize the knee joint. These include your quadricep, hamstring, popliteus, ITB (TFL muscle, sartorius, and gracilis. The knee joint bones are also held together by four major ligaments. They are the ACL, PCL, MCL, and LCL.
The knee joint is a simple type hinge joint. That is in contrast to a joint with multiple plans of movement like the hip or shoulder. Being a simple hinge-type joint means the knee relies on proper alignment and coordinated movement.
When knee alignment is off it can cause abnormal wearing.Over time this wearing or friction causes inflammation. If the inflammation is in a tendon you have tendinitis. If the inflammation is in the knee joint you have knee joint osteoarthritis.
Common Causes of Knee Joint Pain
The sports chiropractors at Positive Motion Chiropractic see a lot of patients with knee pain. And the majority of the knee pain they treat has a cause external to the knee joint itself. What that means is that problems at the foot, hip or even pelvis can cause imbalances that will improperly load the knee.
For example, if the arch in your right foot collapses every time your foot lands while training for your half marathon it is causing a cascade of damage. That dropping of your medial longitudinal arch in your foot causes internal rotation of your tibia which grinds your knee joint, mainly on the inside edge. Not a big deal if you only run forty yards a month.
But as your training ramps up and you start putting thousands of steps into your daily routine those imbalances will cause inflammation, pain and swelling at your knee joint. It might be acutely painful to the touch. You might have a stabbing pain when walking on it. You might even consider giving up on running thinking “I’m just getting too old.”
We see this exact thing a few times per month in our Los Gatos Sports Chiropractic office. We do a detailed assessment to look for imbalances at the knee, but also the hips, pelvis, and feet. And with balancing out those body parts we usually see patients knee pain vanish and their training routine come back online.
Acute Knee Injuries: Meniscus and Ligaments
Overloading the knee in an injury, like when skiing, can cause acute tears of structures in the knee. Most commonly, we see tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) and medial meniscus. These can be caused by planting and twisting the knee. Or by overextending the range of motion of the knee. The MCL is many times torn by a force hitting the knee from the outside, like a dog running into your knee.
While sports chiropractic care cannot heal a tendon, ligament, or meniscus, many times the injury also damaged the joint alignment and muscle activation patterns. Chiropractic adjustments and myofascial work therefore help balance out the structure of the knee and get patients back to their favorite activities faster.
Treatment Options for Knee Pain
There are many methods for treating knee pain. At Positive Motion Chiropractic we believe that the most elegant solution is always the one that is simple, addresses the root cause, and is the least invasive.
Many people take drugs, get injections, and have surgery to deal with knee pain. These options come with great costs and risks. However, in some cases medications (ex: oral steroids, anti-inflammatories, pain medications), cortisone injections, and knee surgeries (ex: knee arthroscopy, meniscus repair, total knee replacement, microfracture surgery, lateral release, ACL reconstruction, plica excision) are the most appropriate treatment. At Positive Motion Chiropractic we believe in utilizing these options only in emergencies or after trying more conservative alternatives that have failed to produce results.
At Positive Motion Chiropractic our treatment approach is simple and effective:
- Correct the underlying joint and/or muscle imbalances.
- Speed up tissue healing and reduce inflammation to give accelerated pain relief.
- Teach the patient how to reduce the chance of recurrence.
Utilizing this framework we provide rapid pain relief, fundamental joint and muscle changes to correct the root cause, and also help the patient avoid having to keep returning for care.
Here are some of the techniques and tools we use when we treat our professional and Olympic athlete patients. Guess what? They are the same techniques and tools we use with every one of our patients. (follow the links below to learn more about each type of treatment)
There are 210 bones in the human body and in-between them are joints. Just like the hinges on a door can get rusty and stuck, the same thing can happen with your joints (no, they don’t rust). When your joints become fixated and lose proper motion they become stiff, inflamed, and painful.
A chiropractic adjustment helps to restore normal motion back to your joints. There are many different ways to perform a chiropractic adjustment, including by hand and using an instrument called an Activator. Chiropractic adjustments utilizing an instrument don’t involve “cracking sounds” or twisting of the body.
The feet are the foundation of the body. Sometimes people have imbalances at their feet and arches that can lead to issues higher up in the body. Correcting dropped arches in the feet or asymmetries can have profound impacts on pain in other areas of the body.
Utilizing advanced laser technology we look closely at the feet and arches in all patient cases to determine if they could be contributing to pain and limitations. The scan highlights dropped arches but also differences in arch height from foot to foot, which can have profound impacts on knee health.
Knee pain at the inner knee or knee cap responds exceptionally well to balancing out the arches. The best news is our orthotics manufacturer has a 100% money-back guarantee: They will make you custom orthotics and if you don’t absolutely love them after breaking them in you return them to us for a full refund. You have nothing to lose except your knee pain!
Myofascial Therapy, Graston, Fascial Distortion Model (FDM)
Muscle stabilize and move the bones of your body. Fascia, or myofascia, encases your muscles in a thin, yet tough covering. This slippery covering allows muscles, tendons, nerves, and other structures in your body to effortlessly glide over and past each other. But through trauma, repetitive motion injuries, and postural stresses, these fascial layers can become stuck to each other through adhesions (think microscopic scar tissue).
Without addressing these myofascial adhesions the movement restrictions and pain come back shortly after getting a chiropractic adjustment or massage. But by working on and getting rid of these myofascial adhesions we are able to restore normal motion and help create lasting improvement in a patient’s function.
We utilize various myofascial techniques, including Graston technique (an form of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization or IASTM), FDM (Fascial Distortion Model) and cupping (static or with motion). These soft tissue therapies when directed at the right body tissues combined with specific chiropractic adjustments are core to the results we consistently see at Positive Motion Chiropractic.
Cold Laser Therapy
“We are going on vacation in two weeks and I want to be able to hike around Kauai when I’m there, but my knees…”
When patients need every chance to get back to 100% ASAP we have another tool at our disposal. We utilizes cold laser to help speed up metabolic rate, decrease inflammation, and help control pain levels. Athletes who don’t have any time to waste in getting back to 100% frequently use cold laser therapy in their treatment protocols.
Cold laser treatment is painless, takes around fifteen minutes per session, and is a great adjunct to chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue therapies like Graston.
Targeted Rehab Exercises
A specific single muscle can be weak leading to imbalance and pain. It is rarely a large muscle group that we would think of working out at the gym (ex: quadriceps or biceps). Rather it is usually a stabilizing or balance muscle which is often overlooked. But weakness in a vital muscle can have devastating effects on posture, joint function, and balance.
At Positive Motion Chiropractic we don’t give our patients a page of generalized knee exercises. Who has the time for 30-60 minutes of home exercises per day? Instead, through our detailed and personalized assessment we determine if the patient has a specific muscle weakness and design a customized, targeted rehabilitation program for those individual weaknesses. Translation: tangible decrease in pain and physical limitations with minimal investment of time and effort.
Most people have seen a professional athlete sporting some colorful tape over a body part. Professional and Olympic athletes have been using Kinesio Tape or Rock Tape for years. In the last few years we have seen more recreational and non-athletes using Kinesio Tape.
Kinesio Tape has three main functions:
- Decreases localized inflammation
- Helps reduce pain
- Aids in the correction of motion patterns
We apply the Kinesio Tape on the patient during treatment, but also teach them or a family member how to apply the tape so they can use it at home.
If you got this far reading about causes and treatment options for knee pain you deserve to take the next step and get a world-class evaluation by an expert sports chiropractor. Schedule your appointment now using our real-time online schedule.