A lot of people believe there’s no getting over knee problems, whether it’s something chronic, like arthritis, or a true injury, like a meniscus tear. But recently, I’ve come to disagree.
Here’s my physical therapy secret of the day- it’s the whole leg! (I wanna say “stupid” but…) When treating a knee I have a four pronged approach that works so well, that many times the knees heals more quickly and is even- occasionally- stronger than it was pre-injury.
The first PT prong is Pilates. My go-to therapy, Pilates, helps stabilize and strengthen the
knee itself, and includes the hip and ankle musculature in the kinetic chain. Pilates also engages muscle groups further away from the knee, in the lower back and abdominal regions, which helps increase the knee’s, (and the whole leg’s) mobility.
For the second prong, I go with a more hands-on approach. I use manual therapy, (a
combination of soft tissue and joint mobilization), to help the knee get its full range of motion back.
It’s important to work on both the joint and the tissue, really digging in- to increase lymph and blood flow- to get the knee to loosen up and heal.
The third prong, in my PT knee rehabilitation arsenal, is made up of closed kinetic chain exercises, where the foot is fixed. This type of functional exercise
therapy is what really stabilizes and strengthens the entire leg, taking some of that weight away from the knee, and distributing it to the hip and ankle.
Then the knee is able to slowly strengthen and get back to doing its job. Closed kinetic chain exercises work by mimicking everyday knee activities, like bending and kneeling, so that when the knee actually has to do those things it’s much easier and far less painful.
And lastly, I work on the core, which as the center of our body is responsible for every thing else that radiates off of it. I get a lot of weird looks when a client comes in for knee rehab, and I have him or her doing abdominal work, but it’s crucial.
A strong core reduces compressive forces in the knee joint and allows the knee to build more muscle strength than just doing isolated work around the knee.
© Copyright 2010
Best Physical Therapist NYC
Karena Wu, PT, MS
ActiveCare Physical Therapy
12 W 37th Street
New York, NY 10018