Knee Knowledge - Mark Smith, PT

Posted: February 1, 2019

This February, we are discussing the knee joint and associated conditions that often get in the way of how we perform in our lives  We will discuss acute knee issues as well chronic issues that most affect people and are often remedied or managed best through Physical Therapy.

Common knee problems seen:

Patellar Tendonitis- Inflammation and irritation of the tendon in the front of the knee that develops from overuse and repetitive stress.

Infrapatellar Fat Pad irritation- Very painful but relatively benign condition just below the knee cap that responds well to therapy and pain/inflammatory relieving modalities.  Pain is due to a very high concentration of nerve endings in this tissue.  Often missed in an evaluation and results in over treating or excessive imaging studies.

Anterior Knee Pain- A variety of origins of pain in the front of the knee mostly related to the Patella-femoral joint.

Meniscus tears-  Injury to the “cushions” between the femur and the tibia that help stabilize and pad, protecting the articular cartilage of the joint that is so vital to normal function of the knee and prevention of early degenerative changes.

Ligament sprains- Ligaments provide stability to the knee joint and are often injured with sports and slips or falls causing the soft tissue to tear or actually rupture.  Ofter able to be treated conservatively but some times surgical reconstruction is required to stabilize the joint.
Examples-  ACL ( anterior cruciate ligament) , MCL ( medial collateral ligament).

Osteoarthritis- Degeneration that takes place in the knee throughout a life time often sped up by a previous trauma or injury to joint earlier in life.


Many knee problems are a result of what’s happening above or below the knee joint.  The mechanics of the foot and ankle and the hip often manifest themselves at the knee joint.   Flat, over pronated feet can change the mechanics causing the knee to fall inward and develop pain  in the front or inside part of the knee. By addressing what is happening at the hip and foot/ankle through strengthening and addressing biomechanics many knee problems can be thwarted.

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