Your hips and knees experience the brute force of your body’s exertion. Day after day, as you go through your routine and push your body to complete the tasks you demand of it, you are putting endless amount of pressure on your hips and knees. Every time you stand up, sit down, take a step, or dash up the stairs at the office to make it to your next meeting you are putting pressure on your hips and knees. It is really no wonder, then, that these are also two of the areas of your body that are most susceptible to long-term pain.
Hips and knee injuries are particularly difficult to recover from because providing these parts of your body with the rest they need to recover from an injury takes a lot of work. Even shifting your weight around in bed can put pressure on your hips! So how can you overcome hip and knee pain, then? The answer is right in front of you: physical therapy.
What is Hip and Knee Pain?
Hip and knee pain refers to pain that radiates from these two primary joints. There are many causes of lower-body pain, but hip and knee pain refer precisely to pain that comes from the joints, frequently as a result of inflammation.
The knees and hips rely on cartilage to prevent friction as the bones move against one another. Your joints wear down this cartilage over time, and the more you move, the more likely you are to experience this breakdown. In addition to the breakdown of cartilage, muscles and tendons can begin to experience overuse and will start to breakdown, and all of this combined can stimulate inflammation, which can lead to further stress on the joints. This creates a cycle that can lead to major discomfort, especially if it isn’t addressed quickly.
Causes of Hip and Knee Pain
There are a lot of different reasons as to why hip and knee pain may develop. For some, the reality is that a lot of activity means a lot more potential for pain, and so this is why athletes, as well as those who work in fields that are physically demanding on the body are more likely to experience pain in the hip and knee areas.
However, hip and knee pain is certainly not unique to athletes. Factors like age, being overweight, and other environmental and personal health factors can increase your risk of developing hip and knee pain.
Here are some of the most common causes of the problem:
Arthritis: There are several types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which can cause significant pain to the hips and the knees. Arthritis causes inflammation, which causes the joints to swell and increases the amount of friction in the joint, causing cartilage to wear down even worse than before. When the problem is caused by arthritis, the pain typically grows worse over time and doesn’t go away with traditional over the counter treatment options.
Fractures: Any injury can cause long-term pain in the joint, but fractures are especially worrisome because they aren’t always obvious. There are many situations in which someone fractures their hip and attempts to cope with the pain, which causes the hip to heal incorrectly, as it didn’t receive the treatment it needed.
Tendinitis: In addition to the cartilage and muscles, the joints are held together by tendons which can also experience inflammation. When this happens it is not referred to as arthritis, but is a condition that leads to comparable pain, tendinitis.
Other common causes of hip and knee pain include injuries, including tears to the muscles or tendons, as well as sprains and strains.
How Physical Therapy can help with Hip and Knee Pain
Physical therapy is one of the best options for treating hip and knee pain. When you meet with a physical therapist they will work to identify the cause of your hip and knee pain, and then will create a customized care plan that takes into account the best strategies to reduce your pain as quickly and effectively as possible. These strategies often include a combination of targeted massage, strength and muscle building, and flexibility and range of motion training.