Knee Injury in St. Louis. A knee injury has the power to disrupt your daily life, and even your long-term well-being. There is nobody who is completely immune to the threat of a knee injury. Knee injuries can happen in a variety of ways — often when you least expect it. However, the most common knee-related complaints are knee injuries related to aging, repetitive motions (such as in certain occupations), and sudden movement or trauma that can happen in accidents and when engaging in physical activities.
Do you have knee pain, buckling, stiffness, swelling, or other symptoms related to the knee? You may have a knee injury, whether or not you can identify a specific moment of trauma that could explain the injury. For your swift and successful recovery, contact Axes Physical Therapy for help with your knee injury in the Greater St. Louis area. Our team of physical and occupational therapists will guide you in a recovery plan that leaves you stronger and healthier than ever before. Contact us to discuss your knee injury treatment needs with a St. Louis professional or get started right away by making an appointment now.
Do I Have a Knee Injury?
Do not rely on a webpage to determine whether or not you have a knee injury. If you feel pain or other symptoms and suspect that you may have a knee injury, you owe yourself a responsibility to seek medical attention. Knee injuries are among the most common joint injuries and make up the largest proportion of all sports injuries, and there are a number of ways you could develop a knee injury. However, in order to receive an official diagnosis and to understand your specific situation, whether or not it involves a knee injury, you must get the advice of a qualified medical professional.
Axes Physical Therapy has a network of premier physical therapy clinics in the Greater St. Louis area and throughout Missouri. Our clinics are owned and operated by the very practitioners who treat our patients, and our physical and occupational therapists have special certifications and specialize in mobility and movement disorders, including joint injuries like a knee injury. Your Axes Physical Therapy doctor in the St. Louis area has years of clinical experience treating knee injuries and draws upon advanced knowledge of the musculoskeletal system and the most up-to-date clinical data to assess, diagnose, and treat your knee injury or any other movement-related complaint or injury you face.
What Are Knee Injuries?
The knee is the largest joint in the human body and is integral to many of the motions and actions that distinguish us from other animals and allow us to carry out the complex tasks our busy lives require. This body part is made up of four distinct structures, all of which are susceptible to injury. The knee is made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
The bones of the knee include the tibia, femur, and patella. The bones are held together by groups of muscles, connected by tendons and ligaments, that make it possible for us to move our legs. In addition to connecting bones within the joint together, ligaments act to provide stability and limit movement in certain directions. Within the joint, the end of each bone is capped by a layer of cartilage — essentially a cushion that protects the hard bones where they meet and absorbs the shock of movement and weight that introduce pressure to the joint.
All parts that make up the knee, whether soft tissue or bone, are critical to the healthy functioning of the knee joint, and damage to any one or more of these areas can result in a knee injury. If you or a family member recently experienced an acute trauma to your knee or surrounding area or have a chronic condition that could cause damage to the knee, contact Axes Physical Therapy to learn about your knee injury treatment options in St. Louis today or request an appointment online now.
Knee Injury Causes and Prevalence in St. Louis and the US
The human knee is a complex part of the human anatomy — a beautifully designed joint that allows us to move and act in ways other animals cannot. However, along with the intricate design comes an inherent susceptibility to a variety of injuries. In fact, knee injuries account for the most common type of sports injury, making up 41 percent of all sports injuries. And sports injuries are just one type of knee injury individuals in St. Louis and throughout the US commonly experience. While athletic activity is the more common culprit for knee injuries in young people, older adults who sustain knee injuries most often do so in acute injuries involving falls and ramps or through chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis.
Consider these fast knee injury facts and statistics provided by Society for Academic Emergency Medicine:
- Adolescents and young adults (patients ranging in age from 15 years old to their late 20’s) are the most likely to suffer a knee injury
- Men experience knee injuries far more often than women, with 68% of knee injury patients categorized as male
- Nearly half (49.5%) of all knee injuries are caused by sports-related injuries
- Of sports-related knee injuries, the sports activities most likely to lead to injury are soccer and skiing, each responsible for more than a quarter of all sports knee injuries
- Other top causes of knee injuries are home structures (30.2%), and home furnishings (13.6%)
- The overwhelmingly most common knee injury diagnoses are strains and sprains at 42.1%, followed by contusions and abrasions at 27.1% and lacerations and puncture wounds at 10.5%
Common Types of Knee Injuries in St. Louis
- Sprains and Strains. A sprain or strain knee injury involves a muscle or ligament within the joint structure of the knee. These injuries are caused by sudden force to the knee or a sudden or unintended motion of the knee (for example, suddenly stopping to change directions or twisting).
- Fractures. A fracture describes a broken bone, which can be anything from a stress or hairline fracture or crack in the bone to something much more devastating such as a comminuted fracture when a bone shatters into multiple fragments. Even the patella, the bone commonly known as the kneecap, can be fractured in a knee injury, especially in events such as car accidents or forceful falls on hard surfaces.
- Cartilage or Ligament Tears. Blows to the knee from different directions can lead to a number of different knee injuries involving ligaments surrounding the joint. Sudden changes in direction such as twisting and pivoting motions can also cause a tear to the meniscus — the cartilage padding the knee where the bones meet — and/or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear injuries. You can learn more about our St. Louis physical therapy services for ACL tears in your area.
- Arthritis. There are countless variations of arthritis and each patient’s experience of the condition is their own. However, if you suffer from a chronic condition like arthritis and experience knee injury symptoms like pain and limited mobility your arthritis may be causing a knee injury and can even lead to the potential development of bone spurs. Without the proper quality arthritis treatment for joint health, you face rapid and irreparable damage to your knee joint cartilage.
- Tendonitis and Inflammation. Tendons in the knee area can become inflamed through overuse or repeated stress, common in individuals who engage in frequent running, jumping, or cycling activities. One of the most common types of tendonitis knee injuries is what is known as jumper’s knee because of the strain to the tendon that occurs as a result of the repeated force of hitting the ground after jumping.
Risk Factors for a Knee Injury
- Excessive weight. Being overweight or obese increases stress on your knee joints, even during ordinary activities such as walking or going up and down stairs. It also puts you at increased risk of osteoarthritis by accelerating the breakdown of joint cartilage.
- Muscle or bone weakness or stiffness. A lack of strength and flexibility can increase the risk of knee injuries. Strong muscles help stabilize and protect your joints, and muscle flexibility can help you achieve full range of motion.
- Certain activities and occupations. Some sports put greater stress on your knees than do others. Alpine skiing with its rigid ski boots and potential for falls, basketbal jumps and pivots, and the repeated pounding your knees take when you run or jog all increase your risk of knee injury. Jobs that require repetitive stress on the knees such as construction or farming also can increase your risk.
- History of previous injury. Having a previous knee injury makes it more likely that you’ll injure your knee again.
- Age. As we age, the tissues in our body wear down. The cartilage protecting your knee joint can degrade, and diseases like osteoporosis make your bones weak and suseptible to injury.
Do I Need Knee Injury Treatment in St. Louis
As with any medical condition or injury, each case is different and it is important that you consult with a licensed medical professional any time you experience a condition such as a knee injury that makes it difficult or impossible for you to function as normal or causes you serious pain. After all, who wants to go through life with chronic pain or any sort of physical limitation, especially in a part of the body as critical to movement and daily life as the knee?
While each injury and patient is different, there are certain times that immediate medical care is necessary. Specifically, when you suffer an acute knee injury, the biggest warning sign that you need knee injury treatment is swelling. According to Yale Medicine, swelling after a knee injury is a hallmark sign that the injury is serious and medical care is warranted. Rapid, extreme swelling that occurs within three to four hours after an instance of acute trauma to the knee is usually a sign that blood is trapped in the joint.
What To Do After a Knee Injury in St. Louis
When in doubt, err on the side of caution and seek out medical care right away after you notice a potential knee injury. Especially in the case of an acute or sudden injury, the commonly known RICE method can help mitigate the damage and support your knee injury recovery with a swift response to the trauma.
The RICE method refers to:
- Rest. If you experience pain or suspect a knee injury, do not force any activity or introduce any additional undue stress to the joint. If possible, avoid putting weight on the affected knee and minimize movement.
- Ice. The application of ice or a cold compress after an injury like a knee injury can help temporarily ease the pain and reduce swelling. When using ice on an injury, do not apply the ice directly on bare skin and remember to follow an alternating schedule of 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
- Compression. It may be helpful to wrap the injured knee with a soft, elastic bandage or ace wrap. Take care not to wrap the area so tight that it causes pain or cuts off blood and oxygen circulation to the injured area.
- Elevate. During the initial resting time after the occurrence of your knee injury, you can use pillows, a stool, or another prop or structure to help keep your injured knee elevated higher than your heart. This elevation can stimulate reparative blood flow to the injury, reduce pressure and throbbing, and encourage removal of waste from the area.
Types of Treatments for Knee Injuries in St. Louis
The right knee injury treatment for your condition depends on the nature of your injury, your overall medical condition, and many other factors that the trained eye of a clinically experienced, licensed St. Louis physical therapist with Axes Physical Therapy will identify and examine. Often, a knee injury can be managed with conservative treatment and, with the right movement medicine and timely intervention, you will be back up and running (and walking, standing, jumping, and everything else you love to do) within weeks. However, each St. Louis knee injury patient is different and every injury varies in severity, so your knee injury treatment plan in St. Louis should reflect that.
When you need knee injury treatment, you may be looking at the following common treatment options.
- Medications. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help relieve pain and to treat the conditions causing your knee pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout. Over the counter anti-inflammmatory medications can also help manage symptoms as your knee injury heals.
- Injections. Injections to the site of the knee injury, such as corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid have, in some cases, been helpful in reducing pain and improving mobility.
- Physical Therapy. Physical therapy focuses on movement health and correcting the problem at the source. For your knee injury, physical therapy may include treatments that strengthen and stabilize your knee and surrounding parts of the body, increase flexibility and range of motion, improve balance, and correct technique in physical activities.
- Surgery. Surgery is reserved for severe knee injuries and patients who have not had success with less invasive treatment methods. For a knee injury, surgeries can range from partial knee replacement, total knee replacement, or surgeries removing aggrrvating tissue or bone. If your knee injury treatment team decides that surgery is your best option, other treatments such as physical therapy will be critical in the preparation of and recovery from the operation to help you return to strength and full use of your knee joint.
Getting Physical Therapy for your Knee Injury in St. Louis
When you come to Axes Physical Therapy for knee injury treatment near you in the Greater St. Louis area, you will be assigned a dedicated physical therapist who will work with you for the entirety of your knee injury physical therapy treatment plan. With extensive clinical success guiding knee injury patients back to full movement health, your physical therapist will draw upon their extensive education and the most current evidence=based practices to help you successfully heal from your St. Louis knee injury and return to all the activities you love and need to be able to do for work, home, and recreation.
When you visit Axes for your first appointment after a suspected knee injury, your physical therapist will perform a full injury screening and evaluation of your condition. From providing a full and accurate picture of your overall health to consistently engaging in the prescribed exercises, it is critical that you take an active role in your knee injury physical therapy treatment.
In order to eliminate pain and other symptoms, heal the damaged tissue, and return you to optimal physical performance, your physical therapist may employ a variety of treatments to target your knee injury.
- Stretches and exercises
- Gait and posture training
- Heat and ice applications
- Electric stimulation
- Kinesiology taping
- Soft tissue massages or knee joint mobilization
Recover from your Knee Injury in St. Louis Now
If you suffered an acute knee injury or are experiencing any symptoms that you think may be caused by any type of knee injury, it is important to consult a knowledgeable medical professional right away. As musculoskeletal specialists with expertise in movement and the human body, the physical therapists of Axes Physical Therapy in St. Louis will help you understand your injury and design a tailored treatment plan that works for you. Contact our physical therapy clinics today to take the first step toward healing and relief from your knee injury.