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Why Knees Hurt


Me day after knee surgery 

What better time to write about ‘why knees hurt’ than a day and a half after knee surgery as I sit here jealously watching joggers bounce along the sea wall on a gorgeous Vancouver day.  I am hiding out from my three little kids today to give my meniscus a chance to calm down.  It was a relatively minor surgery, but my knee is very swollen none the less.  I can add this one to my list of injuries and operations that help me experience empathy for my clients instead of sympathy.  Unfortunately, over the years, I have been way too good at market research for my work as a physiotherapist!  This article will hopefully help prevent you from sitting where I am today, or at very least know when to take the plunge and have surgery on that persistent, nagging knee pain.

A little bit of basic anatomy will give you a better context to understand your knees and this article.

 

Your knees are simply big hinge joints that are built to flex and extend.  They are held together by four major ligaments called your MCL, LCL, ACL & PCL.  Sandwiched in the middle of the joints are two C-shaped cartilage cups called your medial and lateral meniscus; these act as both shock absorbers and stabilizers.  On the front of the joints your knee caps function to protect your knees and act as levers to help strengthen the pull of your thigh muscles.

knee muscular anatomy

 

When I assess people complaining of knee pain, my first goal is to determine if one of the above mentioned structures is physically damaged or is something simply disturbing the mechanics of the joint, creating friction and causing pain.  I would say that 90 percent of the time it is the latter. 

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Posted in Blog, Knees, Pain Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
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Dealing with Injuries as an Aging Tennis Player

Tennis
I treat a lot of the top Seniors level (35+) tennis players in British Columbia, many of whom compete in the national and world championships every year.  These are not professional athletes, but very active adults with full time jobs that work hard and play harder.  The combination of work + age + sport inevitably results in aches, pains and unfortunately injuries.

The top five things that tend to bring tennis players into the physio for servicing are:

1.  Tennis Elbow
2.  Rotator Cuff Impingement
3.  Knee Pain
4.  Torn Calf/Achilles
5.  Low Back Pain

Below I will briefly touch on some of the principles you should follow in dealing with these injuries as they relate to tennis, age and work.

Tennis Elbow

Lateral elbow pain does not necessarily follow the “if it hurts, ice it” rule.  Nine times out of ten the root cause of lateral elbow pain stems from your neck and the back of your shoulder.  It is usually an irritation of your C6 nerve root in your neck and the radial nerve in your arm…that being said, if your elbow is hot, red and swollen, go ahead and ice it, but don’t expect just ice and rest to fix the problem.  Hands down the best way to fix tennis elbow is to go for IMS acupuncture to calm down the nerve irritation.  Once the arm feels better have a physio teach you how to move more efficiently so your swing doesn’t create too much strain on your neck and shoulder.  You may also need a tennis pro to adjust your technique and/or your racquet.
Suggested articles:
Elbow Pain: why it can last so long & how to fix it properly
Why Elbows Hurt

Rotator Cuff Impingement

Most shoulder pains are some form of an impingement (which implies a pinching of one or more of the tendons of your rotator cuff). 

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Posted in Blog, Elbow, Knees, Low Backs, Pain, Shoulders Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Basic Hip Anatomy

Here is my YouTube video outlining the basic relevant and functional
anatomy of the hip using an anatomical model.

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Posted in Anatomy, Blog, Hips Tagged with: , , , , ,
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