Knee joints are the most remarkably engineered and most commonly injured part within the human body. Knee joints are the most stressed joints in the human body; however, they are able to bring together both mobility and stability at its maximum. The knee joint is heavily dependent upon ligaments at the medial, lateral, and anterioposterior side. Incidentally, any injury to these ligaments costs the stability of the knee joint.
Knee ligament injuries are mainly caused by road traffic accidents, direct contact collision between athletes, rotation and twisting during physical exercises, or fall from a height, etc.
An arthroscopic procedure is usually done to diagnose and repair meniscal tears, anterior cruciate ligament injuries, posterior cruciate tears and internal derangement of the knee.
At i Physio Perth, the physiotherapist will aim to restore the normal anatomy of the joints and bring the stability back to normal. You may be required to undergo physiotherapy for at least 5-6 weeks before you will be allowed to start running, straight jogging, jumping, and hoping, etc.
Physiotherapy for knee injuries is usually administered in stages.
1. First Five Days
You may be started on thermotherapy –heat packs, ultrasounds, etc. –as a measure to reduce pain in the joints. By reducing pain, your active participation in the physiotherapy modalities is ensured. During the first five days, you will participate in speedy quadriceps exercises, resistive ankle and foot movements, and straight leg raises to reduce effusion. The stability of the quad muscles determines the entire stability of your body. You will also participate in sustained quadriceps exercises with a 5-10 seconds hold. This modality will help you to release any reflex inhibitions at the joints. You will be also asked to perform relaxed knee swings to improve the general range of motion of the joints.
2. Five to Fifteen Days
Physical exercises done during the first five days are continued in this stage but more vigorously. In addition, knee rachet and ped-o-cycle regime will be started for reactivation and mobilization of the joints and for strengthening the leg muscles. The physio will try to achieve 90 degree knee movements in this stage of the treatment. Supported and weighted ambulation is also performed at this stage.
3. Two to Three Weeks
At this stage, the knee movements are expected to improve up to 120 degrees. The patient is expected to stand by himself on the unaffected leg. Pre-activation modalities of quadriceps will be started. You will be able to squat on the floor, sit with crossed legs, and prime kneeling during this stage. If you are making satisfactory progress, you will be able to ambulate with minimum or no support at this stage.
4. Three to Five Weeks
Isotonic knee exercises are started at this stage. These exercises are intended to stabilize and strengthen the knee joints. Exercises such as quad extensions and leg curls will build muscles that will result in flexibility and extension of the joints. In the beginning simple leg lifts and step-ups are done to increase strength. Free weights and machines are used in the advanced stages of these exercises. Exercises focused at reaction time of quadriceps are also continued. Balancing activities to improve proprioception will start at this stage. Gait training will also be provided at this stage. The patient will be allowed to resume daily work duties.
At the end of five weeks, you will be able to return to daily life as normal as previously. The patients can also be allowed to return to active sports with approval from their physiotherapist at i Physio Perth.