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Chiropractic Care for Knee Injuries

Published Date: 
August 3, 2022
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A man clutches his knee in pain.

If you suffer from knee injury pain, chiropractic care can help. Chiropractors treat many types of knee injuries.

How a Chiropractor Can Help Treat Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common problem that affects about 25% of adults. The risk for knee pain is higher among older adults and overweight people. For adults 50 and older, osteoarthritis is the most common cause of knee pain, and knee pain resulting from osteoarthritis is a common reason people get knee replacements. 

A painful knee can limit mobility and affect your quality of life. Chiropractic care is one of the treatment options available to treat knee pain. Unlike a knee replacement, it doesn’t involve surgery, and some people prefer it since it’s non-invasive. Plus, you can also use it as preventive care to avoid future problems.      

Understanding the Knee Joint

The knee is a hinge joint where the thigh bone (femur) meets the shinbone (tibia). This joint consists of ligaments, tendons, bones, and muscles that work together to help the knee bend and support the body when running, walking, and standing.    

Between the femur and tibia bones is cartilage that provides cushioning. This cartilage acts as a shock absorber and minimizes friction between the bones. The knee also produces synovial fluid that keeps the cartilage smooth to help reduce friction.

Ligaments are tough tissue bands that connect the femur to the tibia. They prevent the knee from sliding out of position when moving. Muscles, including the quads and hamstrings, provide the force needed to bend and straighten the knee.

A man sits on a running track because his knee hurts from a knee injury.

Common Knee Injuries Chiropractors Can Treat

From sports injuries to degenerative diseases, knee pain can result from many causes. Below are some of the most common.    

ITBS

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) occurs when the iliotibial tendon, running from the hip and down the outer thigh to the knee, swells. Swelling results from constant rubbing of the tendon against the knee joint, which can happen when the tendon gets too tight and close to the bones. This problem can affect you if you exercise too much or don’t warm up before exercise.

Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis

These two conditions occur when your immune system attacks healthy tissues in your joint. They can affect other body parts, too, such as blood vessels and the eyes. When they attack the knee joint, they cause stiffness, swelling, and pain. You can’t have the two conditions at the same time. So if you have rheumatoid arthritis, you can’t have psoriatic arthritis.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage wears out. Bones rub against each other, causing pain and swelling. Chiropractic care can’t restore damaged cartilage, but it can help prevent the condition from worsening.

Cartilage Degradation

Cartilage degradation occurs when the cartilage wears out and no longer provides enough cushion. This problem occurs progressively over a long time and gets worse with age. But it can also happen to people who exercise a lot.

Bursitis

The bursa is a source of fluid that helps reduce friction in joints. Bursitis occurs when the bursa swells and produces more fluid, adding pressure to the neighboring tissues. This problem can result from an injury or constant pressure, like kneeling.   

Tendonitis

In tendonitis, the tendon feels tender with a dull pain. It occurs when a tendon swells after an injury and affects people who engage in repetitive exercises, like running and sports. Chiropractic care can help minimize the swelling.

Dislocated Knee Cap

Kneecap or patella dislocation occurs when the kneecap slides away from its usual position. It’s a painful experience that results from sports injuries or taking inappropriate steps when walking or dancing. Fortunately, chiropractic care can help treat this problem. 

Torn Meniscus

The meniscus is C-shaped cartilage that absorbs pressure between the shinbone and the thigh bone. A tear in the meniscus often occurs due to trauma or a degenerative disorder. It can lead to knee locking, pain, swelling, stiffness, and inflexibility.

Torn Ligaments

Torn ligaments occur when the knee joint experiences too much pressure, damaging the ligament tissue. It usually occurs in sports injuries. The knee becomes unstable, limiting mobility. Muscle-strengthening exercises along with rest can help you recover.

Fractures

A fracture occurs when a bone breaks. It may result from falling or contact with an object or another person during a sport. A chiropractor does not treat fractures because manipulation of the joint may worsen the problem.    

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee appears as pain in the front of the knee. It may result from structural damage or walking and running in a certain way. The knee becomes painful when you stand up after sitting for a long time and when walking or running. Sometimes you can feel a clicking or grinding sound at the knee cap.

A chiropractor is treating a man's knee injury.

How Does a Chiropractor Treat Knee Injuries?

When you visit a chiropractor with knee pain, you’ll receive an examination to determine the cause of your knee pain. After diagnosis, the chiropractor will know whether your problem is a good candidate for chiropractic care. Problems involving fractures aren’t fit for chiropractic care.

A chiropractor performs knee manipulation to align the joint. A well-aligned joint exerts less pressure on the tissues and causes less pain. Also, knee manipulation reduces inflammation and helps recovery from injuries. A chiropractor can teach you how to stand with proper posture to distribute your weight evenly on your knee joints to prevent more problems in the future.

Can a chiropractor help knee bursitis?

Knee bursitis is inflammation of a small fluid-filled sac (bursa) located near your knee joint that cushions pressure points between your bones, tendons and muscles. A chiropractor can help treat knee bursitis by removing pressure from the area and reducing inflammation.

Can a chiropractor help osteoarthritis of the knee?

Unfortunately there is no cure for Osteoarthritis. However, chiropractic treatments can can help reduce the painful symptoms associated with it. Chiropractic care is considered a safe and effective treatment for osteoarthritis.

Conclusion

Chiropractic care is popularly known for back pain, but the same techniques can provide knee pain relief. The effectiveness of chiropractic care in treating knee pain depends on the cause. Sometimes, it helps prevent the problem from worsening but does not necessarily cure it. If you’re experiencing knee pain, consult your doctor to see whether you can benefit from chiropractic care.

Dr. Darren Faherty D.C.

In 2004, Dr. Darren Faherty graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from UWEC - University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Dr. Darren continued education at the highly esteemed University of Western States (formerly Western States Chiropractic College) where he obtained his chiropractic degree in 2007. He has been helping people recover from injuries and return to their normal lifestyles ever since.

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