Physical therapy for your knee: 3 things you can do at home to boost its benefits

physical therapy for your knee

When your knee is in pain, or it doesn’t have complete mobility, it can interfere with your quality of life. Knee problems can make it difficult to do simple physical activities. It can be hard to walk up the stairs in your house or bend down to pick something up from a low shelf in the grocery store.

One of the most effective ways to treat knee pain or injuries is with physical therapy. It may take some time for a physical therapy treatment plan to restore your knee’s strength and range of motion. But there are some options you can do between sessions at home. It’s important to continue treating your knee between physical therapy sessions to maximize the results.

We’ll talk about when to seek physical therapy for your knee, how it can help and things you can do at home to continue the knee recovery process. 

Knee problems that can be helped with physical therapy

The knee is the largest joint in the body. It also bears most of your body weight while standing and walking. That’s why any knee problem should be treated as quickly and effectively as possible. Many people seek out physical therapy for knee injuries and medical conditions that cause pain, stiffness and instability.

You should try physical therapy for your knee if you have painful injuries or conditions like:

  • ACL tear — Your anterior cruciate ligament connects the shinbone to the thighbone. The ligament can tear from being injured playing sports, causing pain and reduced range of motion.
  • Runner’s knee — When there is pain surrounding the kneecap caused by a condition, it’s often known as runner’s knee. It can stem from trauma or overuse and cause dull pain around the front or behind the kneecap, known as the patella. 
  • Arthritis — The most common type of arthritis that affects the knee is osteoarthritis. It means that your knee joint cartilage has broken down and the bones are rubbing together. It can cause knee pain and swelling.
  • Jumper’s knee — Also known as patellar tendinitis, jumper’s knee is when the tendon that connects your kneecap to your shinbone becomes inflamed due to overuse. It’s often a sports injury for athletes who repeatedly jump, such as basketball players. 

What to expect from physical therapy for your knee 

When you’re experiencing knee pain and stiffness, a physical therapist can not only determine the cause of the issue, but they can help alleviate the symptoms as well. Physical therapy can increase the strength, flexibility and function of the area to restore mobility and reduce the risk of future injury.

Your physical therapist will determine the best treatments for your knee issues based on the cause and the severity of the symptoms. One of the most effective approaches to knee pain and injuries is therapeutic exercises. A physical therapist will walk you through stretches that will decrease pain and improve the joint’s range of motion. They will also show you exercises that will strengthen the surrounding muscles to improve stability.

3 things you can do at home for your knee between PT sessions

Even though physical therapy is an essential part of your knee recovery process, it’s important that you continue to work on improving your strength and mobility between sessions. There are things you can do at home to get the most benefits out of your treatment and get the best possible results.

Here are three things that your physical therapist may recommend that you do at home between sessions:

  • Stretches — One of the most essential aspects of physical therapy treatment for knee issues is stretching. Not only does it help to alleviate the pain and increase mobility, but it also reduces the risk of muscle soreness from the physical activity done during your sessions. Be sure to stretch between your appointments so that the joint and surrounding muscles don’t stiffen up, undoing any progress that’s been made.
  • Exercises — Similar to stretches, exercises are integral to your knee recovery. Your physical therapist can recommend exercises that you can complete at home between sessions to improve your balance and coordination, muscle performance, and range of motion.
  • Rest — Depending on the type of symptoms you’re experiencing and the treatments completed during your sessions, your physical therapist will likely recommend that you prioritize rest before your next appointment. Rest is a key component of your recovery, and overexerting your body will make it harder to progress.

Whatcom Physical Therapy can provide physical therapy for your knee pain and injuries

Whether you’ve sustained an injury from playing sports or you have a condition that has developed over time, physical therapy for your knee can get you back to your daily routines. At Whatcom PT, we’ll help restore your knee’s mobility as well as instruct you how to continue your progress at home.

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.