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Chronic knee pain can be quite debilitating. What would you do if you weren’t limited by your pain? Would you walk more? Spend more time with your grandkids? Would you like to travel without limitations? We hear from the vast majority of our patients, “I don’t want to have knee surgery.” We agree! We don’t want you to have to have knee surgery, either!
Another major concern that a patient says to us is, “There is no cartilage in my knee, or, “I have bone-on-bone.” These patients have been told that they are a prime candidate for knee replacement and don’t believe that anything can be done for them. Let me be honest – this is the furthest thing from the truth! We’ve worked with many patients that have lost cartilage and have knees that are bone-on-bone. We’ve worked with patients that have had failed knee surgeries. We’ve worked with patients that have had major surgery in their past (torn ACL surgery, meniscus repair surgery, etc). We’ve worked with high performance athletes all the way to little old ladies. The results are almost always the same – these patients improve and regain their ability to return to doing the things they love.
Let’s explore some basics of the knee joint and detail some of our unique and innovative treatment options that we use with our patients.
The Knee Joint:
The knee is the largest joint in the body. It is primarily made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments and tendons. In addition, nerves that start in the low back (lumbar spine) run through it as well as veins and arteries. Three bones come together called the femur (thighbone), tibia (shin bone) and the patella (which most people know as the ‘knee cap’). Additionally, there is a 4th bone called the fibula, which is a small bone that connects to the tibia. This bone is often overlooked when most physicians treat knee pain. These three bones are surrounded by muscles that start at the hip, in addition, there are muscles that start at the knee and go down to the leg/ankle. Also, the popliteus muscle is behind the knee (many knee experts call the popliteus muscle the, ‘key to unlocking the knee’).
Unique and Innovative Treatment Methods:
When we assess a patient that suffers with chronic knee pain, we must first determine if the pain is due to a problem in the knee. The knee is a complex joint that has many moving parts and many areas of the body can affect it. We HAVE to look at the entire picture to get a true understanding of what is generating the pain.
At the Optimal Health & Wellness Center, we first start by evaluating the feet/ankles. Remember as mentioned above, there are muscles that go from the knee to the feet/ankle. The ankle joint is made up of the two bones of the leg (tibia and fibula). If these bones are misaligned due to feet problems, then that can generate pain in the knee. I’ve seen many patients that have a history of sprained ankles or have flat feet/flat arches that also have significant knee damage caused by not correcting those problems earlier in life. As part of our Knee Pain Program, we have the patient fitted for a good pair of custom made orthotics to address any feet related issues.
Next, we move up to the hip joint. Again, remember that there are several muscles that start in the hip that surround the knee. The Vastus Medialis and Vastus Lateralis are a part of the “Quads” or thigh muscles. The Iliotibial band (ITB) also has a significant impact on the knee. These muscles may be too strong or too weak creating unbalanced muscles that can affect the knee joint.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the knee is very closely associated with the adrenal glands. Many of our patients are in adrenal fatigue. While this isn’t an exact science and not always correlated, it is something that we must evaluate and look into. We recommend patients work on their adrenal problems (if present) and we have products to address them, if needed.
We also look very closely at the lumbar spine of our knee pain patients. The nerves of the spine travel down to the feet, leg, knee, thigh and hip. If there is damage to the lumbar spine then those nerves may be impinged making it difficult for the body to transmit energy to the area to facilitate the healing process. We often see degenerative lumbar spines in our knee pain patients. Many people call this arthritis. We have many treatment options to help alleviate the strain on the lumbar spine if there is damage to your low back.
And lastly, we of course have to look at the knee itself. By evaluating each structure specifically (each muscle, tendon and bone), we can find out in the knee pain you’re experiencing is only related to knee problems or if there is something else going on.
If a doctor *ONLY* looks at your knee and doesn’t evaluate the entire kinetic chain properly, then you might not get the relief that you’re hoping for. Let us do a complete evaluation of your knee to find out the exact cause of your knee pain.
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Thank you so much for helping my son we really learned a lot about health and how sophisticated the human body really is.