The knees, like the elbow, are primarily hinge joints which require a small about of pivotal shift during gait.
Pain in the knees occurs from largely three main sources: degenerative changes that cause cartilage to cause friction and irritation during movement; trauma-related injuries, which will most commonly involve damage to the ligaments or meniscus; and functional stresses creating pain.
The body is always looking to create stability. When instability exists in the lower back or pelvis the hips often compensate. This sometimes prevents the hips pivoting as effectively as necessary causing extra pivotal shift in the knees which respond by tightening up some of the stabiliser muscles. When this occurs weight transfer is not achieved effectively and stress occurs in the outside or inside of the knee presenting as pain.
Knee Related Conditions
Degeneration (Osteoarthritis). This can occur in the cartilage between the femur and tibia, in the meniscus (usually on the inside of the knee) or in the back of the knee cap.
Trauma related injuries: Anterior Cruciate Ligament rupture is the most common ligament in the knee to snap causing the lower leg to translate when walking. The posterior cruciate ligament and the two collateral ligaments may also suffer damage. The meniscus can become torn when the joint is pushed beyond its end range. This will lead to the knee becoming extremely swollen.
Functional pain syndromes.
Techniques Frequently Used
Severe trauma and advanced degeneration need to be referred to a surgeon for analysis, however, a chiropractor can usually make that call and progress your case to the right person following assessment.
Mobilisation can help increase the range of motion.
Active and passive release techniques are very useful in releasing the soft tissues that have become tight from functional compensation.