Osteopathy for Hip and Knee Pain
We all spend a fair amount of time upright, using our hips and knees for walking, running, climbing stairs, gardening, dancing and so on. The loss of function in either a hip or a knee is distressing precisely because we are prevented from doing activities which we enjoy and which help to keep us healthy. Osteopathic treatment can help to restore function and get you literally back on your feet.
What Causes Hip and Knee Pain?
Hip pain may be due to osteoarthritis, but more often it is a result of an imbalance in the muscles which control the hip joint. Misalignment of the hip can lead to low back pain or problems in the knee on the same leg. People often come to the osteopath complaining of knee pain and the hip is found to be the cause of the problem.
Knee pain can arise from any of the structures which make up the knee joint. Common sporting injuries include tears of the meniscus (a cartilage pad inside the knee joint), the cruciate ligaments or the ligaments at the side of the knee. These injuries usually arise as a result of trauma.
Chronic wear and tear can lead to osteoarthritis of the hip or the knee joint, which is more common among older people and those who are very overweight. If you are having a hip or knee replacement you may benefit from treatment post-surgery. Pain in the patella (kneecap) is more common among younger people and is also due to wearing away of cartilage which lines the back of the patella. This may be due to an imbalance between muscles which are attached to the patella.
Osteopathic Treatment for Hip and Knee Pain
Osteopathic treatment of the knee depends on the nature and cause of the injury. For a traumatic knee injury the main objective is to promote healing of the torn tissues and to ensure that new tissue is laid down in the correct alignment. Where there is a chronic problem which is due to improper alignment, the osteopath will focus attention on rebalancing the muscles and correcting alignment. If necessary we will refer you back to your GP for further investigations (x-ray or MRI scan) and in case of severe injury you may need an operation (eg a repair of the cruciate ligament).
Treatment may include soft tissue treatment to the muscles which cross the knee, articulation to the knee itself, articulation of the hip joints and lumbar spine. In cases of osteoarthritis, use of the InterX may offer significant pain relief, which gives you greater mobility, which in turn improves the nutrition of the joint.
If you have suffered a traumatic knee injury, your first line of attack should be to ice the knee. This reduces swelling which would otherwise impede blood flow into and out of the area. Swelling is the body’s way of immobilising the joint, so you should remember the importance of rest for a few days to allow healing to get underway. However remaining inactive for too long can be counter-productive, so after a few days of rest, it is best to start gentle exercise
Sorrel has a gentle yet intensive technique which gets to the heart of the problem area. She diagnosed a problem of referred pain/ strain following a broken bone elsewhere which she treats in the consultation and recommends stretches for me to perform at home. Not at all the bone cracking treatment I had feared!