Patellar Dislocation Treatment in Visalia

If you’ve experienced a patellar (kneecap) dislocation and are looking for patellar dislocation treatment in Visalia or Hanford, we can help. Another way people often find us is by searching for patellar dislocation expert in Visalia or a patellar dislocation specialist in Visalia.  Quick note, if you are looking for care in Hanford, we also have an office there.

Surgery And Nonsurgical Treatments Lead To Similar Outcomes For Patients With Knee Pain

As a specialist in the conservative treatment of kneecap dislocations, the information below is worth reading.

The knee is the largest and one of the most complex joints in the body. It is a hinge joint that’s responsible for bearing weight and allowing the leg to extend and bend back and forth with minimal side-to-side motion. It primarily joins the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia), but also includes the kneecap (patella) and other lower leg bone (fibula). The patella is a small, upside down triangle-shaped bone that sits in the front of the knee within the quadriceps muscle, and it’s lined with the thickest layer of cartilage in the body because of the massive forces it takes on.

These structures provide the knee with strength and durability, but the knee also has limits that can be exceeded under certain circumstances. Due to the frequent use of the joint, the knee is among the most common locations for pain and injury, with knee pain being the leading cause of disability in older adults.

Dislocations of the patella account for 2–3% of all knee injuries, which typically occur on the lateral side—outside of the knee—and leads to ruptures of the medial patellofemoral ligament in about 90% of all cases. These injuries are most common in sports, particularly basketball, soccer, and football.

It is unclear whether patellar dislocations should be treated with conservative (nonsurgical) interventions like physical therapy or if surgery is needed when there are other associated injuries. In addition, the literature comparing conservative to surgical treatment for first-time patellar dislocations is scarce.

However, this study that we outlined below is one of the first of its kind and points to the value of seeing a physical therapist first.

20 Patients Undergo Either Surgery or Conservative Treatment for Kneecap Dislocation

Therefore, a study was conducted to investigate the outcomes of conservative versus surgical treatment for first-time patellar dislocations. Researchers recruited patients aged 15 to 40 years with a patellar dislocation in one knee, which led to 20 individuals being included. Twelve of these patients underwent surgery, which was limited to diagnostic arthroscopy followed by a soft-tissue repair of damaged structures, while 8 patients underwent conservative treatment. Patients in both groups were also treated with a brace that allowed for limited flexion and extension of the knee, along with partial weight bearing for 3 weeks, followed by full weight bearing.

Why Conservative Physical Therapy Care is Your Best First Choice – from the Patellar Instability Treatment Experts in Visalia and Hanford

Results showed that 25% of patients overall (5/20) sustained a redislocation, while the remaining 75% remained stable after 24 months. By group, 37.5% of patients (3/8) in the conservative group and 16.7% (2/12) in the surgical group experienced a redislocation; however, more patients (45.5%) experienced episodes of instability in the surgical group compared to the conservative group (37.5%). In addition, overall outcomes were not significantly different between the two groups, with a similar number of patients reporting “fair” and “good” final outcomes in both groups.

The Study Concludes You Should Strongly Consider Physical Therapy Care if You’re Looking for Patellar Dislocation Treatment in Visalia

Based on these findings, it appears that surgical and conservative treatment for patellar dislocations leads to similar results. Patients with a patellar dislocation should therefore attempt conservative treatment first, such as physical therapy, before considering surgery.  Moreover, physical therapy treatment for kneecap dislocation is less likely to cause patellar instability in the future too!

If you’re dealing with knee pain that may be related to a patellar dislocation, Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy can help.  We provide, natural, conservative care for rehabilitation after kneecap (AKA patella) dislocations at our offices in Hanford and Visalia.

Call us at 559-733-2478 (Visalia) or 559-582-1027 (Hanford) for more information or schedule an appointment today.

Basketball Injury Prevention Program

Basketball Injuries Are Extremely Common, But A Warm-Up Program May Help Mitigate This Risk

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the country, and its popularity continues to grow as athletes are drawn to its fast pace and evolving nature. Unfortunately, one downside of this increased participation in basketball is that it also comes with a higher rate of injuries in a sport that’s already known to be high-risk.

Basketball Results in A Lot of Stress on the Knees & Ankles

To play basketball competitively, players must move at fast speeds and display great agility and coordination on the court. Though every position requires a different set of skills, each player needs to run, jump, make quick changes in direction, and accelerate and decelerate with and without the ball. Though these rapid movements are integral to the game, they also put competitive players at risk for injury.

Basketball Injuries are Common – Ankle & Knee Problems Happen the Most

Injuries can occur in several regions of the body, but the ankle is by far the area injured most. Ankle sprains account for about 25% of all injuries in basketball, which makes them a major concern for basketball players of all ages. Ankle sprains occur any time the foot twists or rolls beyond its normal range of motion, which is usually from a player landing on another player’s foot wrong or twisting the ankle when making a cut. The knees are another problem area in basketball players due to the running, jumping, and cutting motions involved. Jumper’s knee and injuries to the meniscus and ligaments—including the ACL—are all very common in all age groups of basketball players. Ankle sprains, ACL tears, and other injuries can all cause basketball players to be sidelined for an extended period, and in some cases, to miss an entire season.

Study Monitors Players on 31 Basketball Teams for Two Seasons

To help mitigate this risk, many basketball teams have now incorporated injury-prevention programs into their routine, often with successful outcomes. This is exemplified in a recently published study, which highlights the type of impact a program like this can have on young basketball players.

For the study, players on 31 high school or club basketball teams—307 male and female players aged 11 to 18 years—were monitored for two seasons. During the first season, players only participated in a standard of practice warm-up. During the second season, all players participated in a training warm-up program called the Surveillance in High school and community sport to Reduce (SHRed) Injuries Basketball, which was designed to reduce ankle and knee injuries in youth basketball players. The SHRed Injuries Basketball program lasted 10 minutes and consisted of 13 exercises, which were intended to improve aerobics, agility, strength, and balance. A log was then kept of all injuries that occurred during these two seasons and comparisons were made between them to tease out any notable differences.

Study Results Demonstrate that Ankle Sprains & Knee Injuries Can be Significantly Reduced

Results showed that the SHRed Injuries Basketball program was protective of both knee and ankle injuries, as the rate of injuries was 36% lower in season 2 than season 1. This type of program can easily be incorporated into a warm-up routine, and based on these findings, it may yield dividends and keep young basketball players on the court injury-free for longer.

We’re Here to Help

At Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy, we can provide assistance with an injury-prevention program for your basketball team, or if an injury does occur, we can guide players through a comprehensive rehabilitation program that will get them back on the court as quickly and safely as possible.

If You’ve Already Suffered a Sports Injury – We Can Help You Get Back in the Game

Call us at 559-733-2478 (Visalia) or 559-582-1027 (Hanford) for more information or schedule an appointment today.

Preventing ACL Injuries in Female Athletes

In-School Prevention Programs May Be A Viable Solution To Reduce The Risk For ACL Injuries

Injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) are one of the biggest problems in sports. Approximately 100,000–200,000 ACL tears occur each year in the U.S., and one of the most at-risk populations is adolescents, particularly females. ACL injuries account for about 21% of knee injuries in young athletes, and young females have a two to eight times higher risk for these injuries compared to their male counterparts.

Differences in Development & Behaviors May Lead to Increased Injury Risk

There are several reasons for this disparity, including differences in the structure of the knee joint—which is looser and more flexible in females—landing patterns in sports, genetics, and hormonal and neuromuscular differences between males and females. Strength also develops at different times during puberty for females compared to males, which is believed to be another important contributing factor.

To make matters worse, ACL injuries are often not isolated incidents, as they may damage surrounding tissue and increase the likelihood of chronic knee problems like secondary injuries and early osteoarthritis in the future. But the good news is that research suggests many of these injuries can be prevented because about 70% of ACL tears occur without contact.

For this reason, numerous prevention programs have been established to reduce the rate of ACL injuries in high-risk populations, including adolescent female athletes. ACL prevention programs incorporate interventions like balance training, stretching, strength training, and plyometrics (jumping exercises) into a comprehensive framework that’s performed regularly, and research has shown that these programs are beneficial.

Recent study shows why these programs are frequently recommended

For example, one recently published study investigated the effectiveness of a strength-based prevention program for reducing the risk of ACL injury in adolescent females. For the study, a team of researchers identified 30 healthy female middle school students between grades 6 to 8 and matched them with another group of 30 healthy females of similar age, height, and weight. The first group served as the strength-training group and the second group served as the control group.

Individuals in the first group underwent a six-month strength training program administered through a gym class curriculum that targeted the muscles of the hips and knees, with the intention of improving hip extension and knee extension and flexion. The control group did not undergo any specific interventions. All patients were evaluated before and after the six-month period for various measures of strength and range of motion (ROM).

Study Results – Improve Strength & Agility

Results showed that females in the strength training group had greater strength values in hip extension, hip abduction, and knee flexion compared to the control group. The strength training program also led to significantly lower scores compared to the control group in a test called the Landing Error Scoring System (LESS), which is used to the risk of non-contact injuries during jumping and landing movements. These findings show that a strength training program for middle school females leads to several improvements that are associated with a reduced risk for ACL injuries. This program is also easy to implement since it was performed during gym class and could therefore represent a practical option for addressing the issue of frequent ACL injuries in youth sports.

Contact Us Today for Help

If you’re currently dealing with symptoms suggestive of knee osteoarthritis, Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy can help.

Call us at 559-733-2478 (Visalia) or 559-582-1027 (Hanford) to learn more or schedule an appointment today.

Running Injuries

Physical Therapy Is The Fastest Way To Recover From Running-Related Injuries

One of the best possible ways to stay active is by running, which requires little more than a good pair of running shoes, some outdoor routes to follow—or a treadmill—and the motivation to get moving. For these and many of its other attractive qualities, running has become one of the most popular forms of exercise in the U.S. But unfortunately, common running injuries tend to prevent would-be runners from getting started and may also hold back experienced runners from returning.

More than 40 million Americans consider themselves regular runners. This massive popularity is due in part to the numerous benefits that running can provide, including lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for heart disease, better sleeping habits and brain performance, and improved mood through less stress and anxiety. But along with its many benefits, running also comes with a moderate risk for injury. The constant impact of forces on the legs, bodily imbalances like muscle weakness, progressing too aggressively are all factors that can contribute to an injury. Below are a few of the most common running-related injuries:

Runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome)

  • Most common running injury (16–25% of all running injuries)
  • Involves the patella (kneecap) rubbing against the groove of the upper leg bone (femur)
  • Common symptoms involve a dull pain felt behind or around the patella that is often aggravated from running, squatting, climbing stairs, or sitting

Jumper’s knee (patellar tendinopathy)

  • Caused by repetitive strain to the patellar tendon, which attaches the bottom of the patella to the top of the shinbone (tibia)
  • Accounts for about 5% of all running injuries
  • Leads to pain and stiffness below the front of the patella and/or in the quadriceps, and an aching sensation usually brought on after exercise

IT band syndrome

  • IT band syndrome is an overuse injury in which a tendon called the iliotibial band becomes irritated from rubbing against the patella
  • The main symptom is a burning pain on the outside of the knee or hip that usually arises after running a few miles

Plantar fasciitis

  • Stubborn overuse injury and the most common cause of heel pain
  • Involves the inflammation of the plantar fascia, a connective band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes
  • Very common in runners—especially long-distance runners—due to the repetitive strain, as well as those with flat feet or high arches
  • Typically leads to a stabbing pain near the heel that’s most noticeable upon waking up and after standing for long periods

Achilles tendinitis

  • Overuse injury that usually stems from too much speed training or uphill running, or after suddenly increasing the intensity or duration of runs
  • Constant strain can cause small micro-tears in the Achilles tendon and lead to inflammation
  • Patients typically notice heel pain that comes on gradually as a mild ache in the back of the leg or above the heel after a run

How physical therapy can help runners return to their routine
Some may see this as a reason to not get involved in running in the first place, while others who have injured themselves from running fear another injury and stop altogether. The truth is that most running injuries can be effectively treated non-surgically through a comprehensive course of physical therapy. Physical therapists work with each patient on an individualized basis to determine what interventions will be most effective, and typically employ a combination of stretching and strengthening exercises, pain-relieving modalities, functional training that involves running motions, and manual (hands-on) therapy techniques.

The effectiveness of physical therapy is supported by a plethora of research, including a 2018 study called a systematic review, which evaluated 7 high-powered studies called randomized-controlled trials. Results showed that manual therapy led clear improvements in physical function and pain reduction in patients with plantar fasciitis.

If you’re a runner dealing with ongoing or a new episode of pain, Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy would like to offer our services to help you return to running quickly and safely.

Contact us at 559-733-2478 (Visalia) or 559-582-1027 (Hanford) to learn more or to schedule an appointment today.

Knee Ligament Rehab in Visalia and Hanford

 

Tears Of Other Knee Ligaments Can Usually Be Treated Nonsurgically With Physical Therapy

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are frequently discussed in the sports world due to their high prevalence and season-ending potential. But the ACL is just one of four major ligaments in the knee, and the three other ligaments can also be injured, either independently or in conjunction with others.

The consequences of these injuries are usually not as dire as ACL tears, and most patients can therefore participate in physical therapy alone and experience a complete recovery.

The type of knee ligament injury is determined by the force upon the knee

The four major ligaments of the knee and the most common mechanism of injury are described below. All four ligaments connect the tibia (shinbone) to the femur (thighbone) in different locations. As you’ll see, the type and severity of the injury depends on the direction of the force upon the knee:

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)

    • Connects the inside top of the tibia to the outside bottom of the femur in a diagonal direction
    • Prevents the tibia from sliding too far forward on the femur
    • Injuries most commonly occur when a patient changes direction with one foot planted
  • Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)

    • Also connects the inside top of the tibia to the outside bottom of the femur, running diagonally in the opposite direction of the ACL
    • Prevents the tibia from moving too far backward on the femur
    • Strongest ligament of the knee and least likely to be injured, but the most common mechanism of injury is a force applied to the front of the knee
  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)

    • Connects the tibia to the femur on the outside of the knee
    • Provides stability to the outside of the knee and prevents the knee from buckling outward
    • Most common mechanism of injury is a force applied to the inside of the knee while the foot is planted
  • Medial collateral ligament (MCL)

    • Connects the tibia to the femur on the inside of the knee
    • Provides stability to the inside of the knee and prevents the knee from buckling inward
    • Most mechanism of injury is a force applied to the outside of the knee while the foot is planted

Surgery is needed far less often for non-ACL injuries

Injuries to these knee ligaments are called sprains. In a mild, or grade I sprain, the ligament only stretches and is slightly damaged.

Grade II sprains are partial tears of the ligament, while grade III sprains are complete tears of the ligament.

In some cases, more than one ligament will be damaged or torn from a single traumatic event, such as a severe sports-related injury.

As we explained in our last blog, surgery is often recommended for most patients with complete ACL tears that want to return to a high level of activity. But for knee ligament injuries that don’t involve the ACL, surgery is needed far less often, and many patients can experience a completely recovery with physical therapy alone.  The reason this is the case is that rarely are the other knee ligaments completely torn in two pieces (grade III sprain).

Rehab may even be sufficient even for some complete tears of the PCL, MCL, or LCL; however, treatment decisions must be made on an individual basis according to the extent of the damage and the patient’s intended level of activity.

Physical Therapy Almost Always is Important for a Full Recovery

Even in cases when surgery is warranted, physical therapy will also play a role in helping patients prepare for the procedure and in the recovery afterwards. Physical therapy programs for sprains and tears of the PCL, MCL, and LCL typically consist of the following:

  • Manual (hands-on therapy) techniques to alleviate pain and improve function
  • Pain-relieving modalities like ice, heat, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation
  • Range of motion exercises to increase flexibility and help patients regain normal mobility
  • Strengthening exercises to increase the strength of weakened muscles of the upper and lower leg
  • Balance and agility training to help athletes regain their sense of balance
  • Sport-specific training that progressively increases in intensity as the patient regains function

If you’ve recently suffered a knee ligament injury and want to get back on the field or court as quickly and safely as possible, we can help you get there.

Contact Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy at 559-733-2478 (Visalia) or 559-582-1027 (Hanford) to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment today.

You can also click here to visit our contact page.

ACL Rehabilitation in Visalia

 

After ACL Surgery, A Comprehensive Rehabilitation Program Is Essential To Return To Activity And Reduce The Risk For Re-injury

Tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) get lots of attention in sports, primarily because they are very common and often put athletes on the sidelines for extended periods. Discussions about ACL tears often focus on the severity of the damage to the knee and the timetable for when an athlete will get back on the field or court after surgery.

One topic that may get overlooked, though, is the athlete’s risk for re-injury after returning to play, which is quite high in certain populations—especially young athletes.

Here’s Why Visalia Residents Looking for ACL Knee Rehab Should Contact Us for More Information:

In order to completely recover from ACL surgery and avoid additional injury, both the athlete or weekend warrior must undergo a comprehensive rehab program, which we can provide.

The ACL is one of the four main ligaments within the knee that connects the tibia (shinbone) to the femur (thighbone). It runs diagonally in the middle of the knee and prevents the tibia from sliding forward on the femur, and it also provides a great deal of stability for the knee that keeps it from rotating out of position.

ACL injuries are called sprains. In mild (grade I) sprains, the ligament only stretches and is slightly damaged, while grade II sprains are partial tears and grade III sprains are complete tears.

ACL Injuries Are Often a Serious Problem

ACL tears are devastating injuries that typically lead to:

  • Significant pain,
  • Knee instability,
  • Swelling,
  • Tenderness, and
  • Muscle weakness.

Any athlete or active individual can suffer an ACL tear, but the chances are highest in those who participate in high-demand sports with lots of cutting motions, like basketball, soccer, football, and volleyball. In fact, about 1 of every 60 athletes will tear his or her ACL at some point in their career, and this figure is only expected to rise as the intensity of sports continues to increase.

Classifications of ACL Ligament Sprains

Grade I and II ACL sprains can usually be managed with rest and physical therapy alone.

For complete ACL tears (grade III), physical therapy may be an option, but a surgical procedure called ACL reconstruction is often recommended for athletes who want to continue playing sports at a competitive level.

This procedure removes the torn ligament and replaces it with another band of tissue from the leg (usually a tendon).

ACL Surgery is a Start but Full Recovery is More Likely with a Good Post-Surgical Knee Rehab Program in Our Visalia or Hanford Office

ACL reconstruction is usually successful, and many athletes can return to their sport afterwards; however, one notable risk is tearing the newly reconstructed ligament or the ACL of the other knee. Many factors may contribute to this risk, but high-intensity sports with lots of pivoting and cutting have particularly been linked to re-injury of both the reconstructed ACL and the ACL of the opposite knee.

Completing a personalized ACL knee rehab & physical therapy program will minimize re-injury risk

For ACL reconstruction to be successful, a patient must allow enough time for the new ligament to become part of the knee—a process called graft incorporation—and restore the normal muscle strength of the knee to ensure it is properly protected. Physical therapy is therefore necessary during this time to help patients get back to their pre-injury levels and not return to sports until they have completely recovered. A typical ACL rehabilitation program will consist of the following:

  • Strengthening exercises to build back up the weakened muscles of the leg
  • Stretching exercises to increase flexibility and regain normal mobility that may have been lost during the injury and surgery
  • Plyometrics, or jump training, which is crucial for patients recovering from ACL tears
  • Recommendations on how to modify activities to minimize the risk for future injuries
  • Exercises to improve neuromuscular control, which is the body’s ability to stay in a strong and stable position regardless of what movement it’s making

The rehab process after ACL surgery is a long one, as Joe Burrow can attest to. The second-year quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals tore his ACL in the middle of his first NFL season and has spent the better part of the past year undergoing an intensive rehab program. But the quarterback is now healthy and back on the field, and only time will tell how his knee holds up in the long term.

Rehab your knee with Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy

If you’ve torn your ACL and are scheduled to undergo surgery, we can help you through every step of your rehab afterwards.

Contact Bacci & Glinn Physical Therapy at 559-733-2478 (Visalia) or 559-582-1027 (Hanford) to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment today.

Visit our contact page by clicking here for details.

Note: People looking for this content often do these searches too:

  • ACL physical therapy Visalia
  • ACL rehab in Visalia
  • ACL physical rehab in Visalia
  • ACL rehabilitation after surgery in Visalia
  • Note, we also have an additional office that does ACL rehab in Hanford.

Physical Therapy After Knee Surgery in Visalia & Hanford

Committing to physical therapy after knee surgery will boost your outcomes

The knees are built for durability, but they also take on a fairly constant array of strain throughout the course of a normal day. When structures within the knee joint are pushed past their limits, they can become damaged through various injuries. And due to the frequency that the knees are used, knee pain of any type ranks as the second most common disorder affecting the body’s movement, behind only back pain.

The Knee Sometimes Requires Surgery and Physical Therapy Afterward

The knee is a hinge joint that’s responsible for bearing weight and allowing the leg to extend and bend back and forth with minimal side-to-side motion. It primarily joins the thigh bone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia), but also includes the kneecap (patella) and other lower leg bone (fibula). Other important structures of the knee joint include the meniscus, which acts as a cushion and shock absorber, a thin layer of protective articular cartilage that helps bones to move smoothly, plus several muscles, tendons, and ligaments—including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)—which connect bones and stabilize them by preventing too much motion in any direction.

Any of these structures can become damaged, either through a traumatic incident, due to sustained wear and tear over time, or from a combination of both factors. Knee osteoarthritis—in which articular cartilage gradually wears away and leaves bones more vulnerable—is by far the most prevalent knee condition, particularly later in life.

Common Knee Injuries that Respond to Physical Therapy

Strains, sprains, and tears of knee ligaments and the meniscus are particularly common in athletes and active individuals, as are runner’s knee, jumper’s knee, and iliotibial band syndrome.

If you happen to experience a knee injury of any sort, it’s important to understand that you have options. Many knee-related conditions can be managed effectively with (conservative) non-surgical interventions like physical therapy, and this approach is generally recommended for most patients.

However, if conservative treatments don’t lead to notable improvements or in the event more serious injuries like a severe ACL tear or advanced knee osteoarthritis, surgery may be needed. ACL tears are typically treated with a surgical procedure called ACL reconstruction, while advanced knee osteoarthritis is most often managed with a total knee replacement.

Reap all the benefits of surgery through personalized physical therapy after knee surgery in Visalia

While surgery can lead to significant improvements, the buck does not end there. In order to experience the best possible outcome, you will also need to complete a course of physical therapy after surgery. Your physical therapy program will be personalized based on your needs and abilities, will help you work towards your goals, whether that’s getting back on the playing field or being able to play with your grandkids again. Knee surgery rehabilitation programs will vary depending on the surgery performed, but several components are likely to be involved:

  • Strengthening exercises to build back up the weakened muscles of the leg
  • Stretching and range of motion exercises to increase flexibility and regain normal mobility that may have been lost
  • Plyometrics, or jump training, for patients recovering from ACL tears
  • Recommendations on how to modify your activities in order to minimize the risk for future injuries
  • Exercises to improve body awareness, balance and neuromuscular control, which is the body’s ability to stay strong and stable during all movements
  • Activity-specific training for athletes and active individuals

Be sure to consider all treatment options available and evaluate the risks and benefits of each before determining if surgery is right for you. And remember that if you opt for surgery, adhering to your physical therapy plan afterwards can significantly increase the chances of a positive outcome.

Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about how we manage patients recovering from knee surgery or to schedule an appointment today.

Call Us in Visalia at (559) 733-2478 or Hanford at (559) 582-1027 for More Information

 

Physical Therapy to Treat Knee Osteoarthritis

Study shows that physical therapy produces
greater improvements than injections for knee arthritis

In our last blog, we discussed the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis and examined the role of imaging tests in the diagnosis and follow up of patients with this condition. We also explored why seeing physical therapist for knee pain first is always a smart choice because it will get you started on a movement-based program to regain your abilities from the start.

Should You Consider Steroid Injections?

But physical therapy is just one of many treatments available for knee osteoarthritis. Another popular option is the use of steroids that are injected into the affected knee to alleviate symptoms. Steroid injections are frequently used for patients with knee osteoarthritis, but there is conflicting evidence regarding their effectiveness and how long these benefits last. The guidelines regarding these injections also vary, and although rare, they have been associated with complications like infection and accelerated loss of articular cartilage.

Physical therapy has been recommended by some guidelines and was traditionally utilized frequently to treat knee osteoarthritis, but its use has been declining in recent years. According to one large study, four times as many patients with knee osteoarthritis received a steroid injection as physical therapy before undergoing knee surgery. It’s also been found that steroid injections don’t lead to any additional benefits to physical therapy for these patients.

For these reasons, a recent study was conducted to compare the effectiveness of steroid injections to physical therapy for patients with knee osteoarthritis. Researchers randomly assigned 156 participants with knee osteoarthritis to receive either ≤3 steroid injections over one year or ≤8 treatment sessions with a physical therapist over 4–6 weeks. In each session, the therapist would perform a series of hands-on, manual techniques to the knee and surrounding area that were intended to make it easier for the patient to perform various exercises and knee movements.

All patients were assessed before treatment began and then again one year later with the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) Index, which scores patients from 0 to 240, with higher scores indicating worse pain, function, and stiffness. Another outcome measure called the Global Rating of Change Scale was also used to assess patients’ symptoms, with higher values indicating greater improvements.

After one year, patients who received steroid injections reported WOMAC scores of 55.8, while those who received physical therapy reported scores of 37.0. In addition, scores on the Global Rating of Change scale were +4 (“moderately better”) in the steroid injection group and +5 (“quite a bit better”) in the physical therapy group.

Physical Therapy for Knee Arthritis is the Clear First Choice…But Some Still Need Surgery

Together, these findings show that physical therapy was more effective than steroid injections for patients with knee osteoarthritis, as they experienced greater improvements in pain, physical function, and stiffness one year after undergoing the intervention. Other studies have also identified a similar trend, with both injections and physical therapy producing similar outcome, but the benefits of therapy lasting for at least one year. Therefore, physical therapy appears to be the better option of the two since it outperformed steroid injections in the long term.

With this in mind, if your knee is bothering you and osteoarthritis may be responsible, we strongly recommend seeing a physical therapist first before considering other injections and other possible treatments.

Knee Arthritis Treatment in Hanford

For knee arthritis treatment in Hanford, we suggest you skip the imaging test and start physical therapy right away instead

If you are searching for options for knee arthritis treatment in Hanford, read on.  I’d like to share with you why our type of treatment is what you should try first.

Knee pain can be seriously detrimental to the flow of your life. Regardless of your activity level, you need your knees to function well in order to get around, and anything that gets in the way can slow you down and throw your days out of whack.

Such is the case with knee osteoarthritis, which is one of the most common causes of knee pain. Osteoarthritis describes several disorders in a joint that lead to inflammation-related symptoms due to the loss of cartilage and other changes to the structures within it. Any joint in the body can be affected by osteoarthritis, but it occurs most frequently in the knees, with knee osteoarthritis accounting for more than 80% of all cases.

Patients who develop knee osteoarthritis typically experience pain that gets worse with physical activity, swelling around the knee, a feeling of warmth in the joint, stiffness (especially in the morning or after sitting for a while), and sometimes a creaking sound that’s heard when the knee moves. These symptoms in turn lead to less mobility of the knee, which make it more difficult to walk and perform basic movements like getting in and out of a car and climbing stairs.

The Pictures Rarely Tell It All When It Comes to Knee Arthritis

Knee osteoarthritis is often diagnosed with a clinical evaluation—which includes a patient interview and thorough physical examination—and imaging tests like an X-ray and MRI. Many doctors use imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions, but the value of these tests and whether or not they are always needed has been called into question.

For example, one study investigated the connection between the loss of cartilage and pain in the knees of 600 patients with knee osteoarthritis. The reason is that when knee osteoarthritis is discussed, there is often an emphasis on depleted cartilage being the primary driver of pain, which leads some patients to request an MRI or focus too heavily on its findings. Results of this study showed that while there was some relationship between cartilage loss and knee pain, it was “modest at best.” A loss of 0.1 mm of cartilage over 24 months was only associated with <1 point of worsening on a pain scale from 0–20.

These findings suggest that imaging tests like MRIs and evaluating the thickness of cartilage may not always be necessary for patients with knee osteoarthritis. This holds true for the diagnosis, which can be reached many patients with a clinical evaluation alone—especially those who are aged ≥50 years—and as patients continue to be examined in the long term. Imaging tests are also expensive and frequently lead to unnecessary or invasive procedures to treat abnormal findings that may be unrelated to pain.

Physical therapy is a smart alternative

An alternative approach is to see a physical therapist before any other medical professional if you’re experiencing knee pain. Physical therapists perform a detailed clinical evaluation during the first visit and generally aim to avoid imaging tests unless they are completely necessary. Another advantage of physical therapy is that it begins right away during this first visit, with less of an emphasis on the diagnosis itself and more on addressing your limitations and impairments with a movement-based strategy. This allows you to work through your problems with guided assistance while developing activity-related habits that will translate into long-term improvements and avoidance of pain in the future.

In our next blog, we’ll look at why physical therapy is a better option that steroid injections for knee osteoarthritis.

Patellar Tendinitis Treatment in Visalia

This post is for those that are looking for patellar tendinitis treatment in Visalia or Hanford.

Patellar tendinitis, which is often referred to as jumper’s knee, is a type of painful overuse injury to the tendon that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone (tibia).

As the name implies, athletes in any sports that involve a significant amount of jumping—like basketball, volleyball, high jump, and soccer—are at an increased risk for developing jumper’s knee. All the jumping, landing, and changing direction that are part of these sports can strain or damage the patellar tendon, which is problematic.

Jumper’s Knee (Patellar Tendinitis) Comes from Excessive Stress

Too much stress on this tendon can create small tears, and over time, these tears can add up and eventually lead to symptoms. The most common symptoms of jumper’s knee are pain just below the kneecap, stiffness in the knee (especially while jumping, kneeling, or climbing stairs), pain in the thigh muscles (quadriceps) or weakness in the legs or calves. When this pain progresses, it will usually interfere with one’s ability to participate in sports or perform normal daily activities.

While some athletes might shrug off jumper’s knee and continue participating in sports, this strategy can be dangerous. Jumper’s knee is a serious injury, and pushing through the pain will only lead to larger tears and more pain, making the injury even more difficult to treat. Instead, one of the best choices you can make is to address your condition right away with a course of physical therapy. Physical therapists provide movement-based strategies that will alleviate your symptoms and improve your functional abilities. A typical treatment program for jumper’s knee will consist of the following:

  • Manual (hands-on) therapy techniques
  • Stretching exercises to reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility
  • Strengthening exercises for your quadriceps and calves, which will build leg strength and help prevent further injury
  • Taping techniques to realign the patella
  • Education on how to best return to sports in a gradual and safe manner

The Benefits of Seeing a Physical Therapist that’s an Expert in Patellar Tendinitis Treatment

The benefits of physical therapy for jumper’s knee are frequently supported by medical literature. In one study published in 2016, which was the first of its kind, 29 jumping athletes with knee pain underwent two types of exercises (isotonic and isometric) that are often used in physical therapy. The conclusion states:

This is the first study to show a decrease in patellar tendon pain without a modification of training and competition load and the first study to investigate isometric exercises in a clinical setting.

Most patients who actively rehabilitate from jumper’s knee will eventually be able to return to their sport symptom-free, but the first step is seeking out help.  So, if you’re involved in a jumping sport or are experiencing any pain in your knees, we can get you started.

Call us today for more information or to schedule an appointment

Click here for the contact information from our two clinics.

 

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