that one knee begins to hurt and it doesn’t go away. What do you do?
“Should I get an MRI?”
Most likely not. MRI and imaging are often only necessary with persistent pain or with traumatic
onset. It will help with understanding the extent of damage to the soft tissue (cartilage, meniscus,
ligaments, muscles, and tendons) of the knee, but they are never conclusive. If you are over the
age of 50, then you are not eligible for a rebated scan through Medicare. This is because the
most likely nature of your knee pain is due to wear and tear - which means you are most likely not
a suitable candidate for going under the knife (yay!).
“The pain just won’t stop!”
Osteopathy will help to identify the parts of your knee that are causing pain. From there we can
work with you to understand the activities and movements that will aggravate the knee and build
a management plan specific to you. Long story short, if it hurts the knee, STOP!
Pain killers can be useful in the short term, however, they are most likely masking the real issue
and continuing to damage the knee (the same goes for anti-inflammatories). Both are great tools
to use immediately after an injury or the beginning of pain but should be avoided long term. This is
where seeing a health professional such as an osteopath at the beginning helps to prevent more
long term damage and chronic pain.
“What about a brace?”
Again, this is a largely personal and individual need. Every knee is different and every injury is
different. Wearing the wrong brace will unlikely make the knee worse, but they are extremely
expensive and may not make any difference. The science currently says bracing (orthosis) for
knee pain can be helpful, as long as it is used in conjunction with manual therapy, is the correct
brace, and the patient is trained in the correct way to use it! This is something we do, we help
prescribe the correct brace, fit it, and instruct you on how and when to use it.
We do recommend for virtually all knee injuries to be compressed (think 2XU tights, crepe
bandage, tubi-grip, etc) during all recovery stages, especially when acute. This will make the knee
feel “safer” whilst improving the swelling of the affected joint, reducing the chance of reaggravation.
“Is it broken forever?”
Whilst it is true that parts of the knee aren’t great at healing to their original state, this doesn’t
mean you’re doomed for reconstruction or replacement. Unless you are an elite athlete there is
often no need for surgical reconstruction. Even 1st and 2nd’s players of the AFL are opting for the
“no surgery” route in knee injury management, including full ligament snaps! Wear and tear
injuries are best given 3 months of conservative management and treatment before considering
surgical intervention. If however, you are a candidate for surgery, it is often very obvious and
something that isn’t to be ignored. Again, seeing your local osteopath or health professional
helps with obtaining the correct, individual diagnosis and advice.
The knee may never completely heal to the exact state that it was before the injury, but that
doesn’t mean that you can’t be pain-free. Osteopathy can help train the knee to be comfortable
and pain-free on returning to sport and activity. This involves a combination of individual
treatment and strengthening that we provide.
If you’ve made it this far through the blog, well done! This is the most important question for
everyone, “how long until I will be pain-free”. Well, again like most things it depends on the exact
injury. The sooner you seek help and receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can begin your road to
recovery. Knee’s are special little joints, but they often respond quite well to a myriad of treatment