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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Recovering from Knee Injuries

Knee injuries are quite common these days due to our speedy lifestyle and faster modes of transport. This development of transport has been a double-edged sword in affecting our joints, by firstly causing physical inactivity and secondly by causing an increased incidence of high velocity traumas in the form of bike and car accidents. The knee joint is one of the most complex and sturdy joints of the body, which firmly supports the body in the standing position. It may appear to provide simple bending and straightening movements, like a door hinge, but in reality it also provides rotatory movements, which help in locking and unlocking of the knee. It is only due to these special movements that a lot of energy is conserved and properly utilized during walking and standing.

Knee injuries can range from trivial contusions and hemarthroses, to severe fractures, like proximal tibial fractures and patella fractures. Recovering from a knee injury is always complicated by the fibrosis and deposition of calcium in the tendons. Preventing these complications and regaining movements of the knee joints is only possible with the help of appropriate physical therapy. This is also useful in reducing pain and preventing deformities that may arise over a period of time. Hence, treatment of knee injuries are never complete without the intervention of a physical therapist.

Physical therapy consists of several modalities of treatment and each type of physical therapy has its own advantages and shortcomings. The modalities commonly used are

CPM - Continuous Passive Motion - is used after knee replacement surgery and also in knee injury rehabilitation. The leg of a person is attached to the unit with velcro straps, and the machine provides slow passive movement to the knee joint to help improve the range of motion and stimulate and stretch the muscles.

Range of Motion Exercises are taught by the physiotherapist and are to be performed by a patient on a daily basis. These exercises are helpful in regaining the complete range of knee joint movements.

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