Knee pain is uncomfortable at best, and debilitating at worst. Knee pain and joint discomfort makes it difficult to complete basic tasks, distracts you from your work, and stops you from engaging in fun activities.
Oftentimes, the root cause of knee pain is left untreated, or can even be forgotten when between painful flare-ups. However, having a knee physical therapy routine helps to build a foundation. Regular physical therapy sessions can assist with conquering pain, and offer tools to build strength and relieve knee pain from the comfort of home.
Addressing Your Knee Pain
Before you participate in physical therapy, a physical therapist will want to determine what kind of pain you’re contending with. Different injuries result in varying degrees of pain with the most common forms of knee pain being: acute, sub-acute, and chronic categories.
Acute pain tends to last for a few days after your initial injury. Resting your knee during This stage will ensure that the damage within the joint doesn’t worsen.
Sub-acute pain lasts for up to a month after your initial injury. You can gently move your knee through this pain, but you should reach out to a physical therapist for more specific pain recovery options.
Chronic knee pain lasts for longer than two months post-injury. This kind of pain suggests that your knee has not appropriately healed. As a result, you may require more intense adjustments to restore your previous quality of life.
Knee Physical Therapy Assessment: What You Can Expect
While you may receive a list of best practice home exercises after your initial appointment, most physical therapists use your first meeting to understand your injury better. At this stage, the physical therapist may ask you about the behaviors that caused the injury, your medical history, and your goals for recovery.
To assess the full extent of your knee condition and source of knee pain, most physical therapists will conduct gait evaluations and range of motion measurements. A virtual physical therapy assessment may also include strength measurement tests and balance assessments.
If your knee appears swollen, bruised, or otherwise physically altered, a physical therapist may recommend additional in-person tests to check for structural abnormalities.
After these comprehensive tests, a physical therapist will offer at-home exercises to help you regain your mobility and reduce pain. Your injury type, condition, and whether or not you require surgery, will help to determine your daily exercises and 1:1 physical therapy sessions.
Knee Physical Therapy from Home
When you’re recovering from a knee injury, arthritis, chronic knee pain, or preparing for knee surgery or a knee replacement, physical therapy will play a major role in your recovery. An at-home digital recovery program with physical therapy is a great supplement to one-on-one virtual or in-person visits.
With the right digital at-home recovery program, custom exercises can be broken down into daily plans. In addition, tools like PeerWell’s SMART™ Motion, can help to track the accuracy of physical therapy movements, measure progress, and even accurately report range of motion. This can all be done with your own handheld device, like a tablet, or smartphone.
Quad sets see you lift and lower your injured leg to strengthen, or set, your quadriceps muscles. To complete this exercise, you need to:
- Hold your injured knee straight out on the floor.
- Gently bend your injured knee until it rises a few inches above the floor without pain.
- Press your injured knee (and the back of your thigh) against the floor.
- Hold this position for six seconds.
Repeat this motion up to ten times. If at any point this exercise starts to cause you pain, rest and consult your physical therapist.
Short Arc Quads
Short arc quads, like quad sets, focus on your quadriceps muscles. To complete a short arc quad, you need to:
- Lie on your back, straightening your knees
- Place a soft, rounded object beneath your injured knee to lift it off of the ground.
- Resting on your bolster, straighten your injured leg. Do not lift your leg off of the bolster.
- Hold this position for six seconds.
For the best results, repeat this exercise up to ten times before resting. Do not overstrain your knee or you risk worsening your injury.
To heal your knee, you need to improve the health of your entire leg. One of the easiest ways to do this is to complete regular calf exercises. A standing calf stretch improves your flexibility and balance while also giving your knee the support it needs to function correctly.
To complete a standing calf stretch, you need to:
- Find a wall and position yourself two inches away from it.
- Press one foot, from the ball up, against the wall.
- Secure your stance with the other foot.
- Lean against the foot pressed against the wall until you feel your calf muscle stretch. Do not push this move to a place of discomfort.
- Hold the stretch for up to ten seconds.
You should repeat the calf stretch exercise on both feet up to ten times each.
If you’re looking to prevent future knee injuries, consider the relationship between your hip and your knee. The stronger your hips are, the less likely you are to roll or otherwise injure your knee on a day-to-day basis.
Talk to your physical therapist about some of the hip exercises that you can integrate into your home routine. Some of the most effective include clamshells, straight leg raises, and bridges. Note that you should not engage in these exercises before a medical professional deems your knee in a safe enough condition to do so.
Changing Your Routine Over Time
As the health of your knee improves, your physical therapist may recommend alternative exercises for you to complete at home. If you’re feeling more confident in your knee’s strength or if you’ve been having a difficult time meeting your existing list of exercises, don’t hesitate to consult with a medical professional. The point of online physical therapy is to aid in your recovery. Physical therapists can work with you to create an exercise routine that keeps you comfortable while also restoring your knee’s strength.
Digital Care Professionals Are On Your Side
If you’re experiencing knee pain, our leading team of physicians and physical therapists is available to offer the end-to-end care you need from home. PeerWell Health offers qualifying patients access to a network of multi-specialty doctors and physical therapists for one-on-one visits. In addition to personalized virtual visits, a supplemental daily program that targets the root cause of your knee pain is provided. Many factors contribute to knee pain, and often just physical therapy isn’t enough.
PeerWell Health for your knee pain includes:
- A visit with a live doctor
- Weekly Physical Therapy sessions
- Dedicated Care Coordinator to support you
- Access to multi-specialty visits
- Daily guided exercises, mindfulness, and education about your condition delivered via your smartphone or tablet
- Built-in range of motion tool to measure your knee flexion and extension at home
Whether you’re suffering from acute pain or enduring chronic side effects from an old injury, our team of multi-specialty doctors are here to help. PeerWell Health offers virtual physical therapy appointments, doctor visits, and daily guidance with a custom at-home recovery program. To see if you qualify for PeerWell Health’s complete knee pain recovery program, register now.