Here at ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, we understand that when it comes to deciding the best course of action for your injury or condition, there are many options available. However, based on our own experience within the clinic and the evidence found in research studies, we firmly believe that physical and occupational therapy is the best possible choice you can make. To help you better understand the advantages of the treatments we provide, our physical and occupational therapists bring you examples of some of the most recent studies that highlight the many benefits of our services.
This month, we discuss a recent study that evaluates the use of exercises designed to strengthen the hips for patients with a common cause of knee pain.
Knee pain is often caused by patellofemoral pain syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a general term that’s used to describe pain that develops in the front of the knee, especially around the patella (kneecap). The condition is often referred to as runner’s knee because it’s most common in people who run very frequently. Avid runners tend to experience many injuries due to the constant impact on their joints, and runner’s knee accounts for about 37% of all knee injuries in runners. So if you consider yourself a big runner and you’ve dealt with knee pain in Springfield before, there’s a strong chance runner’s knee was or is responsible.
Although many individuals with runner’s knee go on to improve eventually, about 80% who received treatment like physical therapy still have pain five years later. This shows that more effective treatments are needed to produce lasting improvements. One approach for treating runner’s knee is to strengthen the muscles in and around the hips with various exercises. The reason is that one theory suggests runner’s knee develops due to weak hip muscles and strengthening this region will bring about better stability to the region and reduce pain. Though some support this strategy, others believe there is no connection between hip strength and runner’s knee.
Therefore, to evaluate the effect of this type of treatment program, a powerful study called a systematic review was conducted. In this type of large-scale study, researchers performed a search of eight databases for individual studies on the use of hip-strengthening exercises for runner’s knee. This led to 21 studies fitting the necessary criteria and being used in the review.
They found that 18 of these studies specifically investigated the effects of hip-strengthening exercises, and all of them showed that the exercises did in fact reduce pain for patients with runner’s knee. Another 14 looked into hip function, and they all showed that the exercises led to a significant improvement here, too. Finally, a separate analysis found that hip-strengthening exercises reduced the chances of runner’s knee developing in the first place as well.
Seek out physical therapy in Springfield for knee pain
Based on these findings, it appears that hip-strengthening exercises are capable of reducing pain and improving function in patients with runner’s knee, and they may also lower the odds for developing the condition in the first place. So if you happen to be dealing with knee pain in Springfield, NJ area—especially if you’re a runner—we strongly recommend seeking out our physical therapy services, which include various strengthening and stretching exercises, to address your condition. Doing so will help you move and run with less pain, and reduce the chances of having repeat episodes in the future. Contact ARS Hand & Physical Therapy in Springfield, NJ at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today or click here to read the abstract (summary) of the study.