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Pro Care Physiotherapy & Athletes' Injury Center
Fax: (613) 727-2977

Address: 460 W Hunt Club Rd Unit 102A, Nepean, ON K2E 0B8

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Knee Conditions

Knee Explained

The knee is one of the most complex joints in the human body. It joins the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia). Two other bones also make up the knee joint which includes the smaller bone running alongside the shin bone (fibula) and the knee cap (patella).

There are four ligaments holding the knee bones together which provide stability.

  • MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament)
  • LCL (Lateral Collateral Ligament)
  • ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament)
  • PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament)

The MCL and LCL prevent the femur from moving side to side, the ACL prevents the femur from sliding backwards on the tibia and the PCL prevents the femur from sliding forward on the tibia.

Knees bear considerable weight. Two pieces of c-shaped cartilage, in the knee joint, act as shock absorbers. They are called the “medial menisci” and “lateral menisci”.

Knee Conditions

 There are many possible injuries that can occur to a knee including:

  • Chondromalacia patella
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Meniscal tear
  • Ligament strain or tear
  • Patellar tendonitis


Chondromalacia Patella

Chondromalacia patella, also known as patellofemoral syndrome, is an irritation of the cartilage behind the kneecap. It is a common cause of knee pain in young people, athletes and manual laborers.

There are different causes to Chondromalacia patella which include:

  • Overuse
  • Injury
  • Excess weight
  • A kneecap which is not properly aligned
  • Changes under the kneecap

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Knee Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is one the most common forms of arthritis. It is better known as the wear and tear arthritis and is often found in the knee. In this condition, the natural cushioning between the joints wears away. Age is the most common cause of osteoarthritis in the knee. There are other factors however that can also increase the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis at an early age, such as:

  • Weight
  • Heredity
  • Gender
  • Repetitive stress injury
  • Athletics
  • Other illnesses (i.e. Rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic disorders)

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Meniscal Tear

The meniscus is a c-shaped disk that cushions your knee. Each knee has two menisci, one on the outer edge of the knee and the other on the inner edge. They help to keep your knee stable by balancing your weight across the knee.

Usually a miniscal tear is caused when the foot is planted and bent during a quick twisting or turning motion. There are 3 grades of a meniscal tear:

  • Minor
  • Moderate
  • Severe

With a minor tear, you may have slight pain and swelling.

A moderate tear will cause pain and swelling and will make your knee feel stiff while also limiting the way you bend it. Walking is usually possible. If the tear is not treated, then pain can come and go for years.

With a severe tear, pieces of the torn meniscus can move into your knee joint. This may cause your knee to lock, catch or pop.  You may not be able to straighten your leg and it may give way without warning.

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Ligament Strain or Tear

Four ligaments can be injured in a knee (MCL, LCL, ACL, PCL).

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) are respectively found on the inner and outer side of the knee. The MCL is more commonly injured than the LCL. A blow to the outside of the knee usually causes MCL injuries in sports such as soccer, football or hockey. This type of injury may cause pain and instability to the inner side of the knee.

The ACL and PCL are the two major ligaments connecting the thigh bone to the shin bone. The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is responsible for a large part of the knee’s stability.  Injury to the ACL can be painful and debilitating. An ACL injury can be caused by:

  • Twisting your knee with the foot planted
  • Getting hit on the knee
  • Extending the knee too far
  • Jumping and landing on a bent knee
  • Stopping suddenly when running
  • Suddenly shifting weight from one leg to the other

A PCL injury is usually caused by a blow to the knee while it is bent. For example, during a motor vehicle accident (i.e. when the knee hits the dashboard of the car) or when falling on a bended knee.

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Patellar Tendonitis

Patellar tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shin bone. This usually occurs in athletes from repeated jumping.  Tendonitis can take weeks to months to heal depending on the severity of the injury. The sooner treatment starts the better your chances of a recovery are.

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Can Physiotherapy Help?

Physiotherapists at Pro Care Physiotherapy & Athletes’ Injury Center can help with all knee conditions after performing a thorough assessment. The treatment may include:

  • Manual therapy to improve movement in your knee joint
  • Ultrasound, electrotherapy and/or acupuncture to relieve pain, swelling and promote tissue healing
  • An exercise program including strengthening, stretching and range of motion to progressively return you to your daily and sporting activities
  • Taping to correct imbalances until your muscles can do the job
  • Suggest braces and walking aids, if needed, for the injury
  • Massage to promote soft tissue healing and break up of scar tissue

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