Common Causes of Hip and Knee Pain – and How We Can Help You Treat It

Hip and knee pain are very common and quite often are experienced together. Frequently when experiencing hip pain patients will begin to compensate how they weight bear when walking, standing and climbing stairs this compensation can begin to aggravate the knee on the same or opposite side. The same compensations can occur leading to hip pain if pain originates in the knee. Hip joint pain and knee pain can seriously interfere with your life, especially if you are dealing with both. Whichever may be hurting you, treatment at Curran Physical Therapy can help get to the root of your problem safely and comfortably, without the need for harmful drugs or surgery. 

What’s the reason for my hip and knee pain?

Overuse injuries such as tendonitis and bursitis are common causes of hip and knee pain. Along with overuse injuries the hip and knee can also begin to experience more chronic pain due to osteoarthritis. Weakness in the muscles of the hip and knee as well as stiffness in the hip and knee joints are common factors that lead to nagging pain. 

An issue of pain, weakness, or stiffness in the hip can lead to increased strain on the knee joint and vice versa. It is not uncommon for pain to begin in one area and then eventually move down or up due to compensations the body will make to avoid pain. We begin to walk differently and shift our weight differently in order to reduce strain on the painful joint. Compensations to avoid pain will cause some muscles to be overactive and the hip and knee joint to load weight differently leading to further breakdown and even more pain.  Poor hip stability due to weakness in the gluteal muscles can lead to abnormal posture of the hip joint causing increased strain on the knee joint which can lead to painful conditions such as IT band syndrome or patellofemoral stress syndrome due to increased stress on the knee or kneecap

What can physical therapy do for my hip or knee pain?

The physical therapy treatments at Curran Physical Therapy can help to greatly reduce your hip and knee pain. In many cases, it can even relieve it altogether, sparing you the need for potentially harmful medication or surgical correction. We will examine your hip and/or knee for signs of misalignment or structural damage, in addition to examining your stance, posture, gait, and range of motion. After your physical exam is complete, our physical therapists will prescribe a specific plan of care, aimed at relieving unnatural stresses and strains, and normalizing your joint function.

Specific exercises will be provided and performed to help reduce strength and mobility imbalances around both the hip and knee joints. The exercises may vary depending on your condition; for example, research has demonstrated that those suffering from patella pain (kneecap pain) tend to respond better to exercises that focus on strengthening both the hips and knees, rather than just focusing on the knees alone. 

You may also be given exercises designed to strengthen the core, including your lower back muscle groups, lower abdominal muscle groups, or pelvic muscles. Core exercises are aimed at straightening your posture to allow for more equal weight load on both sides of your body. Additional specialized treatments may also be added as our physical therapists, such as mobilizations to improve joint movement or manual therapy techniques to soft tissues to reduce fascial tightness and therefore relieve pain and promote the healing of damaged hip and/or knee tissues.