Physical Therapy to Help Your Knee
By: Dr. Abe Kopolovich, DPT, MBA, JD-IP
Did you hurt your knee or have surgery? Or is it achy and stiff because of arthritis? Either way, you might feel like the last thing you should do is get on your feet and move your joint around. But often physical therapy (PT) is what your doctor suggests to get your strength back and put you on the road to recovery.
PT, or rehab as some people call it, can ease your muscle and joint pain. You’ll work with a physical therapist, a licensed professional who uses a variety of methods to help strengthen your muscles and make your body feel and move better.
Some things you might need are:
- Stretches and exercises
- Ice and heat
- Electrical nerve or muscle stimulation
When you get physical therapy depends on the cause of your pain. Sometimes it’s all you need for treatment. You might not need surgery.
If you do have an operation, your doctor will likely suggest at least a few weeks of therapy afterward to help you recover. They might recommend a specific physical therapy office, or you can find one near you by checking the American Physical Therapy Association’s website.
What Happens at the First Session?
You’ll work one on one with your physical therapist to come up with your treatment plan. They will discuss ways to rebuild the strength and movement in your leg and knee, so you can feel better and go back to doing the things you love to do.
At your first visit, your therapist will look at your leg and see how well your knee bends, straightens, and moves. They’ll also see if:
- It’s hard for you to balance
- You have pain in your knee
- It hurts when you move your lower leg back and forth
- It’s hard to stand on one leg
- You have weak muscles in the front and back of your thigh, which support the knee