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Optimal Physical Therapy helps patients with many different conditions. Please see the diagram below for information on common conditions we treat and how physical therapy can help you.

Knee Sprains and Strains

Sprains refer to injuries of the ligaments (connect bone to bone) and strains refer to injuries of the muscles or tendons (connect muscle to bone). Sprains and strains may occur from a sports injury or a fall.  This type of injury can result in a quick overstretching of the tissues causing micro-tearing. Swelling begins as part of the inflammation process, causing pain, and limiting movement.

The first step in treating sprains or strains in the knee is to rest, ice, and elevate the lower leg. There are different levels of sprains or strains from mild to severe. In some cases, the tearing can be complete and in need of surgical repair.

How physical therapy helps:

In most cases, physical therapy can effectively help you recover from a sprain or strain. We first evaluate the injured area to determine the extent of the injury and assess if the ligaments or tendons are still intact. After we pinpoint the injured structures, we formulate a treatment plan that will relieve your swelling, pain, and begin restoring function.

The goal of physical therapy is to restore your normal range of motion and strength. No matter your activity level, we work closely with you to make sure that we help you fully recover and can participate in the activities you love to do. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can effectively treat your sprains or strains.

About Meniscus Injury

The meniscus is a ring of cartilage on the lower part of the knee (the tibial plateau) that the end of the large femur bone rides on. The meniscus is responsible for providing cushioning and stability of the knee joint while guiding movement. It is connected on the outer edges to the thick ligaments around the knee. The cartilage on the inside part of the knee (medial meniscus) bears more weight and often sustains more damage than the outside part (lateral meniscus).

The meniscus is supposed to be smooth to ensure proper gliding of the knee when it is bending. With injuries, poor alignment, or weak musculature, the meniscus can become injured and even torn. The outside edges of the meniscus have more blood flow than the inner portions. This means, depending on the area where the damage is located the healing process can be slow.

Many times, meniscus injuries are mild to moderate and can be rehabilitated with physical therapy. However, at times surgical intervention may be necessary to either clean out or repair the torn areas of the meniscus. Physical therapy is very important in the full recovery after these surgical procedures.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy is a very important part of recovering from a meniscus injury. Most injuries are mild and involve small tears or irritation. Physical therapy can decipher where there are limitations in movement of the knee joint and weakened muscular support. By pinpointing the mechanisms of injury, our treatments focus on effectively reducing your pain and swelling. Then, we focus on improving your range of motion, joint mobility, and strengthening to make sure your meniscus receives the necessary support.

If surgery is necessary, we work closely with your surgeon and their rehabilitation protocol. The primary focus is on eliminating swelling quickly, resolving pain, improving range of motion, restoring normal walking mechanics, and strengthening the supporting muscles around the knee. We then show you what to do to maintain a healthy knee with physical activities and sports. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to see how we can help you successfully recover from a meniscus injury.

About Knee Tendonitis

The ending of the word “itis” is defined as inflammation. Therefore, tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon, which connects muscles to bones. Commonly, the tendon that connects your quadriceps muscle to the tibia bone (quadriceps tendon above the kneecap and patellar ligament below the kneecap) can become inflamed resulting in a condition also known as jumper’s knee. This structure can often become inflamed due to abnormal joint movements and weakness of the surrounding musculature. This causes strain to the tendon with resulting pain during repetitive movements and especially with squatting or kneeling down. Other areas of tendonitis in the knee can occur on the inside (medial) or outside (lateral) aspect of the knee.

How physical therapy helps:

Most tendonitis is due to underlying abnormal mechanics of movement and muscular weakness. Our physical therapists are experts in evaluating your movement to interpret the source of your symptoms. Modalities may be used to alleviate pain and discomfort, while hands-on therapy improves joint mechanics and movement.

Finally, strengthening and joint coordination exercises help to restore stability to the affected area and prevent re-injury. To discover how we can help your knee tendonitis call Optimal Physical Therapy today.

About Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Sprains

The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is an important ligament that stabilizes the forward motion of the tibia (shin) bone on the femur (thigh) bone within the knee joint. This ligament can be injured with sports or falls, especially with blows to the knee from the side, while the foot is planted on the ground.

The ACL can be sprained. Sprains are classified according to their severity, with grades I through III. Grades I and II are often treatable without surgery, while grade III is a complete tear and typically requires surgery.

With a sprain, the ligament is overstretched and micro-tearing results, causing pain and inflammation. There is little blood flow to the ligaments and they get most of their nutrition from the joint fluid. This means that their healing is slower than most other tissues. Depending on the severity of the sprain and joint stability the potential for future injury can increase.

With grade III ACL tears, surgery is most likely needed to repair it. Physical therapy is vital to the rehabilitation after this surgery. Recovery does take time and the goal is to protect the surgical site, maintaining stability while returning to walking and eventually running.

How physical therapy helps:

Our physical therapists work with patients of all ages, especially those who have sustained ACL tears through sports activities. We work closely with your physician to examine the stability of your knee after the ACL injury. There are specific tests that we perform to assess the stability of the ligament and to determine the best course of action to maximize your recovery. Most grade I and grade II sprains can be rehabilitated without the need for surgery and our physical therapists will discuss your options.

If surgery is needed for your recovery, rest assured that you are in the right hands for your rehabilitation. We work closely with your surgeon’s rehabilitation protocol. The priority is to manage your pain and swelling after surgery, gradually increasing your range of motion and weight bearing through the knee per your surgeon’s protocol.

As time progresses, we work to regain your strength, improve stability of the joint, return to walking normally, and eventually resume advanced movements, including running. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can help you recover after an ACL tear.

About Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Sprains

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is an important ligament that assists with the backward sliding of the tibia (shin) bone on the femur (thigh) bone in the knee. This ligament can be injured with sports or falls, especially with blows to the front of the knee while the foot is planted on the ground.

The PCL can be sprained. Sprains are classified according to their severity, with grades I through III. Grades I and II are often treatable without surgery, while grade III is a complete tear and typically requires surgery.

With a sprain, the ligament is overstretched and micro-tearing results, causing pain and inflammation. There is little blood flow to the ligaments and they get most of their nutrition from the joint fluid. This means that their healing is slower than most other tissues. Depending on the severity of the sprain and joint stability the potential for future injury can increase.

With grade III PCL tears, surgery is most likely needed to repair. Physical therapy is vital to the rehabilitation after this surgery. Recovery does take time and the goal is to protect the surgical site, maintain joint stability while returning to walking and eventually running.

How physical therapy helps:

Our physical therapists work with patients of all ages, especially those who have sustained PCL tears through sports activities or motor vehicle accidents. We work closely with your physician to examine the stability of your knee after the PCL injury. There are specific tests that we perform to assess the stability of the ligament and to determine the best course of action to maximize your recovery.  Most grade I and grade II sprains can be rehabilitated without the need for surgery and our physical therapists will discuss your options.

If surgery is needed for your recovery, rest assured that you are in the right hands for your rehabilitation. We work closely with your surgeon’s rehabilitation protocol. The priority is to manage your pain and swelling after surgery, gradually increasing your knee range of motion according to your post-surgical protocol.As time progresses, we work with you to regain your strength, improve joint stability, resume walking normally, and eventually introduce advanced movements including running. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to learn more about how we can help you after a PCL tear.

About Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Sprains

The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is an important ligament that assists with the side to side sliding of the femur (thigh) bone on the tibia (shin) bone in the knee. This ligament can be injured with sports or falls, especially with blows to the outside of the knee while the foot is planted on the ground. It is common for the MCL to be injured along with the medial meniscus.

The MCL can be sprained. Sprains are classified according to their severity, with grades I through III. Grades I and II are often treatable without surgery, while grade III is a complete tear and typically requires surgery.

With a sprain, the ligament is overstretched and micro-tearing results, causing pain and inflammation. Depending on the severity of the sprain and joint stability the potential for future injury can increase.

In rare cases, grade III MCL tears may require surgery to repair. Physical therapy is vital to the rehabilitation after this surgery. Recovery does take time and the goal is to protect the surgical site, maintain joint stability while getting returning to walking and eventually running.

How physical therapy helps:

Our physical therapists work with patients of all ages, especially those who have sustained MCL tears through sports activities. We work closely with your physician to examine the stability of your knee after the MCL injury. There are specific tests that we perform to assess the stability of the ligament and to determine the best course of action to maximize your recovery. Most MCL sprains, regardless of their grade, can be rehabilitated without the need for surgery and our physical therapists will discuss your options.

If surgery is needed for your recovery, rest assured that you are in the right hands for your rehabilitation. We work closely with your surgeon’s rehabilitation protocols. The priority is to manage your pain and swelling after surgery and gradually increasing your range of motion in the knee per your post-surgical protocol.

As time progresses, we work with you to regain your strength, improve joint stability, resume walking normally, and eventually return to advanced movements including running. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can help you after a MCL tear.

About Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) Tears

The lateral Collateral ligament (LCL) is an important ligament that assists in stabilizing the side to side sliding of the femur (thigh) bone on the tibia (shin) bone in the knee. This ligament can be injured with sports or falls, especially with blows to the inside of the knee while the foot is planted on the ground.

The LCL can be sprained. Sprains are classified according to their severity, with grades I through III. Grades I and II are often treatable without surgery, while grade III is a complete tear and typically requires surgery. 

With a sprain, the ligament is overstretched and micro-tearing results, causing pain and inflammation. Depending on the severity of the sprain and joint stability the potential for future injury can increase.

With grade III LCL tears, surgery is most likely needed to repair it. Physical therapy is vital to the rehabilitation after this surgery. Recovery does take time and the goal is to protect the surgery site and maintain stability while getting back into walking and eventually running.

How physical therapy helps:

Our physical therapists work with patients of all ages, especially those who have sustained LCL tears through sports activities. We work closely with your physician to examine the stability of your knee after the LCL injury. There are specific tests that we perform to assess the stability of the ligament and to determine the best course of action to maximize your recovery. Most grade I and grade II sprains can be rehabilitated without the need for surgery and our physical therapists will discuss your options.

If surgery is needed for your recovery, rest assured that you are in the right hands for your rehabilitation. We work closely with your surgeon’s rehabilitation protocols. The priority is to manage your pain and swelling after surgery and gradually increasing your range of motion in the knee per your post-surgical protocol.

As time progresses, we work with you to regain your strength, improve joint stability, resume walking normally, and eventually return to advanced movements including running. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to discover how we can help you return to your normal activities after a LCL sprain.

About Total Knee Replacement

A total knee replacement surgery may be needed when the knee has suffered a significant trauma or due to severe arthritis. In a total knee replacement surgery, the ends of the femur (thigh) and tibia (shin) bones, and backside of the kneecap are replaced. With a partial knee replacement either the end femur bone or top of the tibia is replaced. There have been many advances in the technology of the total knee replacement prosthesis and procedures allowing for less invasive surgery and faster recovery times.

Typically people have suffered prior to surgery, leading to changes in walking, muscle strength, and function. Physical therapy before surgery has shown to help with the timeliness and quality of recovery after surgery.

How physical therapy helps:

Working with your surgeon’s protocols, we coordinate a thorough rehabilitation program to get you back to normal walking as soon as possible.

Typically, if you stay overnight in the hospital after your surgery you will start physical therapy before going home. After progressing from the hospital, you may have home physical therapy. Sometimes people go home the same day after the procedure and therefore you would begin physical therapy at home or in an outpatient clinic.  It is very important to attend outpatient physical therapy in our practice to maximize your recovery. 

We complete the rehabilitation cycle, further restoring your range of motion, improving your ability to walk, maximizing your balance, and alleviating your pain. The end result is being able to return to most normal activities pain-free. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to learn more about our post-surgical rehabilitation program.

About Poor Balance / Risk of Falling

Did you know that one out of three adults aged 65 and older fall each year? Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries. Our ability to balance when walking or moving can change for a number of reasons. As we age, there is a natural loss of balance due to slowing down of reflexes, muscle weakness, and visual changes. In addition, arthritis in the ankles, knee, and/or hips can affect balance. Furthermore, any neurological changes such as Parkinson’s Disease, nerve damage (such as diabetic neuropathy), back problems (such as spinal stenosis), and much more can play a role in altered balance.

Our ability to balance relies mainly on three factors. Our ability to perceive movement comes from the nerve sensors in our joints and muscles, our vision, and the position of our head in space through the vestibular system in the inner ear. When any one of these factors is not optimal, our ability to balance is affected and our risk for falling increases.

The good news is that there is a lot than can easily be done to improve your ability to balance, which improves your walking, and makes the risk of falling significantly less.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy is the main treatment for poor balance and reducing the risk of falls. It begins with a thorough evaluation of your walking, balance, coordination, joint movement, range of motion, and strength. In the case of neurological conditions, more testing is done to determine visual tracking and vestibular system function, which contributes to your balance.

After discovering the root cause of your balance difficulties, we program a treatment plan that will improve your ability to balance, walk, and negotiate many different uneven terrains such as grass, sand, stairs, and more. In addition, if you use a cane or walker, we can instruct you in the proper use of adaptive equipment. Physical therapy goes a long way to improving your balance and setting you on the safe path to enjoying activities you love. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to learn more about how we can improve your balance and walking.

About Knee Pain

The knee is one of the most complex joints in the body. It has to bear the weight of the body while moving through different ranges of motion. When running the knee absorbs up to six times the weight of your body in force. In a lifetime, it is estimated that the average person will take over 216 million steps and walk 108,000 miles. With this amount of use, at times things can become injured and lead to knee pain.

Knee pain can stem from the loss of what is called “accessory motions”. Accessory motions are the knee’s smaller movements that are sliding side-to-side, back and forth as well as rotating. Without consistent movement, the tissues around the knee can become tight. In addition, if the muscles in the front or back of the knee become weaker, that can lead to more abnormal forces on the knee joint. All of these problems lead to increased friction and wear on the knee. The normal response is inflammation that can be felt as pain in and around the knee. 

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy is one of the most important treatments for knee pain. Whether it is from a sports injury, tight musculature, altered joint mechanics, or arthritis, we can help.

The first step is to pinpoint the exact mechanism of why your knee pain is occurring. We perform a thorough evaluation of your posture, knee motion, hip, knee, and ankle strength, walking analysis and joint mobility. From this we can discover the main reason for your knee pain and formulate an effective treatment plan.

Our physical therapists perform hands-on therapy to improve your knee joint mobility, reducing pain. Modalities may be used to reduce swelling and pain. Specific exercises will be performed to enhance your leg strength and address any muscle imbalances that are contributing to your knee pain. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to find out how we can quickly and effectively alleviate your knee pain.

About Knee Post-surgery Rehab

Other types of surgeries for the knee are fracture or ligament/tissue repairs from trauma. The amount of force it takes to break bone means that the soft tissues around the knee are most likely also significantly injured. After surgery, due to limited movement, range of motion is lost as well as strength. Since walking is a very complex action of different muscles moving in a coordinated fashion, it can be difficult to walk after knee surgery.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapy is an important part of the rehabilitative process after knee surgery. Depending on your surgery and your surgeon’s protocols, we gently progress you through a structured rehabilitation program. The goal is to restore pain-free range of motion in the knee while maintaining protecting the healing surgical site. Finally, exercises for coordination, balance, and strength are completed so you can return to normal walking. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to learn more about our post-surgery rehabilitation program.

Difficulty walking

As a baby, it takes us 12 to 18 months to learn the fundamentals of walking. It takes even longer to learn how to walk efficiently and eventually run. Walking is very complex and requires good balance, the ability to know where your joints are in space (proprioception), the ability to know how your joints are moving (kinesthesia), sufficient range of motion, and adequate strength.

As we age, with declining activity or after an injury, walking can become difficult. With previous injuries or pain in the knee or hip, our walking pattern can change leaving us with a limp or pain in our joints. 

When our walking patterns change, abnormal stresses transmitted to our joints and soft tissues. For example, if you have knee pain and you begin to limp, the opposite hip and your spine bear increased pressure. This can lead to pain and injury to those areas. The good news is that if you have difficulty walking, there is help.

How physical therapy helps:

Physical therapists are experts in helping people to walk normally. A thorough evaluation of your range of motion, strength, walking patterns, balance, and coordination will be performed. Your physical therapist will then be able to explain why you are experiencing difficulties and how physical therapy can help. They will then create an individualized treatment plan that will address the factors impacting your ability to walk. Our goal is to maximize your safety and independence when walking. Call Optimal Physical Therapy today to to schedule an evaluation today.