Why Are My Knee Exercises Different?

Millions of Americans suffer from joint pain daily and many of these individuals seek treatment from physical therapists.

Google can be a dangerous resource when it comes to one’s health. There is an abundance of health and wellness sources for great exercise information, but there is an equal, if not greater abundance of poor health and wellness sources. General exercise guidelines can be obtained from the American Heart Association for cardiovascular exercise, and the American College of Sports Medicine for cardio-respiratory, resistance, flexibility, and neuromotor exercises. The American College of Sports Medicine also emphasizes the importance of exercise in reduction of joint pain. However, there are no established guidelines for reduction of joint pain with exercise.

Millions of Americans suffer from joint pain daily and many of these individuals seek treatment from physical therapists. The knee joint is a common pain producer especially with the increase in U.S. obesity rates and sedentary lifestyles. Despite knee pain being one common condition treated in the physical therapy field, there are inconsistencies in exercise programs provided by physical therapists. Inconsistencies may contribute to knee pain being a loose term that encompasses a vast number of ailments and it would be impossible to create an ideal exercise routine to cover all pathologies. The approach to rehabilitation of knee pain cannot be cookie cutter, one size fits all.

Each patient must be treated as an individual and an exercise program must be customized.

A review of recent literature reveals a large variability of exercise frequency, exercise intensity, and treatment duration to improve chronic knee pain both for in the in-clinic program and for the at-home exercise program. There are also great inconsistencies for weekly frequency of physical therapy visits, but there is significant data to support pain reduction during functional activities with routine exercise performance. There is however, consistency in the research for three times a week exercise performance for pain reduction. Knee pain is further reduced with more than three times per week of exercise performance.

Related: Exercising With Knee Pain. You Still Can!

To have your knee pain assessed and develop a customized exercise routine perfect for you, come in to your local Back in Motion Physical Therapy clinic. Free 30-minute pain consultations are also available to meet the therapist and see if our clinics are the right fit for you!


By Edward “Ted” Greeley II, PT, DPT, CSCS, SFMA

Back in Motion® Physical Therapy – Portland, Maine

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