Q:  I am a skier and get knee pain every year now after hitting the slopes.  What could be causing this and is a chiropractor able to help me with this problem?

A:  Now that winter is here again, many people will be getting injured while skiing. If you injure your knee on the slopes, you may want to make an appointment with your Doctor of Chiropractic.  Your knee, like many other joints in your body, is a complex system of several components such as bone, cartilage, tendons and ligaments.

The knee is formed by the ends of two bones—the thighbone or femur and the shinbone or tibia. These are both covered by a thin layer of cartilage that reduces friction while you are moving. The menisci are pads of tissue that sit between the cartilage and act as cushions. Bursas are fluid sacs that provide additional cushioning. Ligaments and tendons surround the joints and connect one bone to another. If the knee is wrenched, often in a sports injury, the ligaments can tear or become sprained.  Muscles, tendons, or bursea can also become torn or stretched causing swelling.

For a simple knee injury, a patient may respond to conservative treatment by a chiropractor, including an exercise program to strengthen surrounding muscles. Many therapies used by a physical therapist can also be found in chiropractic offices.  A protective knee brace may also help during activity and can be prescribed by your chiropractor.  Mechanically, a chiropractor can help mobilize the joint and correct movement so that it heals faster and is less likely to have future problems.

Surgery is only required in the case of very severe accidents and may not be necessary in cases where you are responding to treatment.  Your chiropractor should be able to identify this need and refer you to a surgeon immediately. If you have surgery and need rehab afterward, I typically feel that is best handled in an outpatient physical therapy clinic, although many chiropractors work with a PT so that the case can be handled by both types of professionals, simultaneously.

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