The answer to this question is almost always yes. Knee pain can have many causes, and it can make walking the dog and other pleasurable activities more difficult. Unfortunately, knee pain is also all too common.
It’s estimated that about 25% of adults are affected by frequent knee pain. Often, this pain is related to issues that occur when the knee is straightened or bent, and physical therapists can help you determine what’s causing your knee to hurt when straight but not when bent.
Two issues that can cause the knee to hurt when straight but not when bent
Straightening and bending are two sides of the same coin, and your knee is designed to do these two actions over and over. After all, these movements allow you to walk to the mailbox or jog with your friends. However, specific issues with this joint or the structures around it can cause the knee to hurt when straight but not when bent.
Physical therapy assessments are designed to help you discover the cause of knee pain. They typically include tests to determine your level of pain, what movements cause pain and the range of motion (ROM) of your knee. Combining the information from these tests helps therapists pinpoint the specific cause of your pain. Two of the issues that can cause pain when the knee is straight but not when it’s bent are:
Quadriceps muscle imbalances — The quadriceps or quad muscles are found in your thigh. There are four of them, and their primary job is to extend the leg at the knee. An imbalance in one of the quads can cause the knee to become misaligned. In turn, the misalignment can cause pain when the knee joint is moved.
Quad muscle imbalances are especially common in people with other serious medical conditions like osteoarthritis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). One medical study showed that 92% of the COPD patients surveyed had weakness or imbalances in their quadriceps.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear — It’s estimated that about 200,000 ACL injuries occur in the U.S. every year. About 50% of those injuries require surgery to repair them. ACL tears tend to happen when you suddenly stop or change directions; they’re particularly common in people who play sports like football, soccer or basketball. A popping sound or sensation and severe pain are common ACL tear symptoms at the time the injury occurs. Later, this injury can lead to swelling, reduced ROM and joint instability.
Not sure why your knee hurts when straight but not when bent? Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation can help
At Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, our specialists can help you discover why your knee hurts when straight but not when it’s bent. This can be accomplished by coming in for a complimentary screening. Once the cause of your pain has been diagnosed, we can also build you a personalized therapy plan to treat it.
Don’t want to come to an in-clinic appointment due to COVID-19? Our team understands completely. That’s why we’re currently offering virtual care and at-home therapy sessions. Both of these services are intended to help you get the therapy you need without leaving your home, and you can use both these and our in-clinic services without first getting a doctor’s referral.
Take the next step to start getting our help with your knee pain. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule your initial appointment.