Heat and Cold therapy
How it works
When we apply Heat therapy, it improves circulation and blood flow to that area due to increased temperature. Heat therapy can relax and soothe muscles and heal damaged tissue.
- Dry Heat therapy includes sources like heating pads, dry heating packs, and even saunas. This heat is easy to apply.
- Moist Heat therapy includes sources like steamed towels, moist heating packs, Theratherm heating pads that take moisture from the air, or hot baths. Moist heat may be slightly more effective as well as require less application time for the same results.
- vascular diseases
- deep vein thrombosis
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
Heat is useful for relieving:
- strains and sprains
- tendonitis, or chronic irritation and stiffness in the tendons
- warming up stiff muscles or tissue before activity
- relieving pain or spasms relating to neck or back injury, including the lower back
How it works
Cold therapy is also known as cryotherapy. It works by Louis- hunting reaction theory. When we apply Ice to an injured site, it reduces the blood flow by vasoconstriction. After some time, it causes vasodilatation and increases the blood flow to the area. This process goes on continuously. This reduces inflammation and swelling that causes pain, especially around a joint or a tendon. It can temporarily reduce nerve activity, which can also relieve pain.
Types of Cold Therapy
There are a number of different ways to apply cold therapy to an affected area. Treatment options include:
- ice packs or frozen gel packs
- coolant sprays
- ice massage
- ice baths
Cold treatment can help in cases of:
- a recent injury
- tendinitis, or irritation in the tendons following activity
- people with sensory disorders
- uncontrolled diabetes
- You should not use cold therapy on stiff muscles or joints.
- Cold therapy should not be used if you have poor circulation.
Here’s a general guide that helps you to decide which to use heat or ice : https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-pain/treating-pain-with-heat-and-cold#cold-therapy
In General, use ice for the first few days after an injury. Beyond that, heat usually does the trick. There is some evidence that suggests that using ice beyond the first few days can actually slow down injury healing. It pushes away the healing agents that help you to get better.
If you have been injured and need advice or treatment, please call PhysioNow today. We are always happy to help!
A Baker’s Cyst, also known as a popliteal cyst, is a fluid-filled swelling that causes a lump at the back of the knee. This leads to tightness and restricted movement. The Baker’s Cyst can be painful when you bend or straighten your knee.
ϖ Causes of a Baker’s Cyst
Synovial fluid is a clear liquid that normally circulates through the spaces in your knee joint. Sometimes the knee produces too much of this fluid. The increasing pressure forces the fluid to the back of the knee via a one-way valve. This creates a bulge. This swelling of the knee causes a Baker’s Cyst to form.
The most common causes of a Baker’s Cyst are:
- damage to the knee’s cartilage (meniscus)
- arthritis of the knee
- rheumatoid arthritis
- other knee conditions that cause joint inflammation
ϖ Symptoms of a Baker’s Cyst
Some patients may have no pain and may not even notice the cyst is there. However, the signs and symptoms of a Baker’s cyst can include:
- Swelling or lump behind the knee (the main sign) – this is more evident when standing and comparing one knee to the other. It may feel like a water-filled balloon.
- Knee pain.
- Calf pain.
- Accumulation of fluid around the knee.
- The knee joint may click or buckle.
- The knee joint may lock.
ϖ Diagnosis of a Baker’s Cyst
- Your doctor will examine your knee and feel the swelling. If the cyst is small, they may compare the affected knee to the healthy one and check your range of motion.
- Your doctor may recommend non-invasive imaging tests if the cyst rapidly increases in size or causes severe pain or fever. These tests include an MRI or ultrasound. An MRI will enable your doctor to see the cyst clearly and to determine if you have any damage to the cartilage.
- These tests will determine if some other form of growth, such as a tumor, is causing the swelling.
- Although the cyst won’t show up on an X-ray, your doctor may use one to check for other problems, such as inflammation or arthritis.
Web MD has additional info on this condition.
A Baker’s Cyst doesn’t need treatment. It will go away on its own. However, if the swelling becomes large and causes severe pain, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments.
- Fluid draining
Your doctor will insert a needle into the knee joint and may use an ultrasound to help guide the needle to the correct place. They’ll then draw the fluid from the joint.
Your doctor may recommend a corticosteroid medication, such as cortisone. Your doctor will inject this drug into the joint, and the medication will flow back into the cyst. Though it may help relieve the pain, it doesn’t always prevent a Baker’s Cyst from recurring.
Regular, gentle exercises may help increase your range of motion and strengthen the muscles around your knee.
If you think you or someone you know may have a Baker’s Cyst, please call PhysioNow today! We would be happy to help! We have highly trained Registered Physiotherapists ready to see you Now!
Custom Knee Bracing
Knee arthroscopy done by orthopedic surgeons “clean up” or repair the cartilage or meniscus in the knee. Typically, knee meniscus injuries will happen one of two times. A large bucket handle tear is one that creates a three cornered flap. This is much like if you catch the sleeve of your coat on a nail. This flap can be stable or unstable. After the initial swelling and pain heals, a stable flap rests in place and does not interfere with your daily activities and use of your knee. An unstable tear will flip up much like the handle of a bucket. If this is occurs, often your knee will lock and you will have very limited movement in your knee. The second type of meniscal damage is wear and tear, or degeneration. This will consist of tiny tears, called microtears, which create a fraying of the cartilage.
All of the different types of meniscal damage can be treated by knee arthroscopy surgery. There are two small incisions used for this surgery. In one, the surgeon will place a scope, or a small camera. The other incision is used for a tool which will trim or shave the meniscus depending on the damage that has occurred. This procedure is typically a day surgery and you should be able to walk immediately after it is over. Some people prefer to use crutches or a cane, but if all heals well, you should be able to stop using these after a day or two.
Regardless of the injury, researchers are now suggesting that a course of physiotherapy focusing on strengthening and balance, or proprioception, is critical before knee arthroscopy surgery. Studies are indicating such a physiotherapy treatment program can reduce pain and increase function to the same degree as surgery in most cases. This can in some cases eliminate the need for surgery altogether. It also can eliminate the risk of infection and reduce the chances of future osteoarthritis.
Lastly, sometimes, custom knee bracing
can be effective to offload the side of the knee that has a meniscus injury.
If you have knee pain, see a physiotherapist today. They can help!
Athlete Stretching- Knee Pain
As we start into the fall and winter sports seasons, many people have asked about knee pain in their early teenaged or pre teen children. This pain is at the front of the knee and is not usually due to falls or sudden injuries.
The most common cause is something called Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. This is swelling and pain in the joint between the knee cap and the thigh bone. Often it will start at the beginning of a new activity or if the amount of training is suddenly increased. However, knee pain can also happen after a growth spurt or for no reason at all. The cause of the knee pain is the kneecap is not tracking properly. In a healthy knee, there is a groove in the thigh bone, that the knee cap travels up and down as we straighten or bend the knee. If there is muscle tightness or weakness, the kneecap will be pulled out of the middle of the groove and the back of the knee cap gets painful. This knee pain is more noticeable on stairs, squatting or with activity because there is more pressure on the sore area.
Proper stretching is key to relieving Knee Pain . Although generally a forgotten part of fitness, it is very important that joints are flexible in order to stay healthy. If you are not sure which muscle needs to be stretched or strengthened, book an assessment with a physiotherapist.
Physiotherapists are trained to determine which exercises are best for you. Physiotherapy will include a full assessment of your knee and the muscles surrounding it. Treatment will focus on addressing the tight muscles and joints as well as education on prevention. Proper care at the start of any injury is key to preventing a longer term chronic injury. The goal is to keep you in the game and allow you to continue with your normal activities of daily living.