How Can Physiotherapy Help with Recovery from Work-Related Knee Injuries?

Work injury physiotherapy focuses on treating injuries that occur in the workplace. It aims to restore function, reduce pain, and improve the overall health of individuals who have been injured while performing their job duties. Work injury physiotherapy in Edmonton plays a crucial role in aiding individuals recover from work-related injuries, regain function, and safely return to work while minimizing the risk of re-injury. 

Physiotherapy’s Role in Assisting Recovery from Knee Injuries Sustained in the Workplace:

Work injury physiotherapy in Edmonton plays a significant role in the recovery from work-related knee injuries by addressing pain, restoring mobility, strengthening muscles, and improving overall function. Here are some ways physiotherapy can help:

Range of Motion Exercises:

Knee injuries can lead to stiffness and reduced range of motion. Physiotherapists prescribe specific exercises to improve flexibility and regain the normal range of motion in the knee joint. Common range of motion exercises used in work injury physiotherapy for knee injuries are:

Knee Flexion and Extension:

These are basic movements that involve bending (flexion) and straightening (extension) the knee joint. Exercises for knee flexion and extension may include:

  • Heel slides: Recline on your back, bend your knees, and slide your heel towards your buttocks, then straighten your leg back out.
  • Quadriceps stretch: While standing, bend your knee and hold your ankle behind you, gently pulling it towards your buttocks until you sense a stretch in the front of your thigh.

Knee Circles:

Sitting or lying down, gently move your knee in a circular motion, beginning clockwise and then counterclockwise, to improve mobility and loosen up the joint.

Strength Training: 

These exercises targeting the muscles around the knee, including the hamstrings, quadriceps, and calf muscles, are essential for stability and support. Physiotherapists design customized strengthening programs to gradually rebuild strength and prevent future injuries. Strength training exercise used in knee injury physiotherapy:

Quadriceps Strengthening:

Straight leg Raises Recline on your back with one leg bent and the other straight. Lift the straight leg off the ground, maintaining it straight, then lower it back down. This exercise targets the quadriceps muscles.

  • Leg Press: Utilizing a leg press machine or resistance bands, push your feet against resistance while sitting or lying down, focusing on extending your knees. This exercise helps strengthen the quadriceps.
  • Step-ups: Step onto a platform or sturdy elevated surface with one foot, then bring the other foot up to meet it. Step back down and repeat. This exercise targets the quadriceps and helps improve balance.

Balance and Proprioception Training: 

Work-related knee injuries often affect balance and proprioception (the body’s awareness of its position in space). Physiotherapy includes exercises to improve balance and proprioception, minimizing the risk of falls and further injury. Balance and proprioception training exercises used in work injury physiotherapy are:

Balance Board Exercises:

  • Static Balance: Stand on a balance board with feet shoulder-width apart and maintain balance for a set period. Progress is achieved by performing activities such as reaching different directions while standing on the board.
  • Dynamic Balance: Perform exercises such as squats, lunges, or mini-squats while standing on the balance board to challenge balance and stability.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF):

PNF patterns involve diagonal movements that engage multiple muscle groups and enhance coordination and proprioception. Physiotherapists may use techniques such as the “chop and lift” or “reverse chop and lift” exercises with resistance bands or cables to improve proprioception and functional movement patterns.

Functional Rehabilitation:

Physiotherapists focus on restoring the ability to perform daily activities and work-related tasks. Functional exercises simulate movements relevant to the individual’s job duties to improve coordination, agility, and overall function. Here are some common functional rehabilitation exercises used in work injury physiotherapy for knee injuries:

Squat Variations:

  • Bodyweight Squats: Perform squats with proper form, focusing on hip and knee alignment. Progress by adding resistance with dumbbells or a barbell.
  • Single-Leg Squats: Perform squats while standing on one leg, utilizing a chair or wall for support if needed. This exercise enhances balance and strengthens the muscles around the knee joint.

Step-Up Exercises:

  • Step-Ups: Step onto a platform or elevated surface with one leg, then bring the other leg up to meet it. Step back down and repeat. This exercise mimics activities such as climbing stairs and improves lower body strength and stability.

Gait Training:

If the knee injury has affected walking patterns or gait, physiotherapists work on correcting abnormalities and ensuring proper biomechanics during walking and other weight-bearing activities. Common gait training exercises used in work injury physiotherapy are:

Weight-Shifting Exercises:

  • Side Stepping: Step sideways with one foot, bringing the other foot to meet it. Repeat in the opposite direction. This exercise helps improve weight shifting and lateral stability during walking.
  • Hip Abduction/Adduction: Use resistance bands or perform exercises such as side leg lifts to strengthen the hip abductor and adductor muscles, which play a vast role in stabilizing the pelvis during walking.

Manual Therapy: 

Techniques like massage, manipulation, and joint mobilization are used to minimize pain, improve joint mobility, and restore normal movement patterns in the knee. Manual therapy can help alleviate stiffness, increase flexibility, and promote the healing of soft tissues. Common manual therapy techniques used in knee injuries:

Soft Tissue Massage: 

Soft tissue massage involves applying pressure and manipulation to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia surrounding the knee joint. This helps to minimize muscle tension, improve circulation, and alleviate pain. Different massage techniques may be used, including effleurage, petrissage, friction, and kneading.

Enhancing Workplace Rehabilitation: 

Work injury physiotherapy in Edmonton is a crucial component of the recovery journey for individuals who have sustained injuries in the workplace. Momentum Physiotherapy in Edmonton empowers individuals with the knowledge and skills to prevent re-injury and maintain optimal physical health, and physiotherapy facilitates a successful return to work and a higher quality of life. Work injury physiotherapy serves as a cornerstone in restoring function, promoting workplace safety, and enhancing the overall health and productivity of individuals following work-related injuries.

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