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Knee Health: What Would You Be Doing Right Now If You Could Lift Your Ability to 100%?

Beat Knee Pain and Improve Performance With Lift Clinic's Vancouver Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, and RMT Massage Therapy Team.

Ok, let’s talk about the knee! What to expect from rehabilitating your knee pain with Lift Clinic, and how our clinicians can help level-up your knee function and performance.

Whether you're here for performance...

Kim N.
5/5

After two knee surgeries, Travis and Sam are the most amazing Vancouver physiotherapists out there. They both are exceedingly competent in their expertise and am always left feeling empowered, not only with my rehab, but in my strength and performance life journey.

...or for rehabilitation, we're ready to help.

Kelsey K.
5/5

A clean and professionally run clinic. I’ve been seeing Henry since injuring my knee in December and I’m really happy with the progress so far. Henry is easy to get along with and quite knowledgeable, providing stretches and strength building exercises based on my needs week to week. I highly recommend both Lift and Henry for physiotherapy!

Take a sneak peek into how we work with the knee at Lift Clinic

Physiotherapist Travis Dodds shares how clinicians at Lift Clinic can treat your knee to eliminate pain and optimize performance.

What's it like to rehabilitate your knee with Lift Clinic?

When you come in with knee pain, the first thing we do is start by asking questions to help get a better idea of your situation. Questions like what’s your sleeping pattern like, what other conditions or injuries have you had, and most importantly, what you hope to achieve with treatment. Next we look at why the pain is happening. Sometimes it’s obvious when your injury happened, maybe from a fall or twisting motion. Maybe it was inevitable, or in some cases it could have been prevented in the first place. All of these considerations are taken into account when we first assess you, creating a full picture of your situation and looking for that root cause. 

At Lift Clinic we strive to provide you with a thorough assessment that incorporates an understanding of your head to toe movement abilities and how these relate to your pain and injury. We believe in helping clients level up movement by addressing root causes of pain. As a team we train together to help ensure our clinicians know the abilities of their teammates. This is so we can make accurate “passes” when sharing clients, like how elite sports team make passes as they work towards scoring a goal. 

We encourage clients to think big picture and help us understand who you are and what’s most important to you. So we like to start by asking questions like this: 

What would you be doing right now if your health and function were 100%

This is a question we want each and every one of our clients to ask themselves before they come in. Every client has their own unique goals and abilities. What’s important to you and what you want to achieve is a fundamental factor in creating your individualized treatment plan.  Our aim is to help you overcome pain and improve performance so that you can keep doing what you love!

Physiotherapist Sam assessing a clients knee.

Why is it important to seek treatment as soon as possible?

Really, the entire treatment process starts with your assessment. We want to have an immediate understanding of what the root cause of your knee pain is. We want to figure out if any other diagnostic imaging or referrals to specialists need to be done. Most of all, we want you to be spending your time efficiently, starting you on a path to a pain-free life right now! 

What can I do to prepare for my appointment?

  • come with flexible clothing – shorts and a t-shirt/tank top are generally best
  • be prepared for an assessment that will look at the knee, but also the whole body, so we can understand how your knee and body affect one another, assess whole body movement patterns, and also look for signs of whether or not grumpy peripheral nerves, low back or vestibular systems may be involved in your issue.
  • take time to reflect on how this is affecting your function – are you limiting activities? strength, flexibility or cardiovascular exercise? is this knee injury affecting your mental health (stress, anxiety, depression?), ability to enjoy yourself, your mood, or your sleep?
  • reflect on: what would you be doing if you were 100%
Take the first step to eliminating your knee pain and achieve your performance goals!

Knee Pain and Rehabilitation FAQs

We treat a range of knee injuries, from acute to chronic. There are many structures associated with the knee, and any one or more of them can be affected. Some examples of conditions and injuries we see:

 

  • arthritis
  • patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • runner’s or jumper’s knee
  • ACL injuries and surgical reconstructions
  • meniscus injuries
  • patellofemoral dislocation or subluxation
  • patellar bursitis
  • pes anserine bursitis
  • patellofemoral tendon ruptures
  • knee sprains and strains
  • patellar fractures
  • tibial plateau fractures

This is always a tricky question. There’s no cut-and-dry answer because it depends on the extent of the injury, how it happened, and who the client is. Until you are assessed and a full history of your pain or injury is known, there’s no way to estimate a healing timeline. Even with a specific diagnosis, there can be some variability due to individual factors like lifestyle, nutrition, sleep, alcohol, smoking, activity patterns, treatment frequency etc.

Your physiotherapist or chiropractor will give you an answer to this question to the best of their ability during your first appointment.

As a team, we put in lots of time and effort to know what each of our strengths are and how to best collaborate to get clients to their goals. 

With physiotherapy, we use joint mobilization, functional exercises, and sometimes IMS dry needling. 

Chiropractic deals with joint manipulation and mobilization, using manual therapy to put your body back in it’s place. At Lift Clinic, our chiropractors assess and treat the whole body, including how dysfunction in one area may affect another area.

RMT massage therapy focuses on releasing muscle tension and sometimes incorporates some exercise therapy. 

Strength coaching really focuses on the movement training and exercise side of things, ranging from rehabilitation to performance. 

At the end of the day, all of our clinicians use a similar method to assess your movement patterns. This makes it easy to be treated by more than one discipline. The most important thing is that you come in and have that assessment done so that we can figure out the cause of your pain and determine the best plan of care. 

Here are some tips for preventing knee injuries:

  • do a 5-15 minute warm up before any physical activity, including stretching. This raises your core temperature to prepare your muscles for movement.
  • Before activity, you can do some dynamic stretching to loosen up your muscles. Bonus points if it mimics movements that you will be doing.
  • Muscle and mobility imbalances can lead to knee pain. Be sure to train all muscle groups around the knee to give it support and stability.
  • Static stretching and an acitive cool-down after activity will help improve mobility and promote recovery.

 

You can actually follow these recommendations to prevent all injuries. Taking the time to properly warm-up and cool-down can boost your performance and help you recover from a demanding workout. 

What is optimal knee function and how does this help your performance and longevity?

Do your knees track over your toes in a squat or do they cave in? Is your knee stable with loaded movements or is there instability? This is one thing we look for when assessing your knee function.

Try these:

  • With your feet together, squat down as far as you can, aiming to have your hands beside your feet and your knees aligned with your toes.
  • Balance on one leg with the other foot hovering just above the floor with your knee bent. Hold for about 10 seconds. Repeat with eyes closed, and then do the same with the other leg.
 

If you can do these with ease and with the same results on both sides pain-free, congratulations! You have good, basic knee mobility and stability. Next we might look at assessments of strength and performance such as ability to jump and land, run, change direction etc…

If you don’t pass the above tests, we can quickly perform an assessment to determine the root cause of your movement limitations, so that you can spend your time and efforts fixing the most important issues.

Using assessments such as these, we aim to identify your limitations or pain-evoking movements, figure out where that deficit or pain is coming from, and use a wide range of therapeutic techniques to improve your function. We do this by taking a broader point-of-view and looking at your body as a whole, determining if you have all the building blocks in place to support your hip function. By bulletproofing your knee, you will be able to take your performance to the next level and move better in the long run.

A client working on knee alignment in a split squat.

When you run, movement at the knee isn’t isolated. Your knee is involved in a complex full body movement pattern that has many moving parts. Running involves a triple extension movement pattern – extension at the ankle (plantarflexion), knee, and hip. If your goal is to run better, we would take a look at your running form and it break down into components to figure out where your weak point is. Ultimately, you want to be powerful and stable while you run. We can assess to find those weak points in strength and mobility, getting you on a path to meet your goals. 

Just like when you run, your knee is involved in a complex full-body movement pattern. Having stability and strength around your knee is key to preventing injury, especially when landing from a jump. 

Knees tend to complain a lot when volume and intensity of jumping increase – so understanding the chain from foot to knee to hip and pelvis/low back, even up to the thoracic region, is important to ensure performance-minded clients can push their limits.

Your ability to get in and out of positions requiring full knee range of motion – squats, jumps, running, lunges, is a key part of most athletic and functional training programs. Whether your goal is for sport performance or longevity, you need a stable, powerful knee with ideally full range of motion. 

The biggest thing we think about when it comes to play is – what is play, for you? Knee performance matters a lot but it depends on what activities you do. Descending from a long hike, sprinting, changing direction… the role of the knee is integral in all these things and when it’s working well, it helps keep unwanted pressure off other areas such as the hip, ankle and low back. 

How can Lift Clinic help you optimize you knee performance and achieve your goals?

Performance minded clients start with us typically by seeing a strength coach, physiotherapist or chiropractor – often a combination of strength coach and one of physio or chiro is ideal, because their full assessment will lead to a comprehensive treatment plan spanning manual therapy and efficient exercise programming that brings the best of these practitioners’ strengths together. 

A head to toe assessment gives us context in your whole body movement and how it might be affecting things locally at the knee. Then we get into a more regional detailed assessment for the knee, starting from your low back all the way down to your foot and ankle. Physio and chiro will typically go more into detail with individual joint and region by region assessments of the body. Strength coaches will work through a wide range of fundamental movements and evaluate how your knee is functioning throughout. 

Upon completing your assessment, we will have identified your most important mobility limitations and strength deficits that are be affecting your knee performance. Next we can create a plan to overcome these limitations, as efficiently as possible. With our help, you can overcome these limitations and really take your performance to the next level! 

Meet Lift Clinic - a team of Vancouver Physiotherapy, Chiropractic and RMT Massage Therapy practitioners who believe in strength and movement for life.

Have pain or movement goals?

Lift Clinic is located in East Vancouver at 4030 Knight St. Our team of Vancouver physiotherapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and strength coaches is ready to help you reach your goals as efficiently as possible! Click Book Now to get started, or Contact Us if you have any questions or would like to speak directly to a Vancouver physio, chiro or RMT about your situation before you book.

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