My knee feels tight when bending it — why?

Why Does My Knee Feel Tight When Bending?

Tightness and stiffness in the knee that is experienced when bending is a widely experienced issue, so if you’re dealing with it, you’re not alone. When you think about the sheer amount of stress that we put on our knees every day, the prevalence of knee injuries and related symptoms becomes understandable. In fact, the force placed on the knee during just normal walking can be as high as two or three times our body weight. 

Because of these factors, injuries such as ligament sprains, ligament tears and muscle strains can develop that cause decreased knee mobility. Additionally, age-related conditions, especially osteoarthritis, can cause tightness and stiffness in the knee joint. Yet another cause of tightness in the knee is simple muscle imbalances that cause excessive pulling on the knee joint. 

If you are dealing with knee tightness when bending that lasts longer than a few days to a week, you should seek professional attention to determine the cause and recommend treatments. 

Should you see a physical therapist for tightness in the knee?

Physical therapists are uniquely qualified to identify and treat the underlying causes of knee pain and reduced mobility. As part of their extensive training, therapists develop a deep understanding of the functioning of the knee and the different factors that can negatively affect it. When you first meet with a physical therapist, he or she will perform an extensive assessment that includes discussing your symptoms and normal activities, reviewing your health and injury history, and performing a physical examination that includes movement, balance and stability testing. 

Specific treatments vary from patient to patient and depend on the specific cause of knee tightness, other health factors and age but will almost always contain some combination of:

  • Therapeutic exercises — These can be performed by the patient with guidance from the therapist or performed on the patient by the therapist. The goal of therapeutic exercises is to increase range of motion, address muscle imbalances, strengthen the knee and improve stability. 
  • Manual therapy — Manual techniques can help relax and mobilize soft tissue, improve blood flow and release painful bundles of muscle, known as trigger points. Manual therapies work in conjunction with physical therapy exercises to improve the functioning of the knee. 

Patient education is also an important part of physical therapy. Your therapist can provide information about healthy lifestyle choices that help promote long-term knee health and prevent repeat injuries. 

Work with the knee experts at SSOR

Want to learn more about the causes of knee stiffness as well as effective treatment options? When you work with the licensed and experienced therapists at Specialists in Sports and Orthopedic Rehabilitation, you’ll work one-on-one with a caring expert who will help you develop an effective program that is right for your needs and lifestyle. 

To start your journey toward improved knee functioning, contact us today and schedule your initial appointment.