Knee pain can be frustrating. In fact, a painful knee can prevent you from enjoying your favorite things, such as walking, running, playing golf, exercising, or gardening. There are many instances where knee pain can even interfere with a good nights sleep. To make matters worse, many common knee conditions are slow to respond to traditional types of care, often creating further disappointment and aggravation.
All musculoskeletal injuries, including knee injuries, occur through one simple principle, the load (i.e. the physical stress or strain) placed on an anatomical structure exceeds that structures capacity to tolerate that load. This seems logical to most people when thinking about traumatic injuries such as ACL tears or knee dislocations. But what most people don’t realize is that the damaging and excessive loads do not have to happen all at once. Instead, many injuries are categorized as overuse or repetitive strain injuries, meaning pain and tissue damage are not the result of strain or overload from a single event, but instead occur as the musculoskeletal system is exposed to a large number of small, repetitive forces over weeks or months or years. In this sense, tissue damage occurs slowly over time, eventually accumulating to a critical point in which symptoms are felt. This is why in most cases it is difficult to trace the pain or injury back to a specific incident or event.
Over time this strain can develop into what is known as micro-trauma. Simply stated, micro-trauma is very small scale damage that occurs in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in response to small levels of strain. Although only small, and at least initially is not painful, this damage still needs to be repaired, which the body does by forming new tissue in and around the injured tissue. This new tissue, often referred to as scar tissue or soft tissue adhesions, is very sticky and acts to ‘glue’ the damaged tissues back together.
Unfortunately, over time this scar tissue can build-up and accumulate in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the knee. As this happens it places more and more strain on the area as the muscles must now stretch and contract against these adhesions. This in turn places even further strain on the knee, which leads to even more micro-trauma. Essentially a repetitive strain injury cycle is set-up causing continued adhesion formation and progressive knee dysfunction. It are these adhesions that are binding the tissues together, restricting normal movements, and interfering with the normal flexibility and contraction of the muscles in and around the knee. At this point pain and tightness at the knee and surrounding area will start to become noticeable.
Active Release Technique(ART) is a hands-on treatment method to address problems in the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. It is designed to identify and address scar tissue adhesions that are interfering with the normal function of the body. By locating and treating the soft-tissue adhesions, it allows the practitioner to, 1) break-up restrictive adhesions, 2) restore normal tissue translation and movement and 3) more completely restore strength, flexibility, balance, and stability to the knee and surrounding area.
One of the best things about ART is how fast you can get results. When the proper affected lesion has been identified and any perpetuating factors have been address, significant results should occur in 5-7 treatments. Each case is unique and there may be several factors that determine the length of time that is required to resolve your individual condition.