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Knee Pain, What Does It Mean?

When it comes to dealing with any type of injury, the knee is often one of the biggest problem areas of the body. The first thing to understand about knee health is that the knee is a stable joint that functions and exists directly between two very mobile joint the hip and the foot. If the hip or foot is injured, mobility of the knee is limited.

If you’ve ever had any sort of injury, especially a knee injury, you may have grown to appreciate how your knees power you through various sports and activities: kicking, jumping, running, and pivoting. To avoid knee injuries, it helps to understand how your knees work and what you can do to protect them.

The knee is a joint, the largest joint in the body. Your knees provide stability and allow your legs to bend, swivel, and straighten. The knee is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all working as one. What makes knee injuries complicated is they can be caused by stress or damage to any of these parts. The knee sits in the middle of three bones: the tibia (your shinbone), the femur (your thighbone), and the patella (the kneecap). The patella is a flat and round bone that protects the knee joint.

As we age, strain on our knees becomes compounded, and the pain becomes more common and persistent. With that said, the pain can come from so many different sources, whether by aging or injury. Understanding what is causing your knee pain may be a simple task, or more complicated. A skilled physician can use clues to determine the cause of knee pain.

  • Front of Knee: Pain over the front of the knee is most commonly related to the kneecap. Kneecap pain can be caused by several different problems.
  • Inside of Knee: Pain on the inside, or medial side of the knee, is commonly caused by medial meniscus tearsMCL injuries, and arthritis.
  • Outside of Knee: Pain on the outside of the knee, or lateral side, is commonly caused by lateral meniscus tears, LCL injuries, IT band tendonitis, and arthritis.
  • Back of Knee: Pain in the back of the knee can often be due to the collection of fluid, called a Baker’s Cyst.

The knee is a complicated and critical part needed for your everyday life activities. So, when you have pain that comes with serious symptoms or lasts for more than a week or two, seek the right diagnosis by getting a physical exam and any necessary imaging that comes with it.

If you are experiencing knee pain, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment.

Occupational Therapy Reduces Hospital Readmissions

By definition, Occupational therapists must often determine whether the patient can complete daily functions on their own, or whether a caregiver is ultimately needed. They focus on the patient’s well being, both in and outside of therapy, with the ultimate goal of determining and maintaining a person’s capability to function in regular society. In some circumstances, an occupational therapist is tasked with evaluating whether someone will continue to be at risk of hospitalization if left in their current living or working situation.

Research and evidence from an independent study published in Medical Care Research and Review showed that occupational therapy reduces hospital readmission rates for the three health conditions studied: heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction. This was largely due to how occupational therapy places a unique focus on the patient’s return to his or her daily life. Improvement of daily functions is immensely important for the safety of patients, and thus are the primary focus of occupational therapists.

The research specifically looked at Medicare claims and cost data to understand hospital spending for specific services and the 30-day admission rates for heart failure, pneumonia, and acute myocardial infarction. The correlation focused on occupational therapy’s mission to improve patient’s functional and social needs, which are huge underlying factors in readmission if left unaddressed. Sometimes, a helping hand is needed to guide people back to a healthy and safe lifestyle.

 

The study cited six specific interventions that occupational therapists can provide to lower readmission rates by:

  • Providing recommendations and training for caregivers. Making sure that the caregivers and patient have a good understanding and respect for one another.
  • Determining whether patients can safely live independently, or require further rehabilitation, nursing care, or assisted living.
  • Addressing existing disabilities with assistive devices, so patients can safely perform activities of daily living (e.g., using the bathroom, bathing, getting dressed, making a meal).
  • Performing home safety assessments before discharge, to suggest modifications or the possible need for a home that is more amenable to a particular patient.
  • Assessing cognition and the ability to physically manipulate things like medication containers, and provide training when necessary.
  • Working with physical therapists to increase the intensity of inpatient rehabilitation when needed, and determine the best possible rehab plan for the patient.

If you would like more information on this study go to: Occupational Therapy Reduces Hospital Readmissions, and call Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence (719) 623-1050  to request an appointment.