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April 16, 2021

Physical Therapy for The Knee

Physical Therapy for The Knee

Shot of a young physiotherapist assisting a senior patient in recovery

There are numerous reasons why you might be experiencing knee pain such as an acute traumatic injury, degenerative disease such as Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis, or natural deterioration of muscle, bone, nerves, and connective tissue. Other common reasons you may benefit from physical therapy for the knee include:

  • Knee surgery or replacement Post-Operative Rehabilitation
  • Runner’s knee
  • Knee sprain
  • Dislocated knee
  • Knee bursitis
  • Above-knee amputation
  • Torn meniscus
  • Knock knees or bow-legged knees
  • Muscular Imbalance Corrective Exercise
  • Knee arthritis

How Long Does Physical Therapy Take?

Depending on the severity of an injury, most patients can recover and return to normal activities within a few weeks to a few months when compliant with their prescribed recovery plan. The total length and frequency of your sessions will depend upon the severity of your injury. However, most range from one to three days per week, anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes per session.

Hip Bursitis Hiking

Relative to surgical treatments, physical therapy is much less expensive. Depending on the medical necessity deemed by your insurance provider in conjunction with a recommendation from your initial Physical Therapy evaluation and/or an orthopedic physician referral, a typical patient may only need upwards of 10 to 20 treatments in total.

Physical Therapy Costs with Insurance

Fortunately, most insurances cover the cost of medically necessary physical therapy treatment however, you may be required to pay a deductible or copay with each visit. Contact your insurance provider to discuss physical therapy out-of-pocket costs associated with your benefit plan. Depending on your insurance cost, some practices offer a cash pay rate that may be an alternative option as well. Call us at 719-632-7669 for more information.

Physical Therapy Costs without Insurance

Out-of-pocket costs depend on your physical therapy plan however, some practices offer a cash pay rate that may be an alternative option. Call us at 719-632-7669 to discuss self-pay options.

Musculoskeletal and Joint pain typically stem from either a lack of strength or lack of mobility within a joint and its surrounding structures. These structures can include your skeletal muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Physical Therapy is one of, if not the most recommended conservative treatments by orthopedic physicians and aims to restore full function from various conditions and injuries. Through proper evaluation and exercise prescription by a licensed physical therapist, you could be back to living your pain-free life within a few weeks or a few months depending on the severity of your pain.

Call (719) 632-7669 to schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists today or visit us at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group.

Types of Physical Therapy Exercises for Knee

The following physical therapy exercises for knee pain are just some of the exercises that can help strengthen the knee after experiencing an injury or surgical procedure. During your first Physical Therapy visit, your Physical Therapist will prescribe additional exercises to address your specific symptoms.


  1. Walk or bike for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Raise your knee and grab it with your hands. Hug your knee towards you and balance in place for 10 to 20 seconds on each leg. Repeat 3 to 4 times with each leg.
  3. Do 5 to 10 bodyweight squats to a pain free depth or depth designated by your physical therapy protocols. During each bend, think about pushing the floor away from you through with your weight evenly distributed between your heels and your toes. Use supportive assistance as needed.

Wall Squats:

  1. Stand with your back to a smooth wall and your feet set just slightly in front of you. Cross your arms or have your hands on your hips. Next, slowly bend your knees allowing your upper body to lower down the wall in a controlled and stabilized manner. If you need to, hold on to a chair placed either in front or to one side of you for balance.
  2. Lower yourself until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle or at an angle prescribed by your physical therapist. A few notes to keep in mind:
    • Try not bend your knees further than 90 degrees and prevent your your knees from going over your toes.
    • Keep your feet flat to the ground and your weight evenly distributed between your heels and toes.
    • Try not to lift your heels or toes as you squat down.
    • Keep your head in a neutral position looking straight in front of you.
    • It might help to have a mirror in front of you to watch your form as you perform the exercise.
  3. Hold the squat for 3 to 5 seconds, then push evenly through your feet to stand back up. Immediately stop the exercise if you experience any sharp pains that escalate over a 3 out of 10 on the pain scale or pain that lingers after you perform the exercise.
    • You should experience a slight burn in your quadricep, hamstring, and glute muscles. You may experience some mild pain in your knee with these. So long as it is not above a 3 out of 10 on the pain scale and the pain does not linger afterward, some discomfort is ok.
  4. Repeat for 2 to 3 sets, 5 to 10 reps each set or as prescribed by your physical therapist.

Additional Wall Squat Tips:

The goal is to see an increase in strength and exercise endurance over a period of time, this is also referred to as progressive overload. A modification for this exercise would be to place a stability ball between your back and the wall and carefully squat down while keeping tension on the ball. This modification will allow for greater range of motion and add fluidity to the movement for those learning initial squat mechanics.

Lateral Walks:

  1. With a small resistance band placed just above your ankles, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on your hips as you keep your head in a neutral position looking straight ahead.
  2. Keeping your legs straight with just a slight bend in your knees, press your knees slightly outwards to put tension on the band and activate your gluteal muscles. Now, take a step to your left to create additional tension on the band. Now, move your right foot in towards the left so that your feet are once again shoulder width apart and the band is stretched to a moderate tension. We want to keep constant tension on the band and your glutes engaged throughout the entire movement.
  3. The resistance band should make it a bit difficult to take the step. If it is too tight, lengthen the resistance band or move to a band with less tension. If it is too easy, shorten the resistance band between your feet or move to a band with higher tension. Hold on to a chair if you are having trouble balancing. It might also help to have a wall mirror in front of you to watch your form as you perform the exercise.
  4. Repeat 5 to 10 times stepping in the same direction, pause and then repeat going the opposite direction, i.e., leading with the right foot to return to your starting position.
  5. You will feel this movement primarily in your gluteal region which will help strengthen the muscles that help you move side to side. Immediately stop the exercise if you feel any sharp pain above a 3 out of 10 on the pain scale or if the pain lingers after you perform the exercise.

As you become stronger, aim to increase the tension on the restriction band.

Physical Therapy for Knee

What to Expect at Your First Physical Therapy Session

Your first visit to any physical therapy clinic will include an evaluation of your injury condition. PTs are also trained to assess the cause of your pain, not just in the treatment of symptoms.

Before your first visit, it might be beneficial to create a list of questions that you would like to discuss with your PT. We also recommend informing your PT of any past medical history, previous treatments, and current medications during your initial evaluation. If you are scheduled to be seen with one of our highly trained physical therapists here at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, please complete your patient intake form found of our website www.csog.net prior to your initial appointment.

During your first visit, your PT may perform tests and certain movements to determine your condition as well as ask detailed questions about your mobility, current movement and activity restrictions, and your level of pain associated with such movements or activities. From there, they will discuss a recommended treatment plan specific to your injury, pain, and associated symptoms.


The primary benefits of physical therapy to treat knee issues can include:

  • Faster recovery
  • Safer recovery
  • Less expensive
  • High patient satisfaction rates
  • Eliminates or reduces the need for surgery.
  • Eliminates or reduces the need for medications.
  • Promotes muscle strengthening that can carry over into your daily life and hopefully promote life-long exercise and activity habits.

Patient Advantages

Much to the patient’s advantage, Colorado is a Direct Access state, which means you can see a physical therapist for the first line of care without a doctor’s referral. However, some insurances require an insurance authorization or physician referral prior to seeing a physical therapist. Contact your insurance provider to discuss your benefit requirements and procedures.

For those patients who are referred to Physical Therapy by an orthopedic physician post-surgery, diligent compliance with your physical therapy plan will be crucial to optimizing your post-operative recovery. Repair or Reconstruction procedures addressing the MCL, ACL, PCL, LCL or Meniscus are just some of the types of procedures performed on the knee that will require post-operative rehabilitation.

Specialized Care

Physical therapists (or PTs) are movement specialists trained in kinesiology and have their Doctoral Degree in Physical Therapy education. This education is also known as a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT). These specialists are trained to diagnose an injury based on specific evaluation criteria and will prescribe strength and mobility treatment plans as applicable to each case. They are also trained to know when physical therapy is not your best treatment option. In the event your pain cannot be treated by way of physical therapy, you may be referred to an orthopedic physician for proper diagnosis and to discuss further treatment options.

Our Physical & Occupational Therapists

At Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group, we work with some of the most highly trained and highly skilled physical therapists. Contact our office at 719-632-7669 to schedule an appointment with either our north or south physical therapy locations.

North Location

4110 Briargate Parkway, Suite 145,

Colorado Springs, CO 80920

(719) 867-7320

South Location

1259 Lake Plaza Drive, Suite 100,

Colorado Springs, CO 80906

(719) 622-4524

Woman walking with crutches during physiotherapy

Is Physical Therapy Right for You?

If you are tired of living in pain, let us help! Physical therapy for the knee is one of the common treatment options available at Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group.

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