At some point in your life, it is probable that you will experience some sort of knee pain. This is because your knees are weight-bearing joints and they absorb a lot of pressure with every step you take.
Whether or not you are a professional athlete, someone who loves to be physically active, or someone who doesn’t have a regular exercise program, knowing how to protect your knees from injury will help you live a more fulfilling lifestyle and avoid pain and limited mobility.
What are common causes of knee pain?
There are many different causes of knee pain that can vary depending on your weight, age, gender, and health history. Common causes of knee pain include:
- Aging– Years of daily wear and tear.
- Being overweight– Higher body weight places much more stress on your joints, raising the risk of a severe knee injury and the need for treatment.
- Injury– This can be caused by a variety of things but common injuries include a damaged ACL, meniscus or cartilage tears, sprains/strains, fractures, kneecap dislocation, or repeated stress on the knee.
- Tendonitis– This typically occurs in people who are more physically active. Tendonitis pain generally hurts during exercise and doesn’t stick around when you’re resting. The pain is usually localized under your knee cap.
- Bursitis– Bursitis occurs when the padding within your knee, that protects your bones and joints from rubbing against each other, becomes inflamed and causes pain.
- Arthritis– Either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis can leave you with severe knee pain due to swelling and erosion of joints and cartilage.
What are some ways that can help relieve knee pain?
- Weight Loss– Having extra weight on your body places an unnecessary amount of pressure on your knees. Studies have found that losing one pound of weight can result in up to four pounds of pressure being removed from the knees and joints.
- Not overdoing it- Knowing your limits and not overexerting yourself is an important part of keeping your joints healthy.
- Avoiding high impact of rapid lateral movements– These movements can tear your ACL or meniscus and damage your knee.
- Knee braces/compression sleeves– A brace can help take impact and pressure off your knee joint and allow you to experience more comfortable mobility.
- Strengthening the muscles around your knees– This can be done with low-impact exercises such as cycling, elliptical, swimming, etc. Focus on workouts that strengthen your quadriceps and hamstring muscles, as well as strengthen the body’s core muscles.
- Heat and cold therapy– Applying heat or cold packs can reduce inflammation and allow your muscles to relax and recover.
- Elevation– This can especially help after an injury or overuse; this technique will help reduce swelling and promote healthy blood flow.
- Pain relievers– When recommended by your doctor, medication can help you manage pain and reduce inflammation.
- Natural remedies– These can include supplements to maintain healthier joints and cartilage. Acupuncture has also been known to relieve certain knee pain.
- Stretching– Stretching often can loosen the muscles around your knee, which reduces pressure on the joints.
- Physical therapy- Physical therapy can help give you a plan of exercise that will strengthen your knee without increasing the risk of injury or further damage.
- Cushioned shoes with gel inserts– Additional foot support can help cushion your knees and ease pain from the impact of walking, running, or working out.
Occasional minor knee aches are common, but when you are experiencing frequent pain that limits you from living your day to day life, it’s time to see a doctor. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Nelson to find the best treatment option for you. Give us a call at 435-774-8511.