Knee pain is a pain localized in or around the knee. The pain usually is anterior, which means it’s felt at the front of the knee. But the pain also may be felt at the sides, back or along the joint line of the knee.
It is common pain and can occur suddenly or over a period of time, often difficult to pinpoint or describe it, and can affect people of all ages. Numerous things can cause knee pain, such as cartilage tear, ligament tear, arthritis or muscle problems.
The pain can be accompanied by swelling and stiffness. It is often very treatable problem, and the treatment options may vary depending on the cause.
What Causes Knee Pain?
The knee is a complex structure, build up from three bones – thighbone, shinbone and kneecap, and few ligaments and tendons, muscles and cartilage between the bones. All these structures can be affected by different conditions, causing pain in the knee.
Causes of knee pain are generally divided in few groups:
- Injuries – any knee stricter can be affected by an injury. Most common knee injuries include ACL injury (injury of the anterior cruciate ligament); fractures, usually the kneecap during car accidents or falls; meniscal tears; bursitis and patellar tendinitis, usually among runners, skiers, bicyclist, and everyone involved in high impact sports.
- Mechanical problems – such as dislocated kneecap; altered gait, usually caused by foot or hip pain; iliotibial band syndrome; loose body inside the joint space, caused by degeneration of the bone or injury.
- Arthritis – there are more than 100 types of arthritis and many of them tend to affect the knee. Most common arthritic problems that affect the knee include: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, pseudogout, septic arthritis, etc.
- Other problems – infection, tumors, cold weather, overusing, bad posture, etc.
Risk Factors For Knee Pain
Knee pain can affect everyone, no matter age, physical activity or sex. But there are many factors that increase the risk of having knee problems. These include:
- Lack of physical activity
- Lack of muscle flexibility or strength
- Certain sports such as skiing, football, basketball, repeated falls, running, cycling, etc.
- Previous injury
What Does Knee Pain Feel Like?
The knee pain is different for each person. Often it is difficult to describe or even pinpoint. The pain can be presented as:
- Constant ache
- Sharp pain when using the knee
- Dull burning sensation
Sometimes the pain can be felt when the knee is touched. And often the pain is accompanied by swelling and stiffness.
Depending on the underlying problem, other symptoms can include inability to walk on the affected side, deformity of the knee, night pain or pain while resting, bruising around the knee, locking of the knee, inability to straighten the knee, signs of the infection (fever, redness, warmth), etc.
Your SF Chiropractor will ask questions about the characteristic of the pain and when did it appear. And during the physical examination, your chiropractor will inspect the knee for swelling, bruises, tenderness, warmth or deformities. He or She may ask you to move the leg in different directions and may perform some tests to evaluate the stricter of the knee.
Other tests that can be ordered to conclude or exclude the diagnosis include lab test and imaging tests such as X-ray, CT, MRI and ultrasound.
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How To Relieve Knee Pain?
The treatment depends on the specific problem. Mild to moderate issues often gets better on their own. Medical treatments include medications, physical therapy, injections or surgery.
Medications usually include painkillers, corticosteroids or other medications needed to treat the underlying condition.
Physical therapy is concentrated on strengthening the muscles around the knee and correcting the movement patterns. Wearing braces can be helpful too.
Joint injections can relieve the pain through decreasing the inflammation, lubricating the joints and promoting healing. Examples of joint injections include corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
Not every condition requires surgery. Usually these problems are injuries and degenerative changes of knee. Surgery options include arthroscopic surgery, partial knee replacement or total knee replacement.
Life-style and home remedies have a big impact on relieving knee pain.
Self-care strategies are simple, don’t take much time and can be done in the comfort of your home.
- Rest – this is the first thing you should consider after experience knee pain. Take a break from your normal activities. This will give the injury time to heal and will prevent further damage. Rest time depends on the severity of condition.
- Ice – Putting ice or cold pads on the knee will reduces both pain and inflammation.
- Compression – Helps prevent swelling and damaging tissues due fluid buildup, also helps maintaining knee stability.
- Elevation – Put your leg on pillow while sitting or lying, this will prevent swelling.
- Chiropractic adjustments of the hips, spine, and patello-femoral joint can help mobilize the joints back into their proper alignment. This will alleviate joint stress, reduce inflammation, and promote healing of the joint and surrounding soft tissue. When combined with corrective exercises treatment can be very effective. To get to the root cause of pain and discomfort, schedule an initial consultation, including a comprehensive evaluation and first treatment.
- Acupuncture involves placing thin needles into the skin, at specific points of the body. It can help relieve knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. To experience the benefits of acupuncture or discover if another treatment might better support you, schedule an initial consultation for evaluation and first treatment.
How To Prevent Knee Pain?
Although it is not always possible to prevent knee pain, practicing these few tips will decrease the risk of knee injury.
- Maintain healthy weight
- Workout gradually
- Stretch before and after physical activity
- Wear the right shoes
- Keep your muscles strong
- Wear knee pads in contacting sports
If you are looking for knee pain relief and would like to find out if you are a candidate for our treatment we would like to meet you. To get to the root cause of pain and discomfort, schedule an initial consultation, including a comprehensive evaluation and first treatment.