Has a sudden, sharp pain in your knee ever stopped you in your tracks? If so, you’re not alone. Knee pain is a common complaint for those of us who lead active lifestyles, spend long hours on our feet, and even sit at a desk all day. And you don’t have to just live with it. Knee pain treatment works.
That’s what we’re here to help you do. Because knee pain, my friend, is no joke.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, nearly 20% of Americans report severe knee pain at some point in their lives.
This article gives detailed information on knee pain.
- What causes it?
- Are your knee pain symptoms trying to tell you something?
- And what is the best knee pain treatment based on your unique symptoms?
- Could knee pain treatment without an operation work for you?
You’ll find what you’re looking for here. But first, if you’re unsure what’s causing your knee pain, we invite you to explore knee pain causes.
What Is Knee Pain?
Knee pain is any pain or discomfort you feel inside your knees. It can be in the front, back, outside, or where the knees come together. That pain may be sharp, dull, sudden, or persistent.
It’s an inconvenience at best and debilitating at worst. It can hamper your daily activities, keep you sedentary, and impact your sleep.
What Causes Knee Pain?
Your knees hurt for one or more of these reasons. Here are some top culprits.
These are pretty common. Just think about how much work your knees do every day!
They bear the weight of your body and help you move around. So, it’s not surprising that they might get worn out or injured from time to time.
Accidents can damage tendons and ligaments. Imagine twisting your knee during a football game or falling awkwardly while hiking. Ouch!
These kinds of incidents can lead to serious knee injuries like sprains or tears. And what’s worse, you keep reinjuring it while it’s trying to heal.
Here’s another common culprit. Inflammation in the joints causes severe discomfort and damages the tissues further. You need to get that inflammation down so the joint can heal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 54 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of arthritis.
This may seem counter-intuitive. But not using your knees can also cause pain. The tissues surrounding the joint weaken. As they do, the knee experiences greater pressure during everyday activities. It’s more likely to get injured. And it may hurt for seemingly no reason.
What are the Symptoms of Knee Pain?
Knee pain symptoms include:
Popping or crunching sound
Redness or warmth
Limited ability to extend the leg
Knee pain can be a real nuisance, right? It’s like that one friend who shows up uninvited and overstays their welcome.
When you move your leg, you may feel a little uncomfortable or have a lot of pain when resting. Some people describe their knee pain as a dull ache. Others say it feels like their joint is on fire!
It’s all relative, as they say. Pain is a very subjective experience but no less real.
The condition can be so severe that you have swelling around the joint or trouble moving the leg.
But here’s what’s important:
If you notice any redness around your knee or if it feels warm when touched, these could be signs of an infection. In such cases, it’s best to seek medical attention immediately.
Home remedies for knee pain are not an alternative to medical treatment. They can only be a complement to it. They promote your body’s natural ability to heal itself.
The American College of Rheumatology suggests that you should see a doctor if your knee hurts for more than a week or if you have a fever or unexplained weight loss. Remember, early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent long-term damage to your knee.
Now that we’ve covered what knee pain is, its causes and symptoms, I bet you’re wondering how it’s diagnosed.
But you can explore more knee pain causes here if you’d like.
How Is Knee Pain Diagnosed?
Diagnosis starts with a thorough medical examination. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, how bad your pain is, and what might have caused it. They’ll also want to know about any past injuries or medical conditions.
Next comes the physical examination. Your doctor checks for swelling, tenderness, and warmth. They look for visible bruising on your knee.
They might also move your knee into different positions. How far can you move your knee back and forth before it hurts? Where do you feel the pain—outside of the knees, between the knees, front, back, to all over?
This allows them to identify which ligaments or parts of the knee are affected.
Sometimes, the initial exams can’t find the exact cause of your knee pain. So, doctors use imaging tests like X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and ultrasounds to diagnose medical conditions. These tests provide detailed images of the structures inside your knee—bones, cartilage, tendons… you name it!
Unfortunately, X-rays can’t detect all problems.
For instance, they can reveal if you’ve got a fracture or arthritis. But you’ll need an MRI to detect damage to soft tissues such as ligaments and tendons.
Sometimes, when there’s a concern about infection or gout, doctors may do a procedure called arthrocentesis. They take fluid from your knee joint to examine under a microscope.
Sounds scary? Don’t worry! It’s done under local anesthesia. So. you won’t feel much discomfort during the procedure.
Now, let’s move on to home remedies for knee pain relief, San Francisco!
You can also schedule an initial consultation to learn how misalignments contribute to your pain. Schedule your initial consult and get your first Knee on Trac treatment same day. It’s included with your first visit.
What Is the Home Remedy For Knee Pain Relief?
Knee pain self-treatment is possible. You may not need surgery.
When knee pain is serious takes you out of the game, many home remedies might do the trick. So, it’s crucial to explore knee pain treatment options that are natural and non-invasive when possible.
How is Knee Pain Treated at Home?
One popular method is using heat and cold therapy. To get started, use a hot pack to loosen stiff joints or a cold pack to reduce inflammation and numb the area. Alternate.
Remember, using too much heat or cold or for too long could harm your skin. So, don’t leave either on the skin for an extended time.
Heat should be tolerable. Cold should have something between your skin and the ice.
OTC Pain Killers
Painkillers aren’t our first choice. But they can be very effective—especially short-term.
Try ibuprofen (such as Advil) or acetaminophen (such as Tylenol). These medications can help manage mild to moderate knee pain. But don’t use them long-term without talking to a healthcare professional.
Even OTCs have side effects when overused or misused. These can include liver damage, uncontrolled bleeding, and tinnitus (ringing of the ears).
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of essential oils, right? Certain oils, like lavender and eucalyptus, may reduce knee pain when massaged onto the area. They have anti-inflammatory properties.
Knee Pain Lotions
Creams with capsaicin, a pain-relieving substance found in chili peppers, create a sensation of warmth. Apply it on the skin over your painful knee joint. This helps distract your brain from the underlying pain.
Menthol also has both anti-inflammatory properties and a heating sensation.
Knee Pain Treatment Exercises
Exercise plays an integral role in managing knee pain.
Even gentle activities like walking strengthen muscles around your knees. These muscles stabilize the joint and reduce pressure on it.
Flexibility activities help, too! Regular movement across your entire range of motion keeps tissues like tendons, ligaments, and fascia healthy. The joint can move with greater ease. It doesn’t have to compensate for tightness by moving awkwardly.
Being active helps blood flow. This speeds up the healing of injured tissues.
Swimming and cycling are better for your knees than running or jumping. Low-impact exercises reduce the risk of aggravating an existing injury.
But remember, it’s all connected. Do exercises for your quadriceps and hamstrings to reduce knee pain and strengthen them. Weakness in a different area will force the knees to work harder and less efficiently.
Yoga is another excellent choice for those suffering from knee pain. This practice emphasizes balance and flexibility. Poses such as the chair pose or warrior pose can help strengthen your knee muscles. But they don’t put too much strain on them.
Lastly, don’t forget about stretching! Regularly stretching your legs can improve flexibility and reduce stiffness in your knees. Just remember to warm up before you start to prevent injuries!
This seems counter-intuitive. You’ve undoubtedly seen runners stretch before physical activity.
But stretching knees that are stiff from sitting or lying can actually make it worse. Walk around or gently extend them before going for deep stretch.
Managing Knee Pain with Food
Believe it or not, knee pain treatment food is possible. What you eat can have a significant impact on your knee pain. Eating foods like fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts can help manage knee pain caused by inflammation. These foods have compounds that science shows reduce inflammation.
On the other hand, foods high in sugar and saturated fats may increase inflammation. They make knee pain worse. So, try to limit your intake of processed foods and opt for whole foods instead.
And yes, fruits are okay despite the sugar. The benefits of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins are greater than the harm from sugar within a well-balanced diet.
Knee Pain Relief Supplements
Glucosamine and chondroitin are also believed to promote joint health by helping rebuild cartilage. Cartilage is the tissue that cushions your joints. So, yes, you want to protect that tissue.
However, you should only take them under medical supervision. They may interact with other medications.
As you can see knee pain treatment is more than taking a pill or getting surgery. A holistic approach to knee health includes home remedies, regular exercise, and a healthy diet. Often, this resolves the problem entirely.
What Are Knee Pain Home Remedies for Bursitis, Meniscus Tear, Etc.?
Knee Pain Meniscus Tear Treatment
Knee Pain Bursitis Treatment
Bursitis responds well to anti-inflammatory drugs, low-impact exercise, and a focus on strengthening the whole leg.
Knee Pain Cartilage Treatment
Rest, hot/cold, and low-impact strengthening exercises can help with pain caused by cartilage loss.
However, it’s essential to realize that poor body alignment and balance can wear cartilage down faster than it can heal. Knee pain chiropractic treatment helps restore knee stability.
Knee Pain Tendonitis Treatment
Anti-inflammatories and gentle exercise can help ease the pain while the joint heals.
Knee Pain Swelling Treatment
You may have an infection or serious injury if you have significant heat or swelling. Please see a doctor.
Holistic Knee Pain Treatment
In all of these cases, your Truspine chiropractor can assess your condition, order imaging, and build a knee pain treatment plan that includes both home remedies and holistic, natural treatments like:
- Nutrition advice
- Sports medicine involves various techniques designed for the unique needs of athletes and active people.
- Ultrasound therapy
- Knee on Trac, which uses a specialized machine to guide your leg slowly through a range of motion, promotes blood flow and proper alignment, all while strengthening supporting tissues. Download the Knee on Trac brochure.
- Spinal Adjustment to realign supportive structures
When Should You Seek Medical Knee Pain Treatment?
If you have mild to moderate knee pain that is relatively new, the above knee pain home remedies can help.
But when is knee pain serious?
You may need to see a doctor and get medical knee pain treatment if:
- Pain is severe
- Moderate pain persists for several days even with rest and OTC medicine
- Mild pain persists for weeks despite home remedies
- You can pinpoint a cause back to a specific injury
- You can’t fully extend your leg
- You limp or try to walk a certain way to avoid pain
- You struggle to perform daily activities. Have you started walking less or avoiding the stairs? Do you sit down on a stool to avoid squatting when reaching under the sink? You’re doing your body a disservice. These seemingly small reductions in activity make it worse over time. They will age you beyond your years.
- You think you may have a soft tissue tear. Soft tissue tears can take a long time to heal on their own because you keep reinjuring them. So, delay only makes it worse. If the manual examination indicates you may have a soft tissue tear or fracture, we can order imaging. This guides your knee treatment plan.
You also have swelling, redness, and fever. These could be signs of an infection or an inflammatory condition like arthritis.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, about 18 million patients visit a doctor or hospital yearly due to knee problems.
When you choose Truspine for your chiropractic care, you get an evaluation plus your first Knee on Trac treatment during your first visit.
We want to get you on the path to relief quickly.
Other Indications That You Might Need Medical Knee Pain Treatment
Sometimes, the symptoms aren’t as evident as intense pain or swelling. Perhaps you’ve noticed a grinding sensation in your knee when you move it. Or maybe there’s been an unusual increase in joint stiffness when you wake up in the morning.
These subtle changes can also indicate underlying issues such as osteoarthritis.
Injuries from sports or accidents often need medical attention, too. Have you fallen recently? Did you hear a popping sound followed by immediate pain in your knee? These could signify ligament damage. It needs urgent care.
It’s important not only to focus on physical symptoms though. Psychological factors play a part too!
Is constant worry about your knee problem causing stress and anxiety? Is it affecting your quality of life? Don’t hesitate to get those knees checked out!
It’s better safe than sorry!
Lastly, remember those statistics we mentioned earlier? Early intervention can greatly improve outcomes for knee pain. So if you’re in doubt, getting checked out is always a good idea.
Now that we’ve talked about when to see a doctor for knee pain, let’s discuss knee pain treatments for severe cases.
What Are The Medical Treatments Available For Severe Knee Pain?
Any knee pain becomes a constant reminder that something is not quite right. As you go about your day it’s always with you. But sometimes, the pain is beyond what’s bearable.
Even here, knee pain treatment can get you back on your feet.
What Does A Surgical Procedure Involve?
Doctors often recommend surgical options such as arthroscopic surgery or total knee replacement. Either you’ve already tried conservative measures. Or they know they won’t work because it’s bad.
Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure. Doctors make tiny cuts and use special tools to find and fix problems in the joint. This method can remove small amounts of damaged or diseased parts and close tears.
On the other hand, total knee replacement replaces the damaged parts of the knee joint with an artificial one. Doctors make an incision over your knee to expose the joint.
They can then remove damaged tissue. After that, they insert artificial pieces made of metal and plastic. This restores their function. It reduces pain.
Surgery can sound scary. But knowing what to expect can help ease your nerves. But it’s not just about what happens during surgery. Recovery is equally important! After surgery, you’ll likely need to stay in the hospital for a few days before returning home. You’ll also have regular follow-ups with your doctor to monitor your progress.
And you’ll also get physical therapy to help the joint stay mobile as it heals.
According to The American Journal of Medicine, 90% of people who undergo total knee replacement experience substantial improvement in their ability to perform common activities like walking or climbing stairs.
But we don’t want to leave you with the impression that surgery is your only option—even for severe knee pain.
Non-surgical treatments can also manage knee pain.
How Does Physical Therapy Treat Knee Pain?
Physical therapy sounds fancy doesn’t it? But trust me, it’s pretty straightforward stuff! Physical therapy helps you regain movement and function in your body after an injury or illness. It includes guided exercises and personalized home exercise programs. Physical therapists focus on strengthening muscles around your knees.
Different types of therapies are used depending on what’s causing your discomfort. For instance, let’s say you have arthritis causing you grief. A physical therapist may suggest Aquatic therapy. The water provides resistance without putting too much stress on joints.
Therapists often use their hands to apply pressure on muscles and manipulate joints, known as manual therapy. A study in a medical journal discovered that 72% of knee osteoarthritis patients had less pain after manual therapy. So, don’t underestimate the power of a good rubdown!
Now that we’ve covered treatments for severe cases of knee pain let’s move on to something equally important – prevention! Because, as they say, prevention is better than cure.
Now that we’ve covered treatments for severe cases of knee pain let’s move on to something equally important – prevention! Because, as they say, prevention is better than cure.
How Do You Prevent Knee Pain?
First, the home remedies we suggested above will also go a long way toward preventing knee pain. They can also reduce the chances that it gets worse.
But you can do more to keep knee pain from stopping you in your tracks.
It’s all about making lifestyle changes and caring for your body.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Body weight is more than a vanity metric. Extra weight puts more stress on joints than they’re built for. When your weight shifts from side to side, it’s pulling the joint in unnatural ways. This is made worse if you also have weak muscles around the joint. So, you may become injury-prone.
Jumping or running amplifies the weight. So, it’s no wonder you may exhaust more quickly than normal-weight people. You’re doing more work than they are.
That added weight may also discourage you from being as active as you would otherwise. This can start you down a slippery slope. Extra weight presses down on the joints. Knee pain starts. You become less active. It gets worse. And so on.
It doesn’t matter if you’re carrying extra muscle or extra fat. Losing a bit of weight can help your knees.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, every pound of excess weight exerts about 4 pounds of extra pressure on the knees! So losing just 5 pounds could take 20 pounds of pressure off your knees. That’s pretty impressive, right?
Regular physical activity lowers the risk of knee pain, according to a study in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. To stay healthy and prevent knee pain, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight and stay active.
Wear Supportive Shoes that Fit Well
If your feet and ankles are shifting side to side, your knees will adjust to the movement. This wears down cartilage and causes pain. So, think about what your feet want when buying shoes. Supportive footwear maintains proper leg alignment and balance. It reduces strain on your knees.
Avoid Prolonged Sitting or Standing
Do you sit and stand for long periods throughout the day? You likely notice your knees feel stiff after a while.
When the knees aren’t moving for a time, they lose lubrication. The surrounding tissues tighten. Now what happens when you transition from an extended period of no activity to intense movement?
That lack of lubrication coupled with tightened tissues increases discomfort. It also causes joint damage.
A better strategy for sitting or standing in one place for a long time is to change your position several times an hour. Tools like a footstool, balance board, or massaging mat can help. Try walking in place or tapping your foot for a period.
Maintain Good Posture
Good posture goes a long way toward keeping those pesky knee pains away!
Avoid letting yourself settle into slumping positions, Whether sitting, standing, or running. These “lazy” body positions don’t engage muscles, making them weak.
Weak soft tissues make hard structures like your spine, or pelvic bones misaligned. Knee pain occurs because they must compensate.
Get Knee Pain Relief with Effective Knee Pain Treatment
Many home remedies can effectively reduce your knee pain. But to get the right treatment, you need to know what’s causing the pain and know when home remedies don’t work.
We invite you to find out what’s causing your knee pain. To get your comprehensive knee pain evaluation and first Knee on Trac treatment, schedule an initial consultation.
Download our Knee on Trac Brochure.
Frequently Asked Questions About Knee Pain Treatment
What are the most common causes of knee pain?
Injuries cause ligament tears or cartilage damage from sports or accidents. Osteoarthritis causes cartilage breakdown. Overuse can lead to Meniscus tears, tendinitis or bursitis.
How many types of knee pain?
Many, all with different causes.
- Sharp and stabbing. This means there may be an injury like a tear.
- Dull and Aching. This is usually from arthritis or overuse. Bone-on-bone contact in arthritis causes a grinding sensation.
- Swelling and stiffness can occur from injuries or joint inflammation.
- Instability and Giving Way may be due to ligament damage.
When should I see a doctor about knee pain?
You should see a doctor if the pain is severe or persists for more than a few weeks despite self-care. If it worsens over time or you have swelling, redness, or warmth in the joint, it’s time to check it out.
If knee pain prevents you from doing your normal activities, causes instability, or you have clicking or giving way of the knee, don’t delay scheduling an appointment. Sudden onset of severe pain after an injury also requires prompt medical evaluation.
What tests will the doctor do to diagnose knee pain?
Common tests to diagnose knee pain include a physical exam where the doctor checks for swelling, range of motion, ligament stability and meniscus function. Imaging like X-rays can check for arthritis or fractures. MRIs can see soft tissues like cartilage, ligaments and tendons. Finally, an arthroscopy uses a tiny camera through a small incision to look inside the joint. Lab tests can confirm infections and measure inflammatory markers for arthritis.
Which treatment is best for knee pain?
The treatment for knee problems depends on the cause. Home remedies include rest, ice, compression, and anti-inflammatories. Other non-invasive treatments include physical therapy, injections, and braces. If pain or knee damage is severe, you may need surgery for tears or loose bodies. In extreme cases, knee replacement for severe arthritis. Avoid reaching this stage through lifestyle changes. Weight loss, low-impact activities, and diet can all directly impact knee health.
What is the best knee pain relief at home?
Common home remedies include RICE therapy. That stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Knee braces, a knee pain relief sleeve, or tape for support are temporary solutions. They can cause weakened muscles with everyday use.
Over-the-counter pain relievers can reduce inflammation and pain for a short time. This gives you a window to exercise or receive knee pain therapy like Knee on Trac to strengthen knee muscles and promote healing.
Knee pain topical medication creams containing menthol or capsaicin have a burning sensation. They work by distracting the brain.
Knee wraps, low-impact exercises like swimming or biking, knee pads, and losing weight if overweight are also effective. Invest in good footwear. A doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor who knows about your knee pain cause can suggest the safest exercises for it.
When is surgery recommended for knee pain?
Surgery is usually recommended if non-surgical treatments like physical therapy, knee pain treatment injections and braces have failed. For surgery to work there must be a clear mechanical problem like a torn meniscus or ligament. Or x-rays/MRI show significant arthritis damage. Some common knee surgeries include arthroscopy for tears, loose bodies or debris removal, meniscus repair or removal, ligament reconstruction, and total knee replacement for end-stage arthritis.
What are some exercises for knee pain?
To help with knee pain, try gentle exercises like swimming, water aerobics, or stationary cycling. You can also try knee-friendly yoga, walking in a pool or on soft surfaces, or leg lifts without weights. Physical therapy exercises that focus on range of motion, strengthening, and proprioception can also be helpful. Avoid high-impact activities like running that may aggravate knee problems.
Will knee pain go away?
Knee pain can go away through knee pain treatment at home. Strategies like low-impact exercise, diet improvement, and weight loss can help. But it’s important to realize some knee injuries require medical attention. If you experienced a known injury or if the pain is severe, accompanied by heat, or doesn’t resolve in a few weeks with home remedies, you should get it checked out.
What is the recovery time after knee surgery?
The time it takes to recover depends on the surgery. For arthroscopy, it’s usually 2-6 weeks. Meniscus repair takes 6-12 weeks. Ligament reconstruction takes 6-9 months. Total knee replacement takes 4-6 months. Physical therapy is vital after all surgeries to regain motion, strength and function. After minor procedures, most people can go back to their daily activities within a few weeks. However, returning to sports may take longer.
How can I prevent knee pain from getting worse?
Lose weight if you’re overweight. This works wonders. Start or maintain a low-impact exercise routine, including stretches and strength. Wear proper shoes and use braces during more intense activities. But don’t wear them all the time. This has a worsening effect. If you’re injured, get treatment.
Avoid high-impact activities if possible. Manage arthritis with medications and lifestyle. See a doctor for an early evaluation to identify and address the underlying cause.
To get your comprehensive knee pain evaluation and first Knee on Trac treatment, schedule an initial consultation.