Knee pain is a very common ailment that can affect people of all ages.
Knee pain can be caused by a sudden traumatic injury or an underlying medical condition like arthritis.
The treatment for your knee pain will vary depending on what’s causing it.
The most common causes of knee pain are pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Several types of minor knee pain respond very well, but some knees may require surgical repair.
If you’re suffering from knee pain, it can be very confusing deciding what to do next.
In the article below, we’ll take a closer look at knee pain and what you should do to get it taken care of.
The Common Symptoms and Causes of Knee Pain
The location and severity of your knee pain will vary depending on what is causing it.
A few common signs and symptoms that accompany knee pain include:
- Stiffness and swelling
- Warmth to the touch
- Popping or crunching noises
- Inability to fully straighten the knee
- Limited range of motion
Several things can cause your knee pain.
The most common causes of knee pain are traumatic injuries, mechanical problems, and underlying conditions like some types of arthritis.
Knee injuries can affect any of your ligaments, tendons, or fluid-filled sacs known as bursae that act as shock absorbers that surround your knee joint.
It can also affect your bones, cartilage, and ligaments that form the joint itself.
Common knee injuries include:
- ACL injuries: An ACL injury is a tear of your anterior cruciate ligament, also known as your ACL. Your ACL is one of four ligaments connecting your shinbone to your thigh bone. ACL injuries are particularly common in people who play sports like basketball, soccer, and other sports requiring sudden changes in direction.
- Fractures: Just like the other bones in your body, your knee bones, including the kneecap, can be broken during traumatic events like falls or auto accidents. And if your bones have been weakened by something like osteoporosis, you can sometimes sustain a knee fracture simply by taking a misstep.
Examples of mechanical problems that could be causing your knee pain include:
- Dislocated kneecap: Dislocated kneecaps occur when your patella slips out of place, usually to the outside of your knee. Sometimes a kneecap may stay displaced, and you’ll be able to see the dislocation.
- Hip or foot pain. If you’ve been dealing with pain in your foot or hip, you might change the way you walk to ease your pain. Your altered gait could place more stress on your knee joint and cause knee pain.
There are also more than 100 different types of arthritis that exist. The varieties of arthritis most likely to cause knee pain are:
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis, sometimes called degenerative arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is due to the wear and tear of your joints that occurs when the cartilage in your knee deteriorates with use and age.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is the most debilitating form of arthritis. It’s an autoimmune condition that can affect almost any joint in your body, including your knees. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease but it can vary in severity, and symptoms may even come and go.
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Risk Factors For Knee Pain
Several things can increase your risk of knee pain.
The first is your biomechanics.
Your knee joint is an intricate joint that’s used frequently throughout the day.
If there are any changes in the joint movement, like leg-length difference, a change in your walking style due to things like back problems, it can cause subtle changes in the joint and cause pain and injuries.
Excess body weight is also a major contributor to knee pain.
The stress on your knee joint is increased with excess weight.
Obesity also increases your risk of developing knee osteoarthritis because the cartilage will break down more rapidly.
Overuse or repetitive motions like the ones found during certain exercises like jogging and skiing or work conditions can also cause the breakdown of cartilage and lead to severe pain.
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Where To Start With Knee Pain
Many people think that they have to stop all of their daily activities and rest when they have knee pain.
However, physical activity and exercise can delay the development of osteoarthritis, which as we just found out, is one of the more common causes of knee pain.
People need to exercise to manage their knee pain and OA of the knee.
Things like walking, cycling, swimming, tai chi, and yoga can all be beneficial for knee pain or a knee injury.
Staying physically active will boost the health of your cartilage tissue if you have knee pain or not.
Exercise will also strengthen the way your body supports your joints.
Strengthening your leg muscles is especially beneficial for your knees.
If you’re dealing with joint pain you can benefit from activities such as water aerobics, as this puts little strain on the knees.
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It’s in your best interest to work with a doctor or physical therapist to identify the best leg and knee exercises that fit your needs.
Resting your knee and limiting movement may help you avoid pain initially, but it will also stiffen the joint and stall your overall recovery.
If you have OA, a sedentary lifestyle may speed up the rate of damage to the knee joint.
When you strengthen your quadriceps muscles through exercise, it will help protect your knee joint.
A few low-impact activities you can try out are:
- swimming or water exercise
Ask your doctor or a physical therapist to help you design a program that’s suitable for you, especially if you’re dealing with severe knee pain.
You can adapt the program as your symptoms change.
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Weight Loss and Management
Being overweight or obese will put additional weight and pressure on your knee joints.
An additional 10 pounds of body weight can add between 15 and 50 pounds of pressure to your knee joint.
There’s also a link between obesity and inflammation.
People with a high body mass index have a greater chance of developing OA of the hand than those with a low BMI.
If your knee pain is due to a long-term health problem, weight management might help relieve symptoms by reducing the pressure on them.
If you have knee pain and a high BMI, your doctor will help you set a target weight and devise a plan to help you reach your goal.
This plan will likely include changes to your diet and exercise.
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Heat and Cold Therapy
Hot and cold therapies are effective treatments for knee pain and joint pain resulting from arthritis.
Heat can relax muscles and improve joint lubrication which will lead to a reduction in stiffness.
Ice can reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Some people use heat first thing in the morning to reduce the swelling that may occur later in the day.
Here are some tips for applying heat and cold therapy:
- Alternate between using cold and heat.
- Only apply heat for up to 20 minutes at a time.
- If your knee pain is due to an injury, for the first 2 days after the injury, apply cold pads for 20 minutes, four to eight times a day.
- You can use a gel pack or other cold packs more frequently during the first 24 hours after the injury.
- Wrap your ice in a towel and never apply it directly to the skin.
- Make sure your heat pad isn’t too hot before applying.
- A warm shower or bath in the morning may ease stiff joints.
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Find Knee Pain Treatment Near You
There are a few places you can start if you’re dealing with pain in your knee.
If you’re experiencing knee pain that won’t go away or that continues to get worse, you need to see a doctor right away that can provide relief from knee pain.
During an initial appointment, your doctor will ask about your symptoms, conduct a physical exam, and order imaging tests like x-rays or MRIs if necessary.
Once they can make an accurate diagnosis, they will discuss the treatment options with you.
Quick treatment can prevent short-term knee issues from becoming long-term, chronic pain.
If you’re suffering from chronic knee pain, the Ethos Health Group is here to help.
Ethos Health Group has developed a proprietary HyalRegen-CT method as a comprehensive solution for those suffering from knee arthritis and pain.
Lubricating injections are performed under precision imaging guidance, so the affected areas are precisely targeted.
This advanced medical process adds cushioning fluid back into your knee, similar to adding oil to a squeaky hinge.
These injections are FDA cleared and can help your knees stimulate more of their natural fluid, giving you long-term benefits and relief.
If you would like to learn more about what the Ethos Health Group can do for your knee pain, click the button below to schedule a free consultation.