How To Fix Knee Pain
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 51,427 times.
Knee pain is a common complaint among Americans and affects all ages, but often for different reasons. In younger people, knee pain is usually the result of an injury, such as a sprained ligament, tendinitis or torn cartilage. In older people, medical conditions such arthritis, gout and infections are more common causes of knee pain.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source Most types of knee pain can be managed at home with self-care treatments however, in some cases, medical intervention is needed, including surgical repair.
Symptoms Of Knee Pain
Knee pain usually manifests in the following ways:
- The onset of pain can be sudden or gradual, beginning with a mild discomfort and worsening over time.
- The pain tends to exacerbate while bending or straightening the knee, putting weight on it, walking, climbing, and even resting or sleeping.
Knee pain may be accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Inability to straighten or bend the leg completely
- Locking of the knee joint
How To Relieve Knee Pain Naturally
Knee pain is a very common symptom in many people, it may be the caused by bad posture, a sports injury or conditions and more serious illnesses such as tendonitis, arthritis or osteoarthritis, among others. Because knees withstand all kinds of movements and body weight it is one of the joints that suffers the most, which gets worse with age due to suffering major wear and tear. In addition to medical treatments that must be strictly followed to solve the problems that affect our knees, we can also use certain safe methods that will help us relieve knee pain naturally. We show you the most effective in this OneHowTo article.
A very popular and effective method to relieve knee pain naturally is to apply cold to the joint, especially when it is inflamed because of a blow or tendonitis. To do this, you can use ice packs and even cold compresses, but never apply ice directly to the skin. It is important to use a towel or cloth to cover it and keep in direct contact with skin.
Also, patients suffering from chronic knee pain without inflammation find relief by applying heat. Use hot water, hot packs and even a heating pad if this is the case.
Coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that are effective in alleviating joint pain. Heat ½ cup of coconut oil until warm and gently massage the knee.
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Puts Less Stress On Your Joints
When the elliptical hit the cardio machine scene back in the 1990s, runners with achy joints and overuse injuries rejoiced at the thought of being able to train their cardiovascular system while relieving some of the pressure on their joints.
Your knees, ankles, hips, and other joints can take a beating when running or doing other high impact cardio exercises. Since your feet never lift off of the pedals with an elliptical, this machine offers a low impact cardio workout.
A 2014 study showed that an elliptical workout is significantly less weight-bearing than other cardio exercises like running, jogging, and similar workouts .
In other words, with an elliptical, you can continue training without the wear and tear that comes with high impact exercise.
Kneecap Pain: Runners Knee
If you have soreness around the front of your knee or possibly behind the kneecap, you may have runners knee, also known as patella femoral pain syndrome or anterior knee syndrome. Running downhill, squatting, going up or down stairs, or sitting for long periods of time can aggravate the condition.
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Whether You’re Active Or Not Stretching Is Good For The Knees
Stretches that focus on the calf, hamstring and quadriceps muscles take pressure off of the knees and kneecaps. “Many people often say there is no aerobic value in stretching, so they see it as a waste of time,” says Bush-Joseph. “But a well-conditioned, flexible body is less likely to develop overuse problems in the knees.”
Some good stretches to protect the knees include step-ups, hamstring curls and straight-leg lifts. Additionally, stretches that focus on building flexibility in the hips, including a butterfly stretch and a standing hip flexor with a resistance band, can help alleviate knee pain.
People who do not like to stretch before a workout can still protect their knees by slowly ramping up to top speed rather than jumping full speed into their workout.
Use Targeted Exercises To Build Muscle
Moderate exercise is an excellent way to help protect your knee joints. Building up the muscles around your knees helps reduce the stress on your joints. Your outer, middle, and inner thigh muscles and calf muscles help support your knees.
Your local gym may offer senior exercise classes with instructors who have been specially trained to work with men and women over 50. Water aerobics is also a great way to get non-weight bearing exercise. If youd rather work out by yourself, check in with a trainer whos knowledgeable about senior exercise needs.
At your next physical, ask your doctor to check your leg strength. If youre weak, physical therapy can help strengthen your muscles, and the therapist can show you beneficial exercises for your knees.
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Losing Weight Can Improve Knee Pain
“Your weight plays a major role in knee pain,” says Bush-Joseph. “If you walked around all day with a backpack that had a 10-pound weight in it, you would feel how achy your back, hips and knees are at the end of the day. That shows you the impact extra weight can have on your joints.”
With each step people take, two to four times their body weight is transmitted through the knee joint, according to Bush-Joseph. Thus, the more you weigh, the harder the impact is on your knee joint.
However, people who are overweight and have arthritic knee pain can lessen the impact and ultimately, relieve knee pain by losing weight. In fact, people with arthritic knees lose about 20 percent of their pain with every 10 pounds of weight loss.
“If you are 20 pounds overweight and you have arthritic knee pain, almost half of your pain will go away by losing 20 pounds,” says Bush-Joseph. Of course, losing 20 pounds isn’t easy. But, if people are able to lose even 10 pounds and add in some stretching and flexibility training, they’ll experience significantly less pain, according to Bush-Joseph.
Causes Of Knee Sprains
Any activity that forces your knee out of its natural position can cause a sprain.
The ACL is often injured when you play a running or contact sport like soccer, basketball, football, or gymnastics, usually as a result of jumping or twisting suddenly.
It can also occur if you over-straighten your knee to an extreme degree or if you get struck by something in the knee or lower leg.
The PCL can be injured in a car collision when your knee hits the dashboard, or in a sport where the front of your knee is hit while its bent. Falling hard on your knee can also cause a PCL sprain.
You can sprain your LCL if you receive a blow to the inside of your knee. This is less common than the other types of sprains because your other leg protects this area.
An MCL sprain is usually caused by something hitting your leg from the side, or a fall that causes your lower leg to twist outward from your thigh.
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Bad Habits That May Be Contributing To Your Knee Pain
You can develop knee pain at any age for a variety of reasons. While its common to experience acute injuries like tears and broken bones, you can also end up with knee pain because of medical conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis and infections. Your knees also take a beating daily, leading to overuse and degenerative issues, like osteoarthritis.
While you cant always prevent knee pain from developing, several things can put additional stress on these joints and trigger your symptoms. Dr. Christopher R. Boone in Bellevue, Washington, recommends ditching these bad habits to protect your knees and reduce your chances of pain.
Long Term Consequences Of Knee Injuries
The importance of these 7 top strategies cannot be emphasized enough. Without these strategies, you could be at risk of:
Whatever health goal you may have, it is crucial to make sure your body is healthy and functioning properly to be able to handle the demands of increased activity. If you are starting any exercise program, always consult with a qualified health professional first. A physiotherapist can help you identify any issues on your knees that may need addressing.
About Westwood Healths Physiotherapist
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What Other Symptoms Accompany This Pain
When a meniscus tear occurs, in addition to pain, youll experience other symptoms. For example, leg movements will likely be limited. Itll be especially difficult to stretch or bend your leg.
In fact, when theres a tear, you might hear slight clicking sounds when you move the joint. Also, in some cases, meniscus pain is accompanied by your knee suddenly giving out. When this happens, its as if you cant hold yourself up and your knee will automatically bend.
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How To Reduce Knee Pain
One major cause of knee pain can be more weight of a person. Walking can really help reduce the knee pain as
Some warning signals that you should stop walking:
- Increase in swelling
- Severe pain that you cant stand on one leg
- Feeling unstable
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Know When To See Your Doctor
While many conditions that cause knee pain can be helped by exercise, in some instances it may not be appropriate, says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. You should stop exercising and see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
Targets Specific Leg Muscles
You can change both the resistance and incline of the foot pedals on an elliptical. By doing this, you can target different muscles in your lower body, including your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
Plus, since the foot pedals also move in reverse, you can change the direction of your stride and focus more on your hamstrings and glutes.
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Getting Back To Running
The injury prevention pyramid.
You can see in the pic above that training load is the biggest factor in sports injuries. Given most running injuries are overuse injuries reducing the training volume is the place to start when looking to reduce knee pain when running.
After this, you need to identify if there are any notable strength deficits and address these.
After these, it is then about looking at, and improving where needed, running technique.
Carry out some simple assessments
The knee is at the beck and call of the ankle and hip so some quick assessments of both of these joints are going to give you some cues as to the source of the problem.
Ways You Could Be Making Your Knee Pain Worse
People of all ages suffer from knee pain. Whether youre a high school athlete, a longtime runner, or a senior adult, anyone can develop knee pain. Knee pain has the power to keep you from enjoying the activities you love and it can significantly impact your quality of life. Arthritis, injury, cartilage damage, and more can quickly put you on the sidelines.
The team at Coastal Empire Orthopedics, led by Jonathan Shults, MD, is equipped with compassionate staff and top technology to diagnose and treat your knee pain. Knee pain can be caused by injury, osteoarthritis, and more. Were here to help you learn more about your knee pain and what you can do to improve it. While treatment is unique to you, there are some things you might be doing that make your knee pain worse.
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Balance Training For Hiking
Since were not hiking on paved and even trails, you also need to work on balance training. If you train your body to handle the stresses of hiking in a controlled setting like at the gym or at home, youre going to be so much more prepared for hiking when you get out there.
Balance training does fall under strength training, and some of the exercises will overlap, but you dont only want to focus on balance exercises because then youre not going to be optimizing your strength training to the fullest. With balance exercises youre going to be mainly focusing on not falling over.
Maintains Fitness After Injury
If youre nursing an injury and cant participate in your regular physical activities, working out on an elliptical can be a great way to build or maintain your fitness.
Since its a low impact exercise, the elliptical puts less stress on your joints than high impact workouts like running, jogging, or jumping.
Working out on an elliptical after an injury may help you regain full range of motion. It can also help strengthen your muscles and joints while taking the stress off of the injured area.
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Tips To Protect Your Knees As You Age
Your knees bear a lot of weight as well as a large responsibility for your ability to effectively get around. They also contain a lot of moving parts, from ligaments and cartilage to muscles and bones, that can become damaged either from injury or the natural wear and tear of age, making it difficult to stay active and enjoy everything life has to offer.
Fortunately, Dr. Struan Coleman is an expert in preventive joint care and offers the following tips to help you protect your knee joints as you age:
When Should I See A Pain Management Specialist
You should consult with a pain management specialist if your acute knee pain seems to be transitioning into chronic pain. Generally, this is when the pain lasts longer than 90 days, but it could be sooner. Pain that lasts longer than expected for the condition you have is a warning sign that the pain is becoming chronic.
Pain management specialists can provide diagnosis and treatment on their own or in consultation with other health care providers. These may include your primary care physician, orthopedist, rheumatologist, or physical therapist.
Orthopedists treat problems related to bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Rheumatologists specialize in the nonsurgical treatment of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. Physical therapists use exercises and stretches, movement training, medical massage, and other hands-on techniques to help patients increase mobility, ease pain, and protect against further injury.
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Think Twice About These Treatments
Our experts say that some people may find relief with the following therapies but that this may be because of a placebo effect:
Injections. While injections of corticosteroids may ease inflammation and pain, relief is short-lived, and the therapy can cause side effects, such as bone thinning, tendon weakening, and nerve damage. The May 2018 Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons study mentioned above reported that injections of hyaluronic acid, which is also sometimes used for knee OA, dont have a significant positive effect on pain and function.
Bracing. A 2015 Cochrane review on bracing found that wearing a brace, such as a valgus knee brace, neutral brace, or neoprene sleeve, may have little or no effect on pain reduction, knee function, or quality of life. And because a knee brace must exert enough force on the knee to change your gait, its pretty uncomfortable, says David S. Jevsevar, M.D., chair of the department of orthopedics at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.
Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements. Theres little evidence that these help knee OA, according to the AAOS guidelines. In addition, supplements arent regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in the same way that medications are, and you cant be sure that whats on the label is whats in the bottle.