A Woman’s Aching Knees
The knee is formed by the femur , the tibia and the patella . It is essentially a hinge joint that is held in place by the medial collateral , lateral collateral , anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments .
Most of us have heard that women athletes are more prone to suffering from a traumatic knee injury. But what most people don’t know is that you don’t have to be a weekend warrior to end up with a serious knee problem. Each year, roughly 10 million women see their doctors for knee pain, often caused by activities that are not related to sports, such as lifting boxes, going up a flight of stairs or squatting too much while gardening.
Why are women winding up with more knee injuries? Researchers suspect one of the most likely causes is the way women are built. Women tend to have wider hips and are slightly knock-kneed and this alignment can create added stress on the joints. Another cause could be traced to a woman’s muscles. More often, women tend to use their leg muscles differently than men.
Here are some common knee problems women encounter and tips from UCSF orthopedic surgeons and knee specialists on how to prevent them:
What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Knee Pain
A health care professional will begin by asking questions related to the person’s general health and then specifically to the nature of the knee pain .
Next, an examination of the knee will be performed. This will include bending the knee through the full range of motion, checking for stability of the ligaments, and evaluating for any tenderness and swelling. It is often helpful to compare the results of the examination of the painful knee with the other knee. Frequently, this is all that is required to make a diagnosis and start treatment. In several research studies, it has been found that an experienced examiner is as reliable as X-ray examination.
Sometimes the doctor might want to do further studies such as the following tests.
Plain X-ray can establish fractures and degenerative changes of the knee.
MRI is used to evaluate the soft tissues of the knee for ligament tears or cartilage and muscle injuries.
If gout, arthritis, or other medical conditions are suspected, a health care professional might order blood tests.
Removal of joint fluid
You Deserve To Train Without Knee Pain
Stretching your quads, adding in a few sets of hamstring curls, and touching up your calf or ankle mobilityÃ¢these are minor things that only take minutes out of your week. But if youâve been suffering from knee pain, they might be the best spent minutes of your week. Just like getting your upper-body training ratios in order can transform your shoulder health, just a little consistent work here will compound over time.
To see how these knee-friendly training principles translate into a full lower-body workout, or to learn other principles of pain-free training for the knee, back, and shoulder, check out .
Also Check: Dcf Compression Knee Sleeve
Ditch The Heelsand The Flats
High heels arent good for your knees, theyre not good for your feet. The lower the heel, the better, says Dr. White, who recommends footwear with heels no higher than two inches. Also bad for knees: Shoes with no arch support, like loafers and ballet flats. If you love the ease of either, get over-the-counter inserts that can provide a bit more support. And if you walk a lot, splurge on a good pair of kicks that can really cushion your steps. Then slip on those heels or loafers once you get to your destination, says White.
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.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 96% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 48,833 times.
Also Check: Lighten Knees Overnight
Brief Anatomy Of The Knee
The knee is a vulnerable joint that bears a great deal of stress from everyday activities, such as lifting and kneeling, and from high-impact activities, such as jogging and aerobics.
The knee is formed by the following parts:
Tibia. This is the shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg.
Femur. This is the thighbone or upper leg bone.
Patella. This is the kneecap.
Each bone end is covered with a layer of cartilage that absorbs shock and protects the knee. Basically, the knee is 2 long leg bones held together by muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
There are 2 groups of muscles involved in the knee, including the quadriceps muscles , which straighten the legs, and the hamstring muscles , which bend the leg at the knee.
Tendons are tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Ligaments are elastic bands of tissue that connect bone to bone. Some ligaments on the knee provide stability and protection of the joints, while other ligaments limit forward and backward movement of the tibia .
Treatment And Exercise For Knock Knees
- Take vitamin D and calcium supplements, vitamin C supplements.
- Virasana, or hero pose, is effective in treating flat feet and knock knees.
- Keep a block between thighs and try to move your legs as close as you can, hold it for 3 mins, keep repeating.
- In a standing position, bring the legs 4 feet apart and stretch the arms out to the side. Turn the right toes to the right and deeply bend the right knee. Activate the arches and keep the right knee touching the wall. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
- For more on knock-knees treatment do refer: livestrong.com
Also Check: Can Knee Cartilage Be Rebuilt
When To Contact A Medical Professional
- You cannot bear weight on your knee.
- You have severe pain, even when not bearing weight.
- Your knee buckles, clicks, or locks.
- Your knee is deformed or misshapen.
- You cannot flex your knee or have trouble straightening it all the way out.
- You have a fever, redness or warmth around the knee, or a lot of swelling.
- You have pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or bluish discoloration in the calf below the sore knee.
- You still have pain after 3 days of home treatment.
What Conditions Can Exercise Help
Knee exercises and stretches can help relieve knee pain caused by many conditions, including these three that commonly affect older women:
Patellofemoral pain. This condition typically causes a dull, aching pain in the front of the knee thats made worse by daily activities, such as squatting, going up or down stairs, or standing up after sitting for a long period of time. The pain is caused by irritation of the cartilage underneath the kneecap when it does not glide or sit properly. Exercise can help to eliminate problems that lead to this irritation. Stretches can loosen tight muscles on the side of the knee that may be pulling the kneecap out of its groove as it moves. Strengthening weak hip muscles or stretching tight muscles in the front or back of the legs can also reduce discomfort.
Chronic degenerative meniscal tears. When one or both pads of cartilage that cushion each of your knee joints deteriorates or tears, you may feel pain and a sticking or locking sensation. While surgery is sometimes necessary, doctors usually first recommend physical therapy to help build up the muscles around the knee to take the pressure off the joint and reduce discomfort.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Cellulite Above My Knees
What Is Runners Knee
Athletes and runners are particularly prone to knee injuries.
Symptoms of runners knee include:
- Pain behind or around the kneecap
- Pain when you bend your knee
- Pain that is worse when you are walking downhill or downstairs
- Popping or grinding in the knee
Treat by resting the knee and taking anti-inflammatory medications
Excessive External Tibial Rotation
Now, this one is a little more rare. A too outwardly rotated tibia will cause faulty tracking of the patella in the patellar groove, causing it to grind into the lateral aspect of the condyle. This condition is often referred to as chondromalacia patella.
Once again, as seen in the illustration below, we use the center of the patella and tibial tuberosity as landmarks for measurement. If the tibial tuberosity is vertically in line with the lateral edge of the patella, or further than that, this is a positive indication for excessive lateral tibial rotation.
This condition is often caused by a combination of flat feet, and/or weakness of the hip flexors or gluteal complex, causing tibial external rotation or femoral internal rotation to excessive degree. To correct it, its a good and simple start to train the muscles that oppose the dysfunction:
- Psoas External femoral rotation
- Tibialis posterior Internal tibial rotation
- Popliteus Internal tibial rotation
Once again, measure the rehabs progress by using the landmarks of the knee. Youll want the tibial tuberosity in line with the 3:4th lateral aspect of the patella .
Read Also: Can I Regrow Cartilage In My Knee
Strengthen And Stabilize The Back Side Of The Leg
New-found mobility must be hardwired into your body’s movement circuitry, and nothing does it like good-old strength training.
To rebuild painful and achy knees, we must place an emphasis on strengthening the posterior chain of the body, and in particular, the glutes, hamstrings, calves, and even the lower back. While there are many exercises and methods that target these tissues, the goal should always be to maximize muscular training while minimizing unwanted joint stress.
Exercises like calf raises, hip thrusts, glute bridges, and back extensions, all of which focus on one key muscle group working at a time, can be great for training around knee pain. Just ensure that you create a strong mind-muscle connection to keep quality up, and make every rep count.
However, because the hamstrings cross both the knee and hip joints, a little extra care for this area is essential. Seated or lying machine curls can do the trick for adding more training volume into the back side of the body, but for alleviating knee pain and bringing up dysfunctional movement patterns, I prefer to program exercises that target the hips moving into extension while the knees flex. Three of my go-to moves, in order of difficulty, are:
- Exercise ball hamstring curls
- Hamstring curls on heel slides
- Glute-ham raises
The End To Chronic Achy Knees
Expectation needs to be considered when going through some of these guidelines. The length of time your symptoms have been going on, can determine how long it might take your symptoms to subside. If youre thinking that these are going to solve all your problems after youve been experiencing knee pain for months or years, then you will likely be disappointed. Understand that getting long standing pain under control, and to where you build back up tolerance to the stresses of high level training or athletics, can take time.
In the end, knee pain doesnt have to be overly complicated. Again the goal wasnt to provide you with a specific plan to address a certain knee condition. It was more to give you a guide to refer to so that youre exhausting all of your options before making any long term decisions about your knee. Addressing what the low hanging fruit is to help get your knee discomfort under control is the best place to start. Always consult with a healthcare professional who understands the rigors of athletics and training, as theyll be able to problem solve exactly what the source of the issue is for you, and then reverse engineer a plan of action to get you back on track.
Also Check: Is Nano Knee Covered By Medicare
Focus Your Efforts Elsewhere
Just because you are experiencing knee pain doesnt necessarily mean that the knee itself is the source of the discomfort. When assessing knee pain, looking at how the foot/ankle moves, is a great place to start.
Failure for the ankle to move throughout its full range of motion can lead to compensatory movements, which normally ends up finds itself occuring at the knee. Attempting to perform compound movements in the gym, jumping, sprinting, or even simple things such as going down stairs, all require adequate ankle mobility, especially into dorsiflexion range of motion. Address and clean up your ankle mobility with these drills below:
#1 Half Kneeling 3-Way Ankle Mobilization
The 3-Way Ankle Mobilization is a great drill for addressing joint mobility restrictions that restrict the ankles ability to meaningfully move into dorsiflexion. But remember, we must first figure out what type of ankle mobility restriction we have. Heres a great article from our colleague and fellow DrJohnRusin.com expert Andrew Millett: 10 Exercises To Instantly Improve Ankle Mobility
#2 Push-Up Position Dorsiflexion Rockbacks
The foot/ankle is the first thing that makes contact with the ground, so it is really important for its ability to absorb force. Failure for the foot/ankle to absorb force efficiently can put excess stress on the knee joint over time which can cause some irritation. Improve your ankle mobility and your knee will thank you in the long run.
#3 Glute Bridge Variations
What Are Risk Factors For Knee Pain
Biomechanics: The knee joint is complicated in its operation and is used frequently throughout the day. Any change in the movement of the joint can cause subtle changes and cause pain and injuries.
Excess weight: The on the knee joint is increased with excess weight. Obesity also increases the risk of knee osteoarthritis as the cartilage breaks down more rapidly.
Overuse during repetitive motions as are found during certain exercises or work conditions can cause breakdown of cartilage and lead to pain.
Read Also: What Rebuilds Cartilage
What To Expect From Physical Therapy For Knee Pain
If you are referred to physical therapy for knee pain, the initial visit is important to ensure correct diagnosis and proper management. During this visit, your physical therapist will interview you to gather information about the history of your problem, about the aggravating and relieving factors, and about any past medical history that may contribute the overall problem. From the information gathered during the history, a focused examination will be conducted. The examination may consist of several sections including, but not limited to:
Resolve Your Knee Pain By Addressing Its Alignment
Chronic knee pain has a high prevalence in westernized societies, where osteoarthritis, ligamentous ruptures and meniscus injuries are on the top of the statistics. Scientists estimate that up to 25% of the adult population struggle with frequent knee pain every 4th adult person youll see on the street!
Could malcompressive, imbalanced forces within the knee, be the real culprit behind chronic knee pain? In our experience yes, absolutelyt! This article will address the most common causes of these injuries, and how to identify and treat the underlying dysfunction.
This is a simplified version of my norwegian articles about knee pain.
Recommended Reading: Why Does My Knee Hurt When It’s Cold
Q What Kind Of Doctor Should I See For My Knee Pain
Simple Home Exercises And Stretches Can Help Ease Some Common Types Of Knee Pain
If youve got sore knees, exercise might seem like the hardest thing you can do but its also one of the best.
“Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for knee pain,” says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.
The right combination of strengthening and stretching exercises can relieve pain by helping to improve the way the joint moves and functions.
“The knee is often an innocent bystander between the hip and the foot. Knee pain is often caused by problems occurring above or below,” says Dr. Elson.
For example, weak hip muscles may cause more strain on the knee, intensifying your pain. Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint can help relieve it, says Dr. Elson.
In addition, knee pain is sometimes caused or aggravated by tight muscles around the knee, a problem that is often successfully addressed by stretching. If the muscles arent flexible, the knee joint sometimes wont move properly, says Dr. Elson.
Read Also: How To Whiten Knees Fast
What’s The Outlook For Teenagers With Pain In Their Knees
Most knee pain in teenagers can be managed with simple treatments. However, many soft-tissue tears and bone breaks require surgery. Most teenagers recover without long-term problems if they follow the recover plan provided by their healthcare providers. Because there are many causes of knee pain, be sure to ask your healthcare provider for specific information on long-term prognosis for your teen’s knee condition.
Urgent Advice: Get Advice From 111 Now If:
- your knee is very painful
- you cannot move your knee or put any weight on it
- your knee is badly swollen or has changed shape
- you have a very high temperature, feel hot and shivery, and have redness or heat around your knee this can be a sign of infection
111 will tell you what to do. They can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone.
Go to or .
You can also go to an urgent treatment centre if you need to see someone now.
Theyâre also called walk-in centres or minor injuries units.
You may be seen quicker than you would at A& E.
You May Like: Inversion Table Knees