What Causes Knee Pain
Knees top the list of common problem areas for pain, along with the legs, neck, and back, according to James Rippe, MD, a cardiologist and joint pain specialist.
Knee pain can be caused by a variety of factors, like a short-term injury from twisting your knee the wrong way during exercise. It could also be a sign of your joint cartilage wearing away over time from high-impact activities, like running on concrete.
Factors like inactivity, carrying too much body weight, poor posture, improperly treated injuries, and insufficient nourishment can all contribute to knee pain, Rippe says.
And if your pain is interfering with daily activities, youre not alone. About one in four Americans now has severe joint pain related to arthritis, according to the CDC. A 2013 study also reported a 162-percent increase in knee replacements over the last 20 years. Messier SP, et al. . Effects of intensive diet and exercise on knee joint loads, inflammation, and clinical outcomes among overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis: The IDEA randomized clinical trial. DOI: 10.1001/jama.2013.277669
Luckily, by taking better care of your knees throughout your life, starting as early as your twenties, you can strengthen them and potentially save yourself from years of daily pain and discomfort.
Prevent Knee Pain From Running 3 Eat Right
When dealing with knee pain, dont overlook the power of diet.
As a runner, youll need the right nutrients and substances to help protect your cells from damage and maintain healthy joints.
For starters, get plenty of calcium.
Most experts recommend 1,100 to 1,300 mg of this mineral each day.
Dairy products and dark green veggies are some of the ideal sources of calcium.
Here is the full guide to calcium foods.
Another nutrient is omega-3 fatty acids.
These fatty acids are natural anti-inflammatories that can help ease joint inflammation before it damages the joints.
The best sources of omega-3s include salmon, herring, tuna, cod, sardines, and mackerel, as well as fish oil supplements.
Furthermore, you might need to supplement.
Many athletes take Chondroitin sulfate and Glucosamine supplements to deal with joint pain since its believed that these encourage cartilage formation and repair.
However, the research is still mixed on the effectiveness of the supplements, so consult a certified physician if it can be helpful to your case.
Most experts recommend a minimum dosage of 1,200 mg of Chondroitin sulfate and 1,500 mg of Glucosamine daily.
Knee Pain And Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a kind of alternative medicine that involves poking the skin or tissues with extremely thin needles to alleviate pain and to treat various physical, mental, and emotional problems.
Some people say acupuncture works because it rebalances the lifeforce of your body, called qi. Others say it works because it stimulates the body to produce more painkilling chemicals. And others dont try to justify why it works.
What do studies show, though?
Well, it depends on where you look for answers.
Its easy to find reviews and meta-analyses that seemtoshow acupuncture works, but its a different story when you look at these studies individually.
Review studies and meta-analyses on acupuncture often play a kind of statistical sleight of hand. The highest quality studies show insignificant effects, but a few low-quality studies show profound effects, so the researchers throw them all together and essentially average out the results, which lets them conclude that acupuncture works.
What makes some studies low-quality, you wonder?
Here are three of the most common scientific sins of acupuncture research:
If you throw out the garbage research and only look at the best studies, you quickly find that acupuncture either doesnt work or slightly reduces pain for a week or two and then stops working. Even then, the results are so small that theyre almost nonexistent in most cases.
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Knee Pain And Prolotherapy
Prolotherapy, or proliferation therapy, involves injecting an irritant into a tendon, muscle, or joint to promote the growth of new tissue.
Typically, either a sugar solution or a purified form of cod liver oil is injected every few weeks for several months. The idea is that by irritating the surrounding tissue, you can encourage the body to heal itself.
Researchers have tested prolotherapy on all kinds of muscle and joint pain, including . . . ;
. . . ;and the best we can really say is that it might help reduce pain for some problems, but most of the time it either doesnt work or the benefits are so small its impossible to tell.
The underlying mechanism for why prolotherapy might work has also never been proven, and studies show that theres no increase in cartilage growth after prolotherapy injections.
The bottom line is that prolotherapy probably doesnt reduce knee pain, and almost certainly isnt worth the cost, inconvenience, and discomfort of having to get repeated injections.
What You Can Do
If you have knee pain, Rippe recommends low-impact activities, like swimming, brisk walking, or cycling. You can also consider taking supplements that provide glucosamine and chondroitin to strengthen and lubricate knees.
On the flip side, too much movement can be hard on your joints. So if youre one of those people who just cant quit their HIIT habit or long-distance runs, there are some simple moves and stretches you can try that will help alleviate pain.
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Causes And Symptoms Of Knee Pain
The knee joint plays an instrumental role in weight-bearing, as well as all of our lower body movements. Although the knee joint is resilient, there are factors that can lead to damage and long-term wear and tear. Some of these factors include:
- Knee bruising or trauma, including sporting;injuries;and accidents.
- Patients with arthritis have;joint degradation and inflammation,;which can lead to severe knee joint pain and discomfort.
- Autoimmune diseases and metabolic disorders;have been known to have an association with the development of joint pain.
- Overstretching the knee:;Practicing poor proprioception can lead to stretching the knee beyond its natural range of motion, which can damage the knee joint. For example, abrupt and uncontrolled rotation of the knee joint during exercise may damage the meniscus.
- Long term chronic degeneration;can lead to arthrosis of the knee joint itself.;
Knee Pain And Glucosamine Chondroitin
Glucosamine and chondroitin are structural components of collagen, the main protein that forms cartilage.
Both compounds are produced naturally by the body, but theyre also sold together as the supplement glucosamine-chondroitin. The idea is that by providing the body with more of these two chemicals, you can improve joint health.
It hasnt panned out that way, though.
This was proven in a massive double-blind, randomized controlled trial on 1,583 people with knee pain that was in the New England Journal of Medicine. The researchers gave some people glucosamine, some chondroitin, some both glucosamine and chondroitin, some NSAIDs, and the final group a placebo.
After two years, there was no difference in knee pain between the group that took glucosamine chondroitin and the people who took the placebo.
Additionally, studies haverepeatedlyshown that glucosamine chondroitin isnt effective for reducing joint pain or improving cartilage health.
Theres no evidence that joint pain is caused by a lack of glucosamine and chondroitin, so it doesnt make sense that supplementing with these compounds would reduce joint pain.
It flat out doesnt work.
The bottom line is that glucosamine chondroitin supplements have never been proven to reduce or prevent knee pain.
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Knee Pain And Problems
Knee pain is a common complaint among adults and most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities like walking, bending, standing and lifting. Athletes who run or play sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting are also more likely to experience knee pain and problems. But whether an individuals knee pain is caused by aging or injury, it can be a nuisance and even debilitating in some circumstances.
Side Steps With Resistance Band
The outer quad muscle tends to be weaker than the muscle that runs along the top of your thigh, which leads to the kind of imbalance that causes your kneecap to pull out of line. The solution? Strengthen that outer muscle, says Butts.
How to do it:
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How And When To Wear A Compression For Knee Pain
Sometimes, it can feel as though a workout recovery routine takes as much energy as your workouts themselves.;
That’s not to negate the importance of recovery, particularly if you’re prone to injury. But between foam rolling, stretching, mobility work, and a dip in an ice bath, an all-encompassing recovery process can easily take 30 minutes to an hour of your time.;
Here’s the good news: If you’re short on time, you don’t need to cut recovery out of your fitness routine . Instead, you simply need to find techniques that work best for your schedule. One recovery technique that doesnt take time out of your day is joint compression for knee pain.
If you suffered knee injuries in the past, wearing a compression sleeve can help prevent injuries and provide joint pain relief. Below, I’ll explain the science of joint compression, different types of knee sleeves, and why knee support is essential to injury prevention.;
Please note: This post is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Before purchasing a knee sleeve or brace, please consult your physical therapist about the best options for you.
When Should I See A Doctor For Knee Pain At Night
In the days after knee replacement surgery or another type of injury, it is normal to expect a little pain at night. A few nights of lost sleep are not anything to worry about.
However, there are times when you should see a doctor for knee pain at night. Schedule a regular appointment if you experience the following symptoms:
- Unusual or significant swelling
There are also symptoms that warrant emergency treatment for knee pain. These include:
- Deformed appearance of the joint
- Pain that makes weight-bearing impossible
- Injury that causes your knee to make a popping sound
- Swelling that occurs suddenly
If your knee pain at night consistently interferes with sleep it could make pain during the day worse, too. When it comes to knee replacement surgery, poor sleep can also slow healing times. If pain is steady for three or four days, or intermittent for a week or two, best to schedule a follow-up with your doctor.
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Knee Pain And Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation involves using a device to send an electric current through the skin to stimulate nerves and reduce pain.
Sending an electric current through the skin can cause some odd sensations and muscle contractions that could drown out pain, and it may be able to suppress pain signals in the brain, but that doesnt necessarily fix the underlying problem.
One review study on TENS found that it helps about half the time and doesnt help the other half. Other studies are even less positive, and show it probably just doesntwork for joint pain .
The bottom line is that TENS might help reduce some kinds of pain, but it probably wont work for knee pain.
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.
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Secret #: Home Remedies
Before MRIs and over-the-counter pain relievers, people relied on a variety of home remedies for sciatica pain. While these wont fix the problem causing the pain, they can provide temporary relief. Some of the more successful home remedies include:
- Alternating hot and cold compresses to the lower back
- Massaging a mixture of ginger essential oil to equal part of coconut or olive oil into the lower back.
- Drink two or three cups of valerian or chamomile tea to stop muscle spasms.
- Soaking in a bath with apple cider vinegar and Epsom salts.
- Rub a cream containing at least 0.025% capsaicin on the affected area.
- Try a tincture called Harshiangar, which contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds. This remedy comes to us from Ayurvedic medicine and can be found in many Indian specialty stores.
Herbal, natural anti-inflammatories are also recommended home remedies for sciatica pain. You can find more information on these in secret #7.
Knee Pain And Foam Rolling
Foam rolling is a kind of self massage that involves using a foam tube to rub and compress muscles.
Depending on who you ask, one of the main arguments for foam rolling is the idea that pain is caused by trigger pointspatches of connective tissue called fascia that get become overstimulated, tight, and painful. Fascia is a web of connective tissue beneath the skin that attaches, protects, and separates muscles and other internal organs.
In theory, kneading these trigger points with a foam roller, tennis ball, or a stick helps release these tight patches of fascia, thus reducing pain.
There are several parts of this theory that dont add up, though:
Foam rolling aficionados also generally say that you should target the iliotibial band, but, as you now know, tight iliotibial bands arent what causes knee pain.
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The Best Gluteus Medius Strengthening Exercises
Now as for the best exercises to strengthen the gluteus medius, two recent large systematicreviews have compared the activation of the gluteus medius during a variety of different exercises.These studies will serve as our primary resource for optimal exercise selection of the glute medius.However, rather than simply performing the highest activating exercises right away, its best in your case to:
Gradually strengthen the gluteus medius by progressing from lower to higher demanding exercises.
which is exactly what were going to do.
Exercise 1: Side Lying Hip Abductions
One low demanding yet suitable non-weight bearing exercise to start out with is something called side lying hip abductions.Research shows are effective at targeting the gluteus medius while minimizing unwanted activity from stronger muscle groups like the hip flexors. Simply meaning that theyre a great way to first experience what its like to fire this muscle properly.To do them, lay on your side with your legs straight and feet together. In a controlled manner, lift your top leg to roughly 45 degrees WITHOUT any rotation of your pelvis.Your pelvis should instead stay pointing straight away from you.You also dont want to rotate your toes towards the ceiling to compensate. Instead, you can keep them very slightly pointed towards the floor to better activate the gluteus medius.When done properly, you should feel a strong contraction in the gluteus medius of the leg youre raising up as shown here:
Healing Exercises For Knee Pain
The knee, made up of bones, tendons, cartilage, and ligaments, is the largest joint in the body. It;can also be the source of a lot of discomfort.
A lot of people wonder if its a good idea to exercise if they have knee pain.;They think it might put unnecessary stress on their knees. The truth is, not exercising could lead to more pain and weaker knees.
These exercises for knee pain will put you on the path to recovery! So give a few of them a try!
Living with chronic knee pain is difficult. If youve done the exercises and are thinking about the next steps you want to take on your journey to recovery,;consider consulting a professional.
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Why Do My Knees Hurt After Running
Why do you run? Because it feels good. Because it relieves stress. Because it enables you to eat cake. I get that, because running is also important to me. Im a 32-time marathoner who knows how frustrating it is to be injured. Its the reason I became a sports doctor. Ripping my anterior cruciate ligament playing football when I was in medical school was devastating, but it was the single most important event to influence my work. Its what drives me to help my patients. Almost every day I treat runners with achy knees. Many are freaked out: can I still run? Will I have to switch to swimming? Thankfully, most knee problems wont keep you off the road for long. Heres what you need to know about common knee injuries.