Sprains Strains And Injuries
Sprains and strains happen when tissues in the knee become stretched by unusual or increased activity, or an awkward twist or trip.
PRICE, described above, should lead to a reduction in pain and improved movement within days, and a gradual improvement over the weeks to follow.
A sprain often resolves itself, but some problems can require more treatment. For example, an injury to the pad of tissue in the knee joint known as the meniscus may require surgery.
Stretches For Knee Pain
Now that you understand how knee pain happens, it’s time to loosen up the sore muscles that cause pain in the first place.
But first, please note that this post is meant for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If you suffer from chronic knee pain, book a one-on-one consultation with a CPT . Only a healthcare professional can pinpoint the root cause of a chronic injury.
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 111.nhs.uk or .
You can also go to an urgent treatment centre if you need to see someone now.
They’re also called walk-in centres or minor injuries units.
You may be seen quicker than you would at A& E.
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What Medical Conditions Cause Knee Pain
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can affect any joint in the body. It can cause severe pain and disability, as well as swelling.
Gout is a form of arthritis that is most commonly found in the big toe, though it can also affect the knee. Gout tends to flare up and is extremely painful during the acute episodes. When there is no flare-up, the knee can be pain free.
With , the knee joint can become infected this leads to pain, swelling, and fever. This condition requires antibiotics and drainage treatments as soon as possible.
Chronic use/overuse conditions
Patellar tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons connecting the kneecap to the shinbone . Patellar tendinitis is a chronic condition often found in individuals repeating the same motion during exercise .
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is caused by degeneration or stress under the kneecap where it meets the thighbone . Patellofemoral pain syndrome occurs in runners and cyclists.
Osteoarthritis: a wearing down of cartilage of the joint due to use and age
Prepatellar bursitis: Inflammation to the bursa in front of the kneecap may cause anterior knee pain.
Location Of Knee Pain Symptoms
The location of your knee pain can help determine which structures are at fault and can help ensure proper treatment. Remember to check with your physician, physical therapist, or healthcare provider if symptoms are severe or last more than a few weeks.
If you develop acute knee pain, immediately follow the R.I.C.E. principle. R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. After a few days of R.I.C.E., you can begin using the leg, only gently.
If knee pain persists for more than 2-3 weeks, you should visit a doctor, physical therapist, or another healthcare provider to rule out any major problem and to ensure proper diagnosis and management.
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When To See Your Doctor
Sometimes, severe knee pain is an indication that there is something serious going on and you should see your doctor if:
How To Use Pain Medications Properly
There are two types of over-the-counter pain medications that can be used for osteoarthritis. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever but not an anti-inflammatory. It may help with mild knee pain.
NSAIDs can be more effective because they both relieve pain and reduce inflammation. However, they come with potential side effects and risks. NSAIDs can irritate the lining of the stomach, which may lead to an ulcer or other stomach problems. They also can impair kidney function. Some NSAIDs can increase blood pressure. And theyve been linked to an increased risk for heart disease.
Because of the risks, Dr. Day cautions against using NSAIDs regularly over long periods of time. Instead, she uses NSAIDs for her patients in two ways. First, people who have a flare-up of pain can take them regularly for three to five days and then stop. Second, they can be used over the long term, but only occasionally, maybe a couple of times a week as needed.
If youre taking NSAIDs several times a day for long periods of time, Dr. Day advises reducing their use by maximizing the other treatment strategies. She also suggests trying a topical NSAID, such as diclofenac , which has fewer potential side effects.
Opioid pain relievers are discouraged for long-term treatment of chronic knee pain. The milder narcotic tramadol might be appropriate for occasional use in some people, says Dr. Day.
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Treatment For A Twisted Knee
Immediate treatment for a twisted knee follows PRICE principles.
- Protect: Protect the knee from further damage. This may involve wearing a knee splint to immobilise the knee and/or crutches to take the weight off the knee
- Rest:Avoid any aggravating activities to allow the knee to recover
- Ice: Regularly applying ice for 10-15 minutes every couple of hours helps to reduce swelling and pain. There are a number of different ways to apply ice, but it must be done safely and effectively to avoid creating more problems visit the ice therapy section for more information
- Compression:Compression bandaging or tubigrip helps to support the knee and reduce swelling
- Elevation: Keeping the knee elevated, ideally above the level of the heart, helps to reduce swelling
Further treatment will depend on what injury has resulted from your twisted knee you can find out more about the best treatments for specific injuries using the links above.
If you have twisted your knee and are suffering from pain and/or swelling, follow these principles and get checked out by your doctor.
Early diagnosis of ligament and cartilage tears is vital to reduce to risk of ongoing problems, so do see your doctor as soon as possible after a twisted knee
If none of these meniscus or knee ligament injuries is seeming quite like your problem, visit the knee pain diagnosis section for help working out what is causing the pain.
The Role Physical Therapy Plays In The Process
Physical therapy is definitely beneficial. Improving range of motion and strength in the knee are helpful, but physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis has a large focus on strengthening the hips, explains Dr. Day.
Weak hips put more pressure on the knees. If your hips are strong, when you get up from a chair or go up and down stairs your knees have less work to do.
Everyone with knee osteoarthritis should consult a physical therapist, according to Dr. Day. Not only will you be taught the right kinds of exercises, a physical therapist also provides valuable instruction about using assistive devices and modifying activities to reduce pain.
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Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Run
Why does my knee hurt when I run? Thats a fairly common question with many people, especially among runners and athletes in general.
Knee pain can be mild or intense, depending on the exact cause.
In any case, it is usually a good thing to identify whats causing the pain and on what part of the knee you feel the pain the most.
This will help you determine whether it is best to see a doctor.
In this guide, well look at common reasons for knee pain, what to do about it, and how to prevent it.
Lets get started.
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.
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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 stress 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.
What Else Can Help With Knee Pain
Finding relief from knee pain depends on the cause or issue thats making it difficult for you to go about your daily activities. Carrying excess weight puts extra stress on your knees, which may lead to osteoarthritis.
In this case, the most effective treatment, according to the Cleveland Clinic, is weight loss. Your doctor may recommend a combination of diet and exercise to help you lose weight and strengthen the muscles in your lower body, especially around your knees.
A 2013 study found that adults with overweight and knee osteoarthritis experienced a reduction in weight and knee pain after 18 months of a diet and exercise program.
But if overuse is the culprit, your doctor will likely suggest RICE which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation and physical therapy. A physical therapist can work with you to develop a program that includes range of motion exercises, stretches, and muscle strengthening movements.
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Conventional Treatments For Knee Pain
Ron Torrance II, D.O, a Sports Medicine Trained Physician at the New ReGeneration Orthopedics of Florida, says he commonly sees knee pain-related conditions among his younger patients who are generally fit especially runners, female athletes and anyone who uses their legs in other repetitive ways
Dr. Torrance feels that an often overlooked aspect of treating knee pain is the need for different interventions depending on someones current fitness level. For example, a young woman who experiences knee pain after running for several months will benefit from a much different treatment approach than an older man with osteoarthritis of the knees.
When treating knee pain injuries, Dr. Torrance first looks at his patients symptoms and then discusses their lifestyle and exercise habits. Knee pain treatment should always depend on which specific part of the knee is injured and the underlying cause of the pain. Even if medications and corrective devices like knee braces are needed to treat knee pain, exercises, stretching and other functional medicine practices should also be incorporated to help with recovery and injury prevention.
Aside from resting the knee after an acute injury, conventional treatments for chronic knee pain that lasts more than several weeks include:
Heat And Cold Therapy
You can reduce pain in your knees using a heating pad. While resting, simply apply a heating pad to your knee to reduce the pain.
To make it even more effective, alternate the heat application with a cold treatment.
Using cold treatment to the affected area can reduce inflammation. Do this for about 20 minutes several times per day.
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How To Get Moving Every Day
In addition to physical therapy, its critical to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine.
Joints are built to move, says Dr. Day. The evidence shows that people who are least active have more arthritis pain than people who do some form of exercise. Choose lower-impact activities, such as bicycling, swimming or exercising in a pool.
What Natural Home Remedies Relieve Knee Pain
Over-the-counter pain medications can frequently alleviate the pain. If someone is taking these medications on a regular basis, he or she should see a health care professional to evaluate the knee pain for proper diagnosis and to avoid the potential side effects of chronic medication use.
The RICE mnemonic is often helpful, especially for minor injuries:
Rest: Rest the joint, and take a break from your usually activities involving the knee joint.
Ice: Applying ice can help with pain and inflammation.
Compress: A compression bandage can help prevent swelling and help knee alignment. It should not be tight and should be removed at night.
Elevate: Elevation can help with swelling and resting of the knee.
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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
Why Do We Experience Knee Pain
There are many causes of knee pain from injuries such as strains, sprains, torn ligaments and cartilage tears, to conditions such as osteoarthritis, tendonitis and bursitis .
Knee injuries are common among athletes, for example, who often experience tears in the knee ligaments, leading to sudden knee pain. Runners knee is a condition that can affect anyone who does a lot of knee bends, for example while running, walking, jumping or cycling. It is felt as pain around the kneecap and can be the result of overuse, injury, abnormalities of the leg bones or feet and weak muscles.
Knee injuries can happen slowly because of osteoarthritis, for example. If you experience problems with your hips or feet that cause you to walk awkwardly, it can throw off the alignment of the knees leading to damage. If you have a knee injury, even if it is a minor one, it is more likely that you will have similar injuries in the future.
Locate the cause of your pain
Injuries to ligaments or tears to the menisci can cause pain in the side of the knees. Pain at the front of the knee can be due to bursitis, or cartilage problems. Osteoarthritis can lead to pain in the back of the knee.
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Will Surgery Treat And Cure Knee Pain
Knee operations range from arthroscopic knee surgery to total knee replacement. Arthroscopic knee surgery is a very common surgical procedure that allows the physician look inside your knee through a few small holes and a fiberoptic camera. The surgeon can repair many of the injuries and remove small pieces of loose bones or cartilage. This is a common outpatient procedure.
Partial knee replacement: The surgeon replaces the damaged portions of the knee with plastic and metal parts. Because only part of the knee joint is replaced, this procedure has a shorter recovery then a total knee replacement.
Total knee replacement: In this procedure, the knee is replaced with an artificial joint.
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.
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The Best Ways To Reduce Discomfortand What You Can Probably Skip
Knee osteoarthritisa progressive loss of cartilage at the ends of knee jointscan cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. And about half the estimated 15 million Americans with knee OA have a severe form of the progressive condition.
In their search for relief, many people may be turning to the wrong treatments, according to a 2017 study published in The Journal of Arthroplasty.
We suspect both patients and providers are trying to exhaust conservative measures in an attempt to avoid surgery, says study leader Nicholas Bedard, M.D., orthopedic surgery resident at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
His team looked at the records of more than 86,000 people whod had knee replacements and found that in the year before the surgery, theyd spent nearly $44 millionan average of $506 eachon questionable therapies such as opioid pain medications.
But if opioid drugs are a poor choicetheyre potentially addictive, and a published in JAMA found them of no use for moderate to severe knee OA painwhat are the most effective ways to handle your discomfort? Here, the experts weigh in.