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.
Symptoms Of Knee Pain
The symptoms of knee problems can vary and will depend upon the cause and severity. However, knee pain is common.
Sudden pain in the knee can occur if you overuse it or injure it.
Instability and weakness in the knee, or the feeling that your knee is about to give way, is a common knee problem.
Other symptoms may include stiffness, popping sounds, locking of the joint and inability to straighten the knee, depending on the cause.
Causes Of Knee Pain Without Injury
Chronic knee pain without any known cause can be referred to as primary knee pain in the medical world. The main culprit is thought to be overuse of your patellofemoral joint, which is caused by an increase in training load.
The exact mechanism that causes this type of joint overload is not completely understood but its thought that repetitive microtrauma tears small pieces of the cartilage within your knee joint, leading to inflammation and irritation of the surrounding bursa.
To fully understand the cause of experiencing knee pain without a known injury you first have to know how the knee works.
The knee is a hinge joint that consists of three bones: the femur, tibia, and fibula.
The patella also plays an important role in your ability to move your knee as it sits on top of the end of the femur acting as a pulley that helps to transmit forces from your quadriceps through the tendon to the tibia below.
The most common types of primary knee pain are known by their location within this region including patellofemoral pain syndrome, meniscal injuries, medial collateral ligament injuries, anterior cruciate ligament injuries, osteoarthritis, or bursitis.
Is my doctor correct?
Unfortunately, sometimes doctors are incorrect with their diagnosis! Just because you havent sustained a clear injury doesnt mean there isnt something wrong. Its worth scheduling an appointment with a doctor or physiotherapist if youre experiencing nagging knee pain.
Recommended Reading: Is Nano Knee Covered By Medicare
How Can I Relieve My Pain
When knee pain emerges, how can you ease the ache? Try these at-home measures:
- Switch up your routine: Stop doing the activity that brought on your knee pain, if possible. If youve been jogging, for example, try biking or swimming instead, which are easier on knee joints.
- Rest: Avoid putting weight on the affected knee.
- Apply ice or heat: Cold packs several times a day for 20 minutes at a time can reduce inflammation. Applying heat may increase blood flow to the area and feel soothing, Dr. Kissin says.
- Compress: Wrap the painful knee snugly but lightly in an elastic bandage or thin knee sleeve.
- Elevate: When possible, rest with your affected knee higher than your heart.
- Medicate: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen can reduce pain and swelling.
Injections Are Another Low
If other strategies dont provide enough relief, injection therapy is an option with low risk.
A corticosteroid injection involves delivering this anti-inflammatory drug directly to the knee. The benefits are typically short lived. But it varies from person to person. I tell my patients the pain relief can last anywhere from a week to a year, says Dr. Day. One cautionary note with corticosteroids is the potential to increase blood sugar, which is a concern for people with uncontrolled diabetes.
For a possibly longer lasting effect, an injection of hyaluronic acid can be tried. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that healthy joints have a lot of and arthritic knees dont, says Dr. Day. It takes longer to start working than a corticosteroid injection, but the effect often lasts six months to a year.
Two other injection therapies are platelet-rich plasma and stem cells, neither of which is covered by insurance. PRP involves drawing some blood, spinning it in a centrifuge, and injecting part of it into the knee. Theres currently more science backing up the effect of PRP than stem cells, says Dr. Day.
If youre not able to get your symptoms under control with a combination of these measures, she says, it could be time to talk to your doctor about surgery.
This article originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Arthritis Advisor.
Also Check: Rollator Knee Scooter
Is Your Knee Pain Making Daily Activities A Chore
Knee pain makes doing daily activities a chore. Walking becomes a love/hate activity. Walking is a recommended way to help reduce symptoms by maintaining muscle mass, reducing blood pressure and also as a way to stay functional by maintaining joint mobility. Many people are tentative to start a walking program because they think it will create more knee pain!
Contrary to popular belief, walking doesnt make symptoms worse. Daily structured walking programs reduce stiffness and inflammation. Walking is definitely an exercise that is preferred for people with osteoarthritis, it is always recommended to discuss any forms of exercise with your physician when you have a chronic condition. Walking not only helps with reducing pain and increasing joint flexibility it also helps with bone density, increased speed and a better quality of life.
Walking can help to decrease overall health risks. According to the Arthritis Foundation Walking lowers the risk of blood clots, since the calf acts as a venous muscle pump, contracting and pumping blood from the feet and legs back to the heart, reducing the load on the heart.
When To See Your Doctor
Any incidence of severe knee pain should be checked out by your doctor particularly if:
1) Your knee looks deformed2) You cant put any weight through the leg3) Your knee movements are limited cant fully bend or straighten the knee4) You have severe knee pain, especially at night or when resting5) Your knee keeps giving way6) You feel unwell or have a fever7) There is redness or the knee feels hot8) There is major swelling around the knee9) Your symptoms persist or get worse10) You have pain, swelling, redness, tingling or numbness in the calf
Read Also: Cellulite Above Knees
Not Warming Up Or Cooling Down When You Exercise
Warm-up and cool-down exercises are essential for protecting the knee from injury and can even ease knee pain. They prepare the knee joint and surrounding muscles to take on the strain and impact of exercise. These gentle exercises strengthen leg muscles and decrease the tension in your tendons. This will ultimately improve knee mobility and flexibility.
Walking When You Have Knee Pain
The best rule of thumb is to monitor what your normal pain levels are during a day. Then ask yourself if your pain is more than 2 to 3 points higher than normal affects your movement patterns considerably. Should you be experiencing these problems then start off with a short, light walk to see if the pain increases or decreases. Sometimes going for a walk can reduce your pain and mobilize your joint fluid and lubricate the joint.
The day following your walk, monitor your pain levels on a scale of 1 10. When you are looking at 0/10 that would mean you have no pain at all, 5/10 would be that it is affecting your daily movement and 10/10 would be severe pain which requires an immediate hospital visit. As long as your pain doesnt increase by more than 1 to 2 points, then you are fine. However, it would be appropriate to take a day off between workouts to allow the knee to settle down to its regular level of pain.
Osteoarthritis quite often leaves you feeling torn. You have intense knee pain, so you dont want to move, and then the pain gets worse from inactivity because the joint isnt getting greased up with synovial fluid. You just need to know if you get up and move then eventually given time and increased stability, your knee will feel better. Exercise also gets you prepped for rehab, so you will heal better if you require a joint replacement!
Don’t Miss: What Is Chondrocalcinosis Of The Knee
Knee Pain Relief 6 Natural Treatments Including Exercises
Reviewed by Ron Torrance, DO, FAOASM
Next to back pain, knee pain is one of the most common complaints among both older adults and younger athletes. Knee injuries are one common cause of knee pain, but you dont have to fall, trip or get into some type of accident to hurt your knees.
What can cause knee pain without injury? Arthritis, overuse, osteoporosis, certain types of exercises like running, and repetitive movements are all potential causes of knee pain.
How do you relieve knee pain? Identifying the underlying cause of your pain is the first step. Treating health conditions that might contribute to inflammation , exercising appropriately, maintaining a healthy weight, stretching and doing certain knee exercises can all greatly help you find relief.
What If Pain Doesnt Subside
In most cases, knee pain will improve with home remedies. If it doesnt after several weeks, see a doctor. Several in-office treatments may be considered, Dr. Kissin says, including steroid injections or physical therapy.
Surgery may be an option if all other non-surgical treatments dont work. Its good to have a well-balanced approach for patients and see what we can offer without resorting to surgery, Dr. Kissin says. But the best treatment for knee pain is prevention, which should center around weight control and exercise, he adds.
Its important to do at least two hours of exercise a week and maintain this as we get older, he says. Diet alone isnt enough. We need to maintain our body, or it wont be there for us.
Also Check: What Knee Brace Is Best For Torn Meniscus
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.
Can You Prevent Knee Pain
There can be many reasons for knee pain. Therefore, there are different strategies to prevent the pain depending on the underlying cause. Running on soft surfaces or decreasing the amount of running can help if the pain is due to overuse. Avoiding any direct injuries to the knee including wearing a seatbelt can prevent traumatic injuries. Weight loss can be helpful for many different forms of knee pain.
Also Check: How To Whiten Knees And Elbows
Knee Pain: What Causes It What Can You Do About It
If you type knee into Google, the suggested topic that pops up first is knee pain.
Thats not a coincidence. At some point, most of us have experienced knee pain caused by everything from everyday wear and tear to sports, recreation or injuries. It knows no age, either. Depending on your activity level and health, you could experience knee pain as a young person, or as a senior.
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.
Read Also: How To Whiten Knees And Elbows
What Else Could It Be
If you are still not sure what is causing your severe knee pain, visit the knee pain diagnosis section where we help you work out what is going on by thinking about the location of the pain .
Alternatively, in the knee symptoms guide we look at other symptoms typically linked with knee pain such as pain when running or bending, knee locking, sharp pain or pain on the stairs. And remember, if you are suffering from severe knee pain, get checked out by your doctor.
What Are The Complications Of Knee Pain
Frequently, knee pain will disappear without ever finding a specific cause. Depending on the underlying cause of the pain, the condition can progress and lead to more serious injuries or complications. Usually, these complications are long term and result in worsening pain or an increasing difficulty to walk.
Don’t Miss: Best Knee Walker 2016
What Are 9 Ways That You Can Ruin Your Knees
The knee is the largest joint in the body and one of the most common sites of injury. Nearly all our actionslike walking, turning, running, and jumpingdepend on the knees for movement and stability. Unfortunately, as people are living longer and more active lives, damage to the knees is also becoming increasingly common.
Knee pain can keep you from enjoying the activities you love and can even lower your quality of life significantly. Knee problems are typically caused by general wear and tear from daily activities, although injuries and osteoarthritis could also be responsible.
Six Ways Youre Making Knee Pain Worse
While it may seem like knee pain is an inevitable fact of aging, you may be able to avoid it. In fact, you may be doing some things unintentionally that are causing your knee pain, or making the aches and twinges you already have worse. Do any of these sound familiar?
Youre overweight. Your knee joints are your shock absorbers and stabilizers. The more weight you carry, the more pressure on your knees. You dont need to reach your so-called ideal weight to feel a difference every pound you lose reduces the strain on your knees.
You dont warm up or cool down properly when you exercise. Be sure to ease into workouts by starting slowly to give muscles a chance to warm up, and stretch adequately afterward, particularly the muscles in your legs. Flexibility is one important key to good knee health.
You jog or walk downhill a lot, or on hard surfaces. When you go downhill , you put more pressure on your knee joints. You cant always avoid it, of course, but if youre mapping out a walking or jogging route, youre better off on gently sloping or flat surfaces. And speaking of surfaces, skip hard cement and pavement in favor of something with a little bit of bounce or give, like a running track or trail.
You wear ill-fitting shoes. Good arch support is important to help absorb some of the pressure your knees normally take. If you have flat feet, consider inserts for your shoes. And avoid flip-flops and other very flat shoes with no support.
Don’t Miss: Inversion Table For Knee Pain
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
How Is It Diagnosed
Your physical therapist will perform an initial evaluation. The goals are to assess the condition of your knee and to determine the cause of your pain. They will ask you questions about your medical history and your current condition, such as:
- How did your injury occur?
- Were there previous injuries to your knee earlier in your life?
- What are your current symptoms? How have they affected your daily activities?
- Where is your pain located? How intense is your pain? Does your pain vary during the day?
- Are there any activities that you are unable to do? Is it hard for you to complete any activities due to your injury?
- How have you taken care of your knee condition so far? Have you seen other health care providers or had imaging tests ? What are the results of any tests that you have had?
Activities that aggravate your symptoms will be noted as well as any ways that help you reduce your symptoms. Some patients have difficulty with activities at work or with activities such as shopping, cooking, and walking. More active patients may have symptoms during higher levels of activity, like running or other sports. Pain may cause them to stop their desired activity.
Gathering this information allows your physical therapist to understand your condition better. It will help them determine the course of a physical examination, which will include various tests and measures.
- Low back.
Don’t Skip The Exercise Even If You Have A Structural Problem
The key is to know your limits. Strength training that focuses heavily on building up muscles in the quadriceps and hamstrings can decrease pain and help people better tolerate arthritis and other structural knee problems. Staying active helps control weight and build muscle, both of which can help protect your knees from further damage.
The best exercises for people with structural knee problems include nonimpact aerobic exercises, such as walking on level ground, training on an elliptical machine, using a stationary bike, swimming and doing water aerobics. Its also wise to avoid activities that put extra stress on the knees such as kneeling, deep knee bends and downhill running.