Fixing Knee Pain At Home
Runners Knee Is The Most Common Culprit Of Running
According to research, approximately 25 percent of running-related injuries are attributed to patellofemoral pain syndrome , or runners knee. In my experience, the number of women affected by this condition is significantly higher than the number of men due in part to the angle that womens wider hips create at the knee joint. Runners knee can feel like a dull, diffuse ache in and around the kneecap. It is caused by muscle imbalances that cause the knee cap to shift out of place as you bend and straighten your leg, ultimately leading to irritation in and around the joint.
Runners knee can often lead to chondromalacia, a condition that develops when the cartilage under the kneecap becomes rough with repeated wear and tear. This roughening causes increased friction below the joints surface, leading to irritation, inflammation, and pain.
IT band syndrome is also an overuse injury. The IT band is a band of fascia that extends from the hip to just below the knee. It acts as a stabilizer during running, and overuse or a quick increase in training volume can cause it to become irritated.
Articles On Knee Pain
You can do many things to help knee pain, whether it’s due to a recent injury or arthritis you’ve had for years.
Follow these 11 dos and donâts to help your knees feel their best.
Donât rest too much. Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain. Find an exercise program that is safe for your knees and stick with it. If you’re not sure which motions are safe or how much you can do, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist.
Do exercise. Cardio exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching do, too. For cardio, some good choices include walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines. Tai chi may also help ease stiffness and improve balance.
Donât risk a fall. A painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause more knee damage. Curb your risk of falling by making sure your home is well lit, using handrails on staircases, and using a sturdy ladder or foot stool if you need to reach something from a high shelf.
Do use “RICE.” Rest, ice, compression, and elevation is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated.
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Facts You Should Know About Knee Pain
- Knee pain is a common problem with many causes, from acute injuries to complications of medical conditions.
- Knee pain can be localized to a specific area of the knee or be diffuse throughout the knee.
- Knee pain is often accompanied by physical restriction.
- A thorough physical examination will usually establish the diagnosis of knee pain.
- The treatment of knee pain depends on the underlying cause.
- The prognosis of knee pain, even severe knee pain, is usually good although it might require surgery or other interventions.
What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam, and look at your knees, hips, legs, and other joints.
Your provider may do the following tests:
- MRI of the knee if a ligament or meniscus tear could be the cause
- CT scan of the knee
- Joint fluid culture
Your provider may inject a steroid into your knee to reduce pain and inflammation.
You may need to learn stretching and strengthening exercises. You also may need to see a podiatrist to be fitted for orthotics.
In some cases, you may need surgery.
Is My Knee Injury Serious 5 Signs To Look For
Your knee twists, you hear a pop, and now you have knee swelling and pain when trying to walk or with bending your knee.; Perhaps you were struck by another player and have bruising, but no swelling. ;Are these severe knee injuries?; When should you consider seeing a Sports Medicine Doctor following a knee injury?; Lets go over 5 things that trained professionals look for to determine if your knee injury is serious.;
As an active athlete or competitor, you know that severe knee injuries are common. Both contact and non-contact knee injuries can be severe. This post will cover five signs to look for to help determine if you might have a severe knee injury. ;In general, the most common and worrisome finding is immediate, significant swelling.
Even though most of the injuries I see in the office turn out to be mild, ;it is essential for you to know what the warning signs are to look for a potentially severe knee injury.
What Is The Treatment For Knee Pain
Treatments for knee pain are as varied as the conditions that can cause the pain.
Medications might be prescribed to treat an underlying medical condition or for pain relief.
If you are taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications regularly for your knee pain, you should see your doctor to be evaluated.
Sometimes physical therapy sessions to strengthen the muscles around the knee will make it more stable and help guarantee the best mechanical movements. Working with a physical therapist can help avoid injuries or further worsening of an injury.
Injecting medications directly into your knee might help in certain situations. The two most common injections are corticosteroids and lubricants. Corticosteroid injections can help arthritis and other inflammations of the knee. They usually need to be repeated every few months. Lubricants that are similar to the fluid already in your knee joint can help with movement and pain.
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Protection Rest Ice Compression And Elevation
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation may help treat mild knee pain that results from a soft tissue injury, such as a sprain.
Protection refers to protecting the knee from further injury, for example, by taking a break from the activity that caused it.
Rest can reduce the risk of further injury and give tissues time to heal. However, stopping all movement is not advisable, as this can lead to stiffness and, in time, muscle weakness.
Ice can help reduce swelling and inflammation. It should be wrapped in a cloth and applied for 20 minutes several times on the first day of injury. Never put ice directly the skin, as this can lead to further damage.
Compression with a knee support, for example, can increase comfort levels. The support or bandage should be firm but not tight.
Elevation, or keeping the leg raised, will encourage circulation and reduce swelling. Ideally, the knee should be above the level of the heart.
Be Easy On Your Joints
When you exercise, try to avoid high impact exercises.
High impact exercises can injure your knees even more and cause more pain.
Jarring exercises like running, kickboxing, and jumping should all be avoided.
It would be best if you also steered clear of exercises like lunges and deep squats that put a lot of pressure on your knees.
These exercises can worsen your pain, and if you dont do them correctly, they cause injury.
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Apple Cider Vinegar And Other Foods
According to some sources, apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve arthritis and other types of pain.
However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to support this. The Arthritis Foundation refers to ACV as a food myth.
Other popular advice for arthritis includes:
- consuming collagen, gelatin, or pectin, and raw foods.
- avoiding dairy, acidic foods, and nightshade vegetables, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant
There is no evidence to suggest that these are helpful or even advisable.
It commonly affects teenagers, especially young female athletes. It is the most common overuse syndrome in sportspeople.
Most cases of front knee pain are injuries from overuse, or from poor preparation for exercise. The problems usually go away on their own, and sporting activities can resume after the pain subsides.
The pain varies but tends to:
- be a dull ache that starts gradually, and is linked to activities
- produce clicking or other sounds
- come on when going upstairs, or when getting up after a long time sitting, squatting down, or kneeling
- produce a weakness in the legs
Recommended treatments for front knee pain include:
Bad Mechanics Bad Gear
Improper gear and bad mechanics could have a big impact on knee pain if youre a runner or heavy-mileage walker.;
If youre running, make sure youre using the proper shoes. Getting the proper fit for your feet is a more complicated process than just picking a pair off the shelf but its worth it.;
Whether its dealing with a high or low arch, the type of midsole a shoe has or the need for stability, picking the right running shoes can have a huge impact on lessening knee pain. Additionally, certain sole inserts can also add extra cushioning that help manage the load through your knees, hips and back.
The need for proper gear extends to how you run, too. Its possible your running or walking form is incorrect and when youre using that form repeatedly, its going to lead to pain and injury.;
A gait analysis, performed by a physical therapist or exercise physiologist, can pinpoint mechanical issues in your gait which will lead to the recommendations for stretches, gear and changes to your stride that will improve your exercising and alleviate pain.
If none of these changes or even rest help ease the pain, consult your Cleveland Clinic healthcare provider to ensure theres not something more serious behind the aches.
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What Are Complications Of Knee Injuries
Knee injuries are rarely life-threatening, though severe injuries may be disabling. Some knee injuries lead to chronic, irreversible damage to the knee and may result in complications such as long-term dysfunction. Knee-joint dislocations can cause blood vessel injuries and can lead to severe disability.
You Cant Put Weight On It
If its immensely painful to stand or put any weight on your injured knee, theres definitely something serious going on.
Inability to bear weight after a knee injury could be caused by a fracture, bone contusion, cartilage injury or ligament tear, explains Dr. Brown. Initial treatment includes using crutches or a steerable scooter to take pressure off the injured limb and minimize additional damage to the knee.
If this sounds like you, listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Dr. Brown warns that the old adage of no pain, no gain doesnt apply in this situation.
He advises seeking orthopedic evaluation as soon as possibleeven that same day if you can.
After a minor injury like a twist or fall, you might not be able to put weight on your leg immediately. Thats not necessarily a cause for alarm, but if you dont feel like youve recovered within a few minutes, this could indicate something more serious.
Its similar to when you injure a wrist or ankle. If you fall on your wrist or twist your ankle, you may experience searing pain for a moment or two. When the injury isnt severe, youre able to shake it off and resume your life after a few minutes at the most. However, if youve experienced a sprain, the pain doesnt subside. Instead, it gets worse.
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Heel And Calf Stretch
This stretch targets the muscles in your lower leg, specifically your calf muscles.
To do this stretch:
Knee Pain Comes In Many Forms It Can Be Sharp Dull Achy Zinging Shocking Or Creaky
Physical therapists do our best to quantify pain, with numerical scales and questionnaires about how much pain affects function, such as the popular 0-10 pain scale. But ultimately, pain can be very subjective. For some people, a light ache can cause them to yelp when they bend their knee. Others will grin and bear it, running through any amount of knee pain as long as they think they arent permanently damaging their bodies. While the techniques and scales we have for measuring pain are very helpful in quantifying and categorizing pain, they dont necessarily tell us when any given person should stop running or keep going, because pain is so individualized.
That said, there are some general guidelines to follow if youre trying to decipher between an annoying ache and a real injury.
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Torn Acl Symptoms And Signs
With an acute injury, the patient often describes that they heard a loud pop and then developed intense pain in the knee. The pain makes walking or weight-bearing very difficult. The knee joint will begin to swell within a few hours because of bleeding within the joint, making it difficult to straighten the knee.
Focus On Minimally Invasive Knee Pain Treatments
Finally, its important that your knee pain doctor focuses primarily on minimally invasive treatments rather than complex surgeries or narcotics. Some of the best knee pain treatments include steroid injections, viscosupplementation, genicular nerve block, and genicular nerve radiofrequency ablation. These are all minimally invasive treatments with a negligible risk of side effects and they can provide long term relief from the actual root cause of knee pain.
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Can You Prevent Knee Problems
Not all knee problems are avoidable, but you can lessen your chance of problems by participating in regular strength training. To protect your knees, it’s important to have a very strong core and strong legs, says Dr. Rebecca Breslow, an instructor in orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School. Make an effort to perform strength training at least twice a week. In addition, work on increasing joint flexibility, which can also help you head off an injury.
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
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Getting Rid Of Your Knee Pain
If you are lucky, your knee pain may get better on its own with rest. However, more than likely you will need to engage in rehab exercises to overcome the injury. Physiotherapists specialize in providing specific exercises and treatment regimes that increase the strength, stability, and mobility of your joint. ;