Other Tactics You Can Use To Avoid Injury:
- Choose the right shoes, and know when to replace them.;Avid runners will be prone to knee pain if they wear incorrect running shoes, such as a shoe designed for a low arch worn by someone with a high arch, or if they fail to replace their running shoes in the correct time interval, typically at 200 to 300 miles depending on body type and shoe type, Bayes says.
- Stretch properly.;Tight muscles are at risk for strain and can put extra force on the knees and other joints.
- Get adequate rest.;Take at least one to two days off from running per week to avoid overuse.
- Stay well-hydrated.;Dehydration by even 5 percent has been shown to increase injury risk, Schulz says.
Once you know what to do to avoid an injury, use these workouts to take your fitness to the next level.
Other Causes Of Knee Swelling
Go to a doctor if the swelling appeared out of nowhere. It could be a symptom of a health problem like:
- Knee osteoarthritis, an overuse injury of the knee joint cartilage.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder characterized by swelling of the joints.
- Deep vein thrombosis, a medical emergency where a blood clot forms within the deep veins of the leg.
What Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Everyones joints go through a normal cycle of damage and repair during their lifetime, but sometimes the bodys process to repair our joints can cause changes in their shape or structure. When these changes happen in one or more of your joints, its known as osteoarthritis.
A joint is a part of the body where two or more bones meet in your knee, its the thigh and shin bones. There is also a small bone at the front of the knee called the patella or kneecap.
The ends of our bones are covered in a smooth and slippery surface, known as cartilage . This allows the bones to move against each other without friction, and protects your joint from stress.
Your knee also has two other rings of a different type of cartilage known as menisci or meniscus, which help to share weight evenly across your knee joint, and theres also cartilage underneath your kneecap.
Osteoarthritis causes the cartilage in your knee joint to thin and the surfaces of the joint to become rougher, which means that the knee doesnt move as smoothly as it should, and it might feel painful and stiff.
Osteoarthritis can affect anyone at any age, but its more common in women over 50.
Injuries or other joint problems, such as gout, can make people more likely to get osteoarthritis. The genes we inherit from our parents can also increase the risk of the condition developing.
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Losing Weight Can Improve Knee Pain
“Your weight plays a major role in knee pain,” says Bush-Joseph. “If you walked around all day with a backpack that had a 10-pound weight in it, you would feel how achy your back, hips and knees are at the end of the day. That shows you the impact extra weight can have on your joints.”
With each step people take, two to four times their body weight is transmitted through the knee joint, according to Bush-Joseph. Thus, the more you weigh, the harder the impact is on your knee joint.
However, people who are overweight and have arthritic knee pain can lessen the impact and ultimately, relieve knee pain by losing weight. In fact, people with arthritic knees lose about 20 percent of their pain with every 10 pounds of weight loss.
“If you are 20 pounds overweight and you have arthritic knee pain, almost half of your pain will go away by losing 20 pounds,” says Bush-Joseph. Of course, losing 20 pounds isn’t easy. But, if people are able to lose even 10 pounds and add in some stretching and flexibility training, they’ll experience significantly less pain, according to Bush-Joseph.
Your Doctor May Not Want To Give You Cortisone If Knee Replacement Is Seen As Ultimately Your Only Answer
We see many patients who tell us that they have gone to their doctors and have asked for one more cortisone injection because of the amount of pain and swelling that they were suffering from that day. You know that the call to the doctors office for an appointment usually comes on the day when your knee hurts worse. The doctor, to his/her credit in many cases, has declined to give his/her patient this one more cortisone shot because their concern is that if you get cortisone injections into your knee prior to surgery, you will have a greater risk of complications after the surgery. There is a lot of debate around this subject.
A December 2020 study published in the medical journal;Rheumatology;gives this overview assessment of the debate surrounding the use of cortisone for a bone on bone knee. Here are the summary learning points:
- Existing data indicate that intra-articular corticosteroids in knee osteoarthritis provide short-term pain relief and functional improvement which may last from one to several weeks.
- At present, synovitis is the most important predictor of treatment response, and also a target for anti-inflammatory treatment for intra-articular corticosteroids.
- Our explanatory note: If you have a lot of knee swelling, cortisone may be of benefit.;
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Getting Rid Of Swelling And Inflammation And Degeneration Requires A Health Professional Familiar With Using Inflammation As A Healing Tool
Above we said that a joint that lives in constant inflammation is a joint in a state of unrelenting erosion. Your knee is in a place where it is breaking down faster than your body can repair it. We are not just talking about a piece of the knee like its just the cartilage, or it is just a tendon, or it is just a ligament, it is the whole knee spontaneously degenerating. This is why your whole knee is swelled up.
The focus of our treatment is the strengthening and repair of the knee ligaments. Why is this our focus?
If you want to get rid of chronic knee swelling you must have a treatment that repairs the entire knee. The ligaments are the structures that hold the entire knee together. This means to help repair a meniscus, you must strengthen the ligaments. To heal cartilage damage, you must treat the ligaments. To prevent the recurrence of a Bakers Cyst, you must treat the ligaments. To prevent continued knee degeneration from the destructive forces of osteoarthritis, you must treat the ligaments with a treatment that correctly turns off the inflammation in such a way that beneficial inflammation, the inflammation process that repairs, is left behind to heal the damage.
A Villain In All This The Synovial Macrophages Eating Away At Your Knee
First, lets identify what Synovial macrophages are. A paper in the journal Frontiers in immunology describes them this way: Synovial macrophages are one of the resident cell types in synovial tissue and while they remain relatively quiescent in the healthy joint, they become activated in the inflamed joint and, along with infiltrating monocytes/macrophages, regulate secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enzymes involved in driving the inflammatory response and joint destruction. Probably what you got the most out of this paragraph is driving the inflammatory response and joint destruction.
How are the synovial macrophages doing it? By bloating chondrocytes and making them puke up corrosive substances in your knee
Here is a May 2021 study in the journal iScience that explains what is happening in your knee: Synovial macrophages that are activated by cartilage fragments initiate synovitis, a condition that promotes hypertrophic changes in chondrocytes leading to cartilage degeneration in osteoarthritis. . . Stimulated macrophages promoted hypertrophic changes in chondrocytes resulting in production of matrix-degrading enzymes of cartilage.;So the chondrocytes becomes bloated with matrix-degrading enzymes of cartilage and pukes them out in the knee.
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Risk Factors For A Swollen Knee
- Being overweight or obese your knees are weight-bearing so any excess weight puts more strain on them, which can damage your knee joint over time; obesity also increases the risk of osteoarthritis, which is a common cause of a swollen knees
- Playing certain sports if you take part in sports that involve pivoting, rotating or twisting your knees, youre at greater risk of knee injuries, which cause swelling
- Your age your risk increases as you get older
What Conditions Can They Help
They are one of the best ways to reduce pain and improve function, but they generally dont cure the problem.
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The Problems Of Excess Weight And Obesity Causes More Inflammation
When we suggest to the patient that their knee can benefit from weight loss, we typically hear, I know, I know, or I have been trying. These are the typical responses of someone who has tried to lose weight and is tired of being lectured. Weight gain, like knee osteoarthritis, is a slow methodical problem that cannot be made to go away overnight. To lose weight you must find the inner motivation to do so. Maybe research can help.
In July 2020, researchers writing in the medical journal Skeletal Radiology looked at three patient groups. All the patients had knee osteoarthritis. The three groups were: people with normal weight; people who were overweight; people who were obese. What they were looking for was a relationship between excess weight and increases knee inflammation. Here are the results:
- Being overweight or obese was significantly associated with a greater prevalence and severity of synovial inflammation imaging biomarkers. Substantial reproducibility and high correlation with knee structural, cartilage compositional degeneration, and pain scores validate the synovial inflammation biomarkers used in this study.
What does all this mean? The more weight, the more inflammation, the more pain, the greater the need for medication, the greater the knee pain, the greater the eventual need for knee replacement.
The Benefits Of A Holistic Approach To Treating The Knee Can Be Clearly Seen In The Definition Of Knee Osteoarthritis:
Knee Osteoarthritis is destruction to the whole knee;
- Knee swelling is the result of a slow, progressive, degenerative disease that:
- destroys articular cartilage,
- causes;destructive changes to the knees lubricating and protective;synovial membrane,
- damages and causes the death of subchondral bone,
- causes weakness, damage, and laxity in the knees supporting ligaments and tendons,
- destroys and causes the death of the meniscus,
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Preserve Knee Function With Exercise & Changes In Your Lifestyle
Exercise, including water aerobics, strength training, and yoga, can help preserve knee function to ultimately relieve pain and swelling. The same exercises will help you lose weight, lessening the pressure on your knees. Exercise also helps maintain full range of motion in the knee joints, strengthens the muscles supporting the joints, and absorbs shock impacting the joints.
Walking is the most beneficial form of exercise. Its low-impact, and because its a weight-bearing exercise, it helps strengthen muscles and builds bones. Start out slow, gradually increasing your pace and distance for best results. Water exercises or walking in the shallow end of the pool are also great for muscle strength and knee flexibility. Because the body is buoyant in water, it lessens impact to near zero as it makes you work a little harder to move.
How You Should Heal A Knee Injury
If you do find yourself with a hurt knee, heres what you should do:
- Look for signs of severe injury. If theres swelling;or you cant walk on the leg, see a sports medicine or orthopedic doctor for treatment.
- Practice RICE. Rest, ice, compression,;and elevation are usually recommended to help promote healing and flexibility in a knee injury.
- Take an OTC pain reliever. A low-dose anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help treat pain and swelling in a patient that has no allergy or contraindication to its use, Bayes says. Schulz says he commonly tells patients to take vitamin D to help promote healing. Ask your doctor if OTC meds and supplements are right for you.
- Consider physical therapy. A professional PT can help you get on the mend using stretches, exercises, and other methods.
What if youve tried and tried but still feel like your knee injury isnt healing?
Injuries that fail to recover with rest, ice, compression, and elevation and time may be more serious, Schulz says. Seek a medical evaluation if an injury persists.
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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.
To Understand Your Inflammation Is To Understand That Your Knee Is Or Has Become Unstable But In Is Your Unstable Knee Causing Inflammation Or Is It Inflammation Causing Your Unstable Knee Something Needs To Get Fixed
Research is busy asking the question, what comes first, the inflammation or the degenerative knee disease? On the surface that seems pretty straightforward, inflammation and degeneration cause knee erosion. But not so fast
Doctors at the University of Calgary, publishing in the medical journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, suggest that knee joint instability leads to destructive alterations in the synovial membranes and cartilage. So in this research, the knee instability came first, then inflammation, then osteoarthritis.
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When To Call The Doctor For Knee Pain
When you are deciding whether to call the doctor about your knee pain, a good rule of thumb exists for most long-term knee injuries. If your symptoms have not gone away after trying a week of PRICE therapy and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain meds, you should set up an appointment with your doctor, physical therapist, or a sports medicine orthopaedic specialist to further evaluate the pain. This rule can also be applied to new knee injuries that are not disabling. Remember, however, that this rule should only serve as a guide. If you are concerned about the pain, you should call the doctor.
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.
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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.