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.
Be Gentler When You Exercise
Running on roads can jar your knees, while a jog through a wooded trail carries the risk of falls and twists to knees and ankles. A better way to run is on a treadmill or track, or alternate jogging with walking, Dr. White suggests. Biking doesnt put as much strain on your knees, but it can cause pain if you ratchet up the resistance too high on a stationary bike or the saddle is pushed back too far or is too low. If you bike a lot outdoors, you might want to spring for a professional bike fitting, which can help you with seat and handlebar height and pedal strokes. Whatever exercise you do, just remember to warm up. You lose muscle strength as you get olderespecially if you sit at a desk most daysand that just increases your chances of injury when you head out to exercise.
What Is The Anatomy Of The Knee
The knee is a hinge joint that has a simple purpose. It needs to flex or extend to allow the body to perform many activities, like running, walking, kicking, and sitting. Imagine standing up from a chair if your knees couldn’t bend.
While there are four bones that come together at the knee, only the femur and the tibia form the joint itself. The head of the fibula provides some stability, and the patella helps with joint and muscle function. Movement and weight-bearing occur where the ends of the femur called the femoral condyles match up with the top flat surfaces of the tibia .
There are two major muscle groups that are balanced and allow movement of the knee joint. When the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh contract, the knee extends or straightens. The hamstring muscles on the back of the thigh flex or bend the knee when they contract. The muscles cross the knee joint and are attached to the tibia by tendons. The quadriceps tendon is special, in that it contains the patella within its fibers. The patella allows the quadriceps muscle/tendon unit to work more efficiently. The quadriceps tendon is renamed the patellar tendon from the kneecap to its attachment in the tibia.
Bursas surround the knee joint and are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the knee during its range of motion. In the front of the knee, there is a bursa between the skin and the kneecap called the prepatellar bursa and another above the kneecap called the suprapatellar bursa .
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What Other Symptoms Will Show With Knee Pain When Sitting
This pain usually comes on gradually although trauma can cause sudden pain. The main symptom is pain in the area of the patella and behind the patella. However, the pain is diffuse and difficult to localize. Pain is usually worse when going up stairs, going down stairs, bicycling, squatting, running, and kneeling or when you sit for a long period of time. The pain usually aches but can be sharp at times. Other symptoms include crepitus about the knee and a sensation of the knee “giving way”. When it comes on gradually, you may not feel it when sitting right away but, over time, the knee pain will occur all of the time.
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.
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What Are The Possible Causes Of Back
If your back-of-knee pain is not due to any specific accident or incident, it could be caused by a wide array of factors. According to Dr. Celeste Holder, who holds a B.S. in behavioral neuroscience from Northeastern University, a doctorate in chiropractic medicine from the University of Bridgeport, and is a 1AND1 LIFE doctor, back-of-knee pain presents itself less often than other kinds of knee discomfort, but when it does appear, the “differential diagnosis is rather broad.” Holder continues that diagnoses for this kind of pain can include “pathology to the bones, musculotendinous structures, ligaments, nerves, vascular components, and/or to the bursas,” which makes pinning down the main reason quite challenging.
Apart from musculotendinous injuries, one of the most common causes of posterior knee pain is a Baker’s cyst. Dr. Patrick Jean-Pierre, board certified internal and nonoperative sports medicine doctor and part of the 1AND1 LIFE team, cites Baker’s cysts as cysts that “develop from the breakdown of cartilage or arthritis in your knee, causing an out pocket of swelling and fluid. Sometimes this swelling can become very painful, resulting in the pain behind your knee joint.” Dr. James adds that these cysts “can be caused by repeated irritation of structures in the knee. This also can be caused by poor movement habits or muscle imbalances.”
You Have Knee Bursitis
Knee bursitis is a condition where small fluid-filled sacs in the joint, called bursa, become inflamed, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons . It’s often caused by overuse, injury or sustained pressure on a joint.
“When this bursa becomes irritated, it can swell and become highly irritated,” says Bianca Beldini, PT, DPT, a physical therapist, acupuncturist and owner of Sundala Wellness in New York. “Swelling increases fluid both inside the sac and outside into the surrounding tissue, which can cause a decrease in range of motion and pain upon compression, impacting the ability to kneel.”
Knee bursitis can cause a sharp, needle-like pain in the knee when kneeling. Bursitis can happen in both the front and back of the knee. Behind-the-knee swelling commonly occurs with osteoarthritis, gout, ACL tears, meniscal tears or even after knee replacement surgery, Beldini says.
Treat it like any other overuse injury: Rest, use ice or cold packs and take OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatories , like ibuprofen and naproxen, to reduce pain and inflammation. Then, once the swelling has gone down, you can work on strengthening and mobilizing the joint to regain proper range of motion.
As the patient begins their re-entry into exercise, they should begin by performing an isometric contraction of the quadricep also called a quad set, Beldini says.
Next, focus on stretching the muscle and soft tissue with a gentle prone quad stretch.
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You Ignore Pain Flare
If youre suffering from arthritis or a minor knee injury, you should take care to treat pain flare-ups. Treating the pain when it happens can help manage it. Follow the RICE procedure rest, ice, compression, elevation to calm your knee pain.
If your knee hurts, stop what youre doing and rest. Apply ice to reduce inflammation, consider wearing a compression bandage, and elevate your knee when resting.
Underlying Chronic Joint Inflammation
Knee pain while sitting can also be a sign that something more serious is wrong with your joint.
This is especially evident if you still have knee pain, even if you take breaks and have a good chair.
Some of the most common causes of chronic knee inflammation include:
This is the wear and tear of the cartilage beneath the thigh bone and/or the knee cap. Severe cases are common in people over 60 years old.
In this condition, you may feel your knee hurt while sitting, standing, walking, and/or at rest. You may have some swelling under the kneecap, too.
The treatment focuses on delaying the progression of arthritis. Usually with physical therapy and home care. But, severe cases may need knee replacement surgery to improve their symptoms.
This is an autoimmune disease. Here, the immune system attacks healthy cells on the joints. This causes pain and swelling on several body parts. Like the hands, knees, and/or wrists.
Women over 50 years old are at a greater risk of having RA. Symptoms often improve with medication and exercise.
But, early diagnosis is important to avoid complications. So, please visit a rheumatologist if you have knee pain while sitting and also have the following:
- Pain and swelling on two or more joints at the same time
- A family history of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Youre a woman over 50 years old.
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When Should Heat Treatments Be Avoided
Since heat boosts the knees blood flow, it is not recommended for cases with inflammation. Therefore, if you have suffered an acute injury, it is best to stick to cold treatment. Additionally, people who have diabetes should always take care when applying warm elements to their skin. Lastly, people who suffer from skin conditions might find that heat elements cause irritation or even rashes. In this case, the treatment should be stopped and avoided.
If The Back Of Your Knee Hurts Here Are The Likely Reasons
If you’ve been experiencing pain at the back of your knee, it’s important to inform yourself about all the possible reasons it might be occurring, whether it’s due to a specific incident or not. By learning more about the causes of this body pain, you can make a thought-out plan for your next steps with your healthcare provider, as well as consider treatments or methods to relieve your discomfort. This kind of pain is actually quite common, so we spoke to three doctors about the causes behind back-of-knee pain, and what their recommendations are if you’re dealing with this. Ahead, find all of the information you need to take the next steps.
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You Sit For Long Periods Of Time
If your knee hurts, you might want to stay off of it. But resting too much makes your muscles weaken and often makes knee pain worse. Find a way to get moving without hurting your knee. Some good exercises for people with knee pain include walking, swimming, and water aerobics.
Exercise strengthens the muscles around your knee and helps support the joint. At Coastal Empire Orthopedics, we can help you find the best exercise to keep you moving, even with knee pain.
When Are Heat Treatments Best
Heating treatments on the knees are beneficial when someone has a chronic issue such as arthritis. For example, those suffering from joint pain and stiffness can find great relief using heat treatments. In addition to offering comfort, heat can also boost the knees flexibility and motion range if it is administered daily.
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Lack Of Sleep Makes Pain Worse
It can be easy to get stuck in a cycle where you cant sleep because of knee pain. That lack of sleep can actually make your pain worse. Sleep is vital for healing and rejuvenation. Without sleep, you have less energy to expend on healing as you need to focus your bodily processes on staying alert and awake.If nighttime knee pain causes you to toss and turn, you may end up accidentally further straining your knee by sleeping in an uncomfortable position.
Can Knee Injuries Be Prevented
To help prevent knee injuries:
- Make sure your kids wear the recommended protective equipment for sports .
- Make sure your kids wear supportive athletic shoes that are in good condition.
- During workouts, kids should always warm up and cool down.
- Encourage kids to do regular strength training to support muscles, and stretching or yoga to improve flexibility.
- When jumping, kids should bend the knees while landing. This takes pressure off the ACL and prevents injury.
- If kids cut laterally or pivot frequently , encourage them to crouch and bend at the knees and hips to reduce the chances of an ACL injury.
- For kids who play just one sport, conditioning and training year-round even if it’s at a lower intensity than during the competitive season can help them stay in shape and make an injury less likely.
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You Notice An Obvious Deformity
If you notice your knee jutting outward in a way it never has before, take note. A dislocated or fractured patella can cause injuries like this, explains Brian Schwabe, C.S.C.S., board-certified sports physical therapist based in Los Angeles.
While some deformities occur over time, when the deformity is a result of an injury, it could be the result of a fracture or chronic wear on the knee joint. If you are already experiencing any kind of misalignment in your lower extremities, then you could be more prone to this type of injury.
If you notice a bone deformity after an injury, he recommends seeking the assistance of an orthopedic doctor immediately. The doctor will likely take x-rays as well as perform a visual diagnosis to determine if you need surgery.
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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How To Treat A Knee With Contrast Therapy
Since contrast therapy involves exposing the knee to heat and cold, there are various ways to do it. Most people prefer submerging the hurt knee in cold water and later in warm water. This is a cheap and quick way to administer contrast therapy. When using water for your contrast therapy, you must test the temperature of the water before submerging your knee.
Alternatively, heating pads and ice packs can be used. Regardless of which method you choose, consistency is critical for contrast treatment. By repeating both heat and cold therapies daily, you might be surprised by the results. However, if six weeks have passed without any sign of improvement or an increase in the discomfort of the knee is experienced, it is best to consult a doctor. Unfortunately, some knee injuries require medication.
Treatment For Knee Problems
If initial treatment methods do not provide relief, and X-rays show destruction of the joint, the orthopaedist may recommend total joint replacement for the knee, also referred to as knee replacement.
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Causes Of Knee Stiffness
Most people experience knee stiffness after sitting for a long period of time. It’s usually the result of inflammation and fluid build-up in the knee joint, which causes swelling and decreases the ability to freely move the joint. A number of conditions can lead to inflammation, and subsequently, knee stiffness.
Other Injuries And Conditions
Because the knee is the largest joint in your body, it is prone to injury and strain. If you fall or bump your knee, you may experience pain from bruising. If youve fractured any of the three bones in your knee, you may experience weakness, sharp pain, or deep throbbing sensations.
Rheumatoid arthritis can present similar symptoms to osteoarthritis, but this autoimmune condition may require different treatments than joint damage caused by the wear-and-tear typical of aging.
If you are experiencing knee pain that interrupts your daily life and persists after several days of rest, consider consulting with a healthcare provider.
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Prevention Tips For Knee Injuries
- Warm up joints and muscles by gently going through the motions of your sport or activity and stretching muscles.
- Wear appropriate footwear.
- Avoid sudden jarring motions.
- Try to turn on the balls of your feet when youre changing direction, rather than twisting through your knees.
- Cool down after exercise by performing light, easy and sustained stretches
- Build up an exercise program slowly over time.
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.
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