Overview of Knee Pain
Knee pain is a very common problem and often depends on various factors such as age, overweight, injury, certain medical conditions such as arthritis, gout, etc and others. The knee is one of the most complex and largest joints of the body. It is one of the joints in the whole body, which is most prone to injury. Redness, swelling, stiffness, unable to bend the knee, inability to extend the knee, etc are few symptoms of knee pain and require immediate attention otherwise it can become severe if not treated timely.
Location of knee pain depends on which structure is involved. It involves the intersection of 4 bones, several tendons, 4 ligaments, 2 menisci, and cartilage. In many cases, knee pain can be treated with the help of few home remedies and physical therapy. But in few severe cases, you may require medications and surgery.
- Swelling and redness
- Severe pain
- Trouble bending the knee
- Limping due to discomfort
- Not able to extend the knee
- Weakness or instability
- Popping or crunching noises
- Difficulty in walking (due to instability of knee)
- Difficulty walking up and down steps ( due to ligament damage)
- Putting more weight on opposite knee and foot
There are a variety of causes of knee pain such as injury, medical conditions, and other problems. Many of the knee pain causes can be linked to injury mainly. Below is the list that highlights few common causes of knee pain:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury – swelling in the knee, difficulty in walking.
- Medical collateral ligament (MCL) injury – swelling in the knee, locking knees, etc.
- Torn meniscus – stiffness of knee, imbalance, etc.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Osteoarthritis (OA)
- Septic arthritis (infectious arthritis)
Few other causes of knee pain are Old age, Sedentary lifestyle, knee contusion, hip or foot pain, iliotibial band syndrome, patellar tendinitis, etc.
- Wear sensible footwear to maintain proper leg alignment and balance, it can reduce the risk of knee injury. Also, avoid wearing high heel shoes or sandals.
- Drink more water and keep yourself hydrated, it will help to soften the cartilage.
- Avoid any type of knee busting activities.
- Always try to maintain a weight that’s correct for you according to your size and age. It will help to avoid chances of a knee injury and reduce stress on knees.
- Warm up and do stretches before starting any exercise. Stretching helps you to relieve pressure on knees.
- Stop smoking as it can slow healing process.
- If you are training at the gym, always opt for low impact exercise such as rowing machine, etc. as it will put a low impact on your knees.
- Always wear knee guards during sports or any type of recreational activities.
- Weight training will help to strengthen leg muscles and prevent knee injury. But remember; always get trained under a proper trainer.
- Have a trainer to learn proper techniques of sports.
- In daily routine, avoid repeated knee movements which can cause any injury.
- Never carry objects which are too heavy.
- Avoid overtraining, let it be any sport or other activity.
If you are exercising outside of the gym, always opt for exercise with very fewer chances of a knee injury such as swimming, walking, etc.
Ginger has antioxidant, anticancer and anti-inflammation properties. It is a very effective remedy for pain; let it be of any injury or arthritis or any other condition. Ginger can help to relieve the joint pain and swelling.
- Ginger tea is very effective for knee pain. Put a piece of ginger root to a cup of boiling water; let it boil for few minutes. Strain it and mix 1 tsp of honey and lemon juice in it. Drink it twice or thrice daily.
- You can also massage your knee with ginger oil twice or thrice daily.
2. Cold compress
A cold compress helps immediately to reduce swelling or knee pain. It causes to constrict the blood vessels of muscles; decreases the blood flow and decreases inflammation. An ice pack should be applied in the affected area for about 10-20 minutes, twice or thrice daily. It will help to reduce the pain. This is a very effective remedy and can be used few times a day or occasionally.
Turmeric has one of the best natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce pain. It is very effective and natural treatment to decrease knee pain.
- Mix 1 tsp of turmeric in a glass of milk, boil it and drink it once for better results.
- You can also add a half teaspoon of turmeric and ginger powder each, to a cup of boiling water; let it simmer for few minutes. Strain it, add 1 tsp of honey in it and drink it once or twice daily.
Treatment of knee pain depends on various conditions such as age, overweight, injury, medical conditions, etc. Knee pain is very common in people of all ages.
Physical therapy: Stretching, exercise, etc helps to strengthen leg muscles. It is one of the effective ways to treat knee pain. But not all the causes of knee pain can be treated with the help of physical therapy. Sometimes you require medications or in severe cases even surgery.
Medications: There are different drugs available for knee pain such as pain relievers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, corticosteroids, etc. All these medicines are used to help ease pain and inflammation of knee pain. Use of these medications largely depends on the condition of knee pain you have.
Injections: In certain conditions, doctors suggest to inject medicines directly into joints. Injections such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), hyaluronic acid, corticosteroids, etc. These help to reduce pain and inflammation and promote healing.
Surgery: In some injury you require surgery but immediate surgery is not required. It includes total knee replacement, Arthroscopic surgery, partial knee replacement surgery, etc. Before opting for any type of surgery, consider pros and cons both.
Knee pain can be caused by many factors. In general, most probable causes of the pain is the aging and muscular strain. However, in some cases, the pain in knees can also be caused by other underlying conditions such as Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Gout. If your pain doesn’t seem to vanish by using home remedies, or painkillers and balms and ointments, you should consult a doctor.
When should I see a doctor?
Call your doctor immediately if:
- Can’t bear weight on your knee
- Immediate knee swelling
- Intolerable pain
- Loss of sensation below the injury site
- Unable to fully extend your knee
- See any deformity in your leg or knee
- Unable to bear weight
- Unstable knee
- Redness and swelling
Having fever in addition to pain in the knee