Does the staircase in your home sometimes feel like Mount Everest? Do you skip a fun outing because you were nervous that you can’t keep up? Can’t you have fun with your children/ grandchildren?
If so, then don’t worry you are not alone. You are one of the million women and men living with acute or chronic knee pain. Women are more prone to knee pain than men due to the high rate of knee osteoarthritis in women.
Knee Pain Overview
Pain in and around the knee may indicate the condition affecting the joint itself and surrounding the soft tissues around the knee.
Causes of Knee Pain
There are some reasons which can cause knee pain, such as
Under the skin and above the joint there is a sac/bursa/gap which holds a certain amount of fluid called “Synovial fluid” which helps to prevent friction when the joint moves. Overuse, falls, and repeated bending or kneeling of the knee joint can irritate the bursa on the top of your kneecap and can cause pain and swelling of the knee joint. This condition is also called “Prepatellar bursitis” or “ Preachers knee”.
In science, the language kneecap is also called the “patella” bone. When the kneecap or patella shifts out of its position, causing knee pain and swelling. This is also called “Patellar dislocation”.
ILiotibial (IT) Band Syndrome
The iliotibial band is a muscle of the thigh that runs from your hip down to the outer part of the knee. When the activity of the knee is increased then it can become inflamed over time which causes pain on the outer side of the knee. It is common in athletes.
The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that acts like cushioning. The rough edges can get stuck in the joint which causes pain and swelling.
It occurs in young ones when bones and other parts of the knee are still changing. When repetitive use of a joint or injury causes a painful lump below the kneecap or patella. It also affects the children experiencing growth. Overdoing exercise can cause irritation at a point in the bottom of the knee called the tibial tubercle also hurt this area.
It has a ‘wear and tears’ type of mechanism. It is the most common cause of knee pain after 50 age. It causes the aching and swelling of the knee joint when you are active and it is more often when you get up in the morning, it gets stuffed that time.
It is the inflammation in the tendon that connects the kneecap or patella to the shinbone. By overdoing exercise, they can become inflamed or sore and causes pain. Repetitive jumping is the most common cause of patellar tendonitis. Also known as “jumper’s knee”.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
The causes of the patellofemoral pain are due to muscle weakness, imbalance, tightness, or malalignment of the legs. Due to this, sometimes your knee can’t bear weight is called “buckling” and pain. But it is not due to an injury and is more common in women than men.
Diagnosis for Knee Pain
5 types of Diagnosis for Knee Pain
Inspect your knee for swelling, pain, tenderness, warmth, and visible bruising.
Check to see how far you can move your lower leg in different directions.
Push on or pull the joint to evaluate the integrity of the structures in your knee
X-ray is the first recommendation that doctors suggest to identify bone fractures and degenerative bone disease.
Computerized Tomography (CT) scan
CT scanners combine with X-rays taken from many different angles, to create a cross-sectional image of the inside of the body. It helps to diagnose bone problems and subtle fractures. A special kind of CT scan can identify Gout even when the joint is inflamed.
The ultrasound technology uses different sound waves to produce real-time images of the soft tissue structures within and around the knee joint. Doctors want to move your knee in a different position to identify specific problems.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
An MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnet to create 3D images of the inside of your knee. This test is particularly useful in revealing injuries to soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscles.
There are some do’s and don’ts to help your knee to feel better –
Don’t rest too much: Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen your joint pain.
Do exercise: Stretching and strengthening of the muscles to support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching also help your knee muscle to provide flexibility. For cardio, some good choices include walking, swimming, water aerobics stationary cycling, and elliptical machines.
Don’t risk a fall: Sometimes a painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause more knee damage so you have to be attentive during running down the staircase using handrails.
Do use “RICE”: Rest, ice, compression, and elevation(RICE) is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compression bandage and keep your knee elevated.
Don’t overlook your weight: If you are overweight, losing weight reduces the stress on your knee. You don’t even need to get your “ideal weight”.
Don’t be shy about using a walking aid: If you have walking difficulty due to knee pain then you should take a crutch or cane which can stress off your knee. Knee splints and braces can also help to stay stable.
Do consider acupuncture: This is a Chinese technique that involves inserting fine needles at certain points on the body to relieve many types of pain and may also help in knee pain.
Don’t let your shoes make matters worse: Cushioned insole can reduce stress on your knee. For knee osteoarthritis, doctors often recommended special insoles that you put in your shoe.
Do play with temperature: For the first 48 to 72 hours after a knee injury, use a cold pack to ease swelling and numb the pain. Use it 15-20 minutes three to four times a day. Wrap your ice in a towel to be kind to your skin. After that, you can heat things up with a warm bath, heating pads, or warm towel for 15-20 minutes, three to four times a day.
Don’t jar you’re joint: High-impact exercises can further injure painful knees. So, avoid jarring exercises such as running, jumping, kickboxing, lunges, and deep squats that put a lot of stress on your knee and can cause injury when not done in the correct manner.
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Steroid injection