The knee is a major highway intersection in the body, connecting tendons, bones, and ligaments. This intersection keeps leg movements smooth, allowing individuals to walk, run, sit, stand, and perform many more motions. When a function of the knee is not running smoothly, it is similar to a traffic jam in the body.
More than 61 million adults in the United States — about 1 in 5 percent of adults — suffer from knee pain, according to the Institute of Medicine. We’ve compiled common causes of knee pain, ways to relieve that pain, and how to prevent knee pain in the future.
Causes of knee pain
Knee pain can be caused by numerous reasons.
– Injured ACL, fracture of the knee or kneecap, torn meniscus, knee bursitis, and patellar tendinitis.
– Mechanical problems. Loose body, when an injury or degeneration of bone or cartilage occurs and bone or cartilage detaches and floats in the joint; iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome, dislocated kneecap, and hip or foot pain.
– Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, pseudogout, and septic arthritis.
Ways to relieve knee pain
For most forms of knee pain, an alleviation trick is to remember the acronym RICE when a flare up happens.
Rest is always important in the pain relief process. To prevent further damage to the knee, reduce strain on the area by limiting normal activities or exercise regimens if pain occurs. Resting can prevent further minor damage to the knee.
To reduce pain and inflammation, apply ice to the knee. It’s important to wrap the ice in a towel to protect the skin. Apply ice on the affected area for no longer than 20 minutes at a time.
A compression bandage should be placed on the knee to prevent fluid buildup and maintain alignment and stability. It’s important to not wrap the bandage too tightly, which may cause more swelling.
Swelling can be reduced in the knee by placing the leg in an elevated position. Elevation can be achieved by sitting in a recliner or propping the leg up and placing a pillow underneath it.
Prevention of knee pain
Because of the different causes of knee pain, the prevention techniques that will work best for an individual can differ. The following are a few pain prevention ideas:
Weight loss can decrease knee pain tremendously. When walking, the amount of force placed on a person’s knees is 1½ times body weight. Therefore, decreasing weight will help decrease future knee pain.
The knee, like any other part of the body, can be strengthened over time with exercise. Cardio exercises, weight training, and stretching can help to increase a patient’s flexibility. Water exercises and walking are good starting points for patients, especially for those who have severe knee pain. It’s important to shy away from high-impact exercises that can cause unnecessary stress the knees.
Genicular knee blocks
For those suffering from osteoarthritis knee pain, genicular knee blocks might be an option for pain alleviation. Genicular knee blocks are performed during an in-patient procedure where a local anesthetic and steroid, if necessary, are injected into the affected area. Pain alleviation with this technique may last from a few days to a few months.
We take for granted how important our knees are in our daily lives. To combat knee pain remember the acronym RICE and practice knee pain prevention tips, such as: weight loss, exercise, and genicular knee blocks.