Knee pain can be chronic or acute. Regardless of the cause, living with knee pain can cause discomfort and impact a person’s quality of life. Luckily, living with pain isn’t a requirement. There are many treatment options available to restore your comfort. Today we’re going to share a few common causes of knee pain and the five best treatment options.
Common Causes of Knee Pain
There are several causes of knee pain, including:
There are over 100 types of arthritis. But there are a few types that are more likely to affect the knee, including:
- Osteoarthritis: The most common type of arthritis that is considered a wear-and-tear condition. It causes the cartilage in the knees to deteriorate.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune condition that affects several joints in your body.
- Gout: This occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joint.
Many injuries lead to knee pain. Common knee injuries include ACL injuries, fractures, knee bursitis, and torn meniscus.
Some mechanical problems cause knee pain. For instance, a dislocated kneecap will lead to knee pain. Experiencing hip or foot pain can change the way you walk and add stress to your knee.
5 Treatments for Knee Pain
Living with knee pain can cause much discomfort. Luckily, there are several knee pain treatments available:
1. Modifying Activities
Many people experiencing knee pain attempt to keep up with their same activities. Staying active is essential, but not at the expense of your knee. Certain activities like running can put too much pressure on the knee joint, causing additional pain.
Modifying your activities to take the stress off your knee is one of the best ways to minimize knee pain. Take frequent breaks, and be sure to keep weight off your knee when engaging in certain activities.
2. Alternate Between Heat and Ice Packs
Alternating between heat and cold packs is called contrast therapy. Using a combination of heat and cold therapy is an effective option when it comes to treating knee pain.
Using heat helps with pain because it opens blood vessels and assists with the healing process, depending on the cause of your knee pain. Specifically, some types of arthritis benefit from heat therapy because it helps loosen stiff joints.
Applying cold works to reduce blood flow to a particular area. As a result, cold therapy reduces inflammation and swelling. It also works as a numbing agent, which can provide immediate relief for knee pain.
3. Gentle Stretches and Exercises
Knee pain is often a result of stiff joints. Stretching and exercise build strength and can loosen stiff muscles and other joint tissue to increase mobility and reduce pain. There are several stretching and exercise techniques you can incorporate, including lunging hip flexors, standing hamstrings, half squats, and side leg raises.
A knee brace is something that a person wears when they’re experiencing knee pain or have suffered an injury. A brace might be made with metal, foam, plastic, straps, or elastic material.
A knee brace takes the pressure off your knee joint, which helps to relieve pain. It also supports and stabilizes the knee to prevent further pain. Here are three types of braces:
- Compression Braces: These braces support the knee to help relieve swelling and pain.
- Knee Immobilizers: A knee immobilizer prevents the knee from moving.
- Unloaded Knee Braces: These braces shift body weight away from the injured part of the knee.
5. Topical Treatments
Knee pain can be minimized with the use of topical treatments like muscle creams and rubs. Muscle creams and rubs treat minor aches and pains in your muscles and joints by making the area feel cool and then warm.
When to See a Doctor
Some knee pain will go away on its own, but there are some instances when you need to see a doctor. Visit a doctor if you’re experiencing severe pain after a fall or accident. It’s also essential to see a doctor if your knee pain is too painful or unstable to support your weight.