Knee pain is an ailment that is common to people of all age ranges and employment types. This could range from a professional athlete carted off the field to construction workers that have to miss multiple days of work. Knee pain can result from something as complicated as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage or as misunderstood as poor movement mechanics. It can also occur due to underlying conditions such as arthritis or gout.
Knee pain symptoms can largely vary from person to person. This can include inner knee pain, back of knee pain, pain that extends up or down the leg, or pain that is generalized around the knee. It can be felt either deep in the joint or more towards the surface.
Although self-care can help alleviate many types of minor knee pain, most patients seek non-surgical knee pain relief to help them safely return to their normal daily and recreational activities.
Symptoms: How do I Know if My Knee Pain is Serious?
Most people wait to seek treatment until they experience more frequent, significant symptoms of knee pain. Waiting to seek treatment can often result in more layers being added to the pain such as hip or lower back pain due to the changes in walking or other movement patterns. While it is best to seek treatment in the initial phases of pain or discomfort, you should definitely seek treatment if there is weakness or instability, swelling or stiffness around the kneecap, or if the area turns red or is warm to the touch. Locking of the joint or the inability to straighten the knee usually signals a more serious internal derangement such as a torn meniscus.
What Causes Knee Pain?
Enjoying an active lifestyle remains one of the best pieces of health advice, however, medical issues like a sprained ligament or overuse can sideline the healthiest person. Injuries represent the most common cause of knee pain, which can include a sudden onset such as twisting on a planted foot, or a more gradual onset from progressing an exercise routine or running program too quickly.
Here are the most frequently cited causes of knee pain:
- Meniscus tear
- IT band syndrome
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Patellar tendonitis
- Osgood-Schlatter disease
Stages of knee pain
Acute pain is the first phase or onset of pain which can trigger intense pain that requires quick medical attention. This can result from an injury to the ligaments of the knee most often involving the medial collateral (MCL) or the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) as well as the meniscus.
Chronic pain represents long term inflammation associated with repetitive injuries and progressive degeneration leading to osteoarthritis. This can start as mild intermittent discomfort in the knee and progress to a constant severe pain which can significantly limit your normal daily and recreational activities eventually leading to knee replacement surgery.
Knee Pain Diagnosis
A licensed health care professional starts the process of diagnosing knee pain by taking a comprehensive health history, including specific questions about the onset, things that make it better or worse, severity and timing, as well as pain in any other joints of the lower extremity or low back. An examination of the knee follows, with your physician trying to uncover the source of your knee pain including reproduction of the pain, tenderness to touch and specific location of the pain. Comparison testing of both knees also helps physicians determine the source and probable causes of knee pain.
The doctor may also complete one or more of the following diagnostic tests:
- X-ray or MRI
- Joint fluid testing
- Blood testing
Exercise done at a moderate level is very effective for preventing knee pain. These exercises should involve low impact maneuvers like walking on level ground and using an elliptical machine to prevent knee pain,especially as you age. Stretching is particularly helpful in not only preventing knee pain, but in many instances can also relieve minor pain and stiffness. Body weight has a direct impact on knee health, therefore losing weight is a common recommendation made by health care specialists to prevent knee pain. You should also use proper footwear which can go a long way in preventing knee pain. Remember that the majority of chronic knee pain is due to repetitive stresses and the average person will take approximately 4,000 steps per day.
- Foam rolling/IT band stretch
- Quadriceps and hamstring stretches
- Squats (proper form)
- Bridges, SLR, hip abduction (SL)
- Changing up exercise routine
Physical Therapy Treatment for Getting Rid of Knee Pain in Mesa
If you experience an injury or an acute onset of pain make sure you apply ice as quickly as possible to limit swelling and edema. Rest from the activity and if the pain persists you should seek professional treatment.
- RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
- Quad sets
- Heel slides
- Ankle pumps
At The Center For Total Back Care we provide non-surgical strategies for knee pain relief. We focus on isolating the primary cause of knee discomfort, whether it is acute or chronic, before providing an individualized plan of care that will relieve the pain and strengthen the knee to make sure the condition does not become chronic. Our patients who suffer from an acute episode of knee pain describe how our non-invasive treatment and rehabilitation regimens helped them return to and maintain a more active lifestyle and gave them the knowledge and the tools to prevent future episodes.