Knee pain is a very common complaint. Generally speaking, there are two types of knee pain: traumatic and non-traumatic. Traumatic pain is due to an injury to the bone, tendons, or ligaments around the knee joint that may or may not have resulted in an infection. Non-traumatic pain, on the other hand, is due to an infection, autoimmune disorder, or other diseases. The cause of the pain is an important factor that determines its management. Here are ten remedies for knee pain.
Most of the drugs used for the treatment of knee pain are over-the-counter medications that are common and readily available. The most commonly used types of medications are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs help reduce the pain and control the inflammatory process that might be causing the pain. Some of their side effects include peptic ulcers and skin rash. People with anemia, hypertension, bronchial asthma, or kidney disease should speak with their doctor to find a different type of medication to control the pain.
Being overweight or obese is a significant risk factor for osteoarthritis. Excess body fat increases the pressure on the knee joints, tendons, and muscles. A reduction in weight will lead to significant improvement in controlling knee pain, and it can delay the occurrence of osteoarthritis and the need for surgery. Osteoarthritis patients are advised to drop 10 percent of their body weight or at least 10 to 15 pounds. There are many simple steps to lose weight without the need to exercise for long hours. Walking, eating more vegetables, taking the stairs more often, and removing junk food from your diet will all add up to help you shed a few unwanted pounds.
People who suffer from knee pain should avoid exercises that add more pressure on their knee joints, such as jumping and running. Instead, they should focus on therapeutic exercises they can do in the comfort of their homes. A good exercise regimen incorporates activities that strengthen the quadriceps and stretch the hamstring and calf muscles. Low-impact aerobic exercises like cycling and walking are also beneficial for those who suffer from knee pain.
A physical therapist specializes in creating treatment plans that incorporate gentle movements and exercises that restore muscle strength and joint health. They can also help patients by pinpointing the types of movement that cause the pain in the first place and what movements are uncomfortable or impossible. The effects of physical therapy may not be noticeable for up to six weeks, but with time and dedication, most patients will be able to enjoy a more comfortable, active life.
For knee pain caused by trauma, the standard method of treatment is to Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate (also known as PRICE). For at least 48 hours after the trauma to the knee occurs, keep the area protected. This time frame is necessary to help the injured body part heal and prevent the injury from worsening. It is critical not to allow anything that might cause the pain to increase. Protection can take different forms. Some patients will choose to limit their movement, while others may choose to use a pad or splint over the knee. This method works by preventing the recurrence of injury and is especially useful in a condition called housemaid’s knee.
Using a Brace or a Crutch
Some people choose to wear a knee brace or use a crutch to protect their knee from further stress and injury. Not everyone will need to wear a brace. In fact, using them routinely can lead to delayed recovery. Only a doctor should use a brace, and only after he or she has diagnosed the condition. Doctors will often use a brace for an unstable injury where the patient needs to limit their movement. Crutches are used in conditions where bearing the entire weight of one’s body on the knee will lead to pain.
Rest is an important part of treating knee pain. It helps speed up the recovery process and relieves the knee joint from any strain or pressure, allowing it to heal properly and reducing further injury and swelling. Rest means that patients are not allowed to do any activity that requires them to overstretch their muscles or bear their weight on the knee joint. Getting the right amount of rest is crucial. Resting for more than one week might weaken the muscles and make the joints stiffer. Patients are advised to start moving after a couple of days of rest.
Ice the Knee
Ice is applied using ice wraps or ice packs. Patients should start using ice on their knees right after an injury or even in chronic knee pain conditions. It should be done up to three times a day for 20 minutes at a time. It’s important to avoid prolonged application of ice as it may lead to ice burns. Applying ice has two benefits. First, it helps control the pain, and second, it decreases the swelling around the knee. Swelling is due to knee joint inflammation and causes patients to feel pain. The inflammation may make the knee joint red, hot, and tender, with limitations in movement.
Apply compression by wrapping the knees with an elastic bandage or by using a brace. It is quite helpful in reducing the swelling around the knee. Stop compression if your knee begins tingling or if the pain worsens – this could indicate the bandage is too tight. Tight wrapping of a swollen knee joint will increase the swelling, so it’s important to loosen the bandage a little bit.
Elevation is achieved by laying on a flat surface and raising the entire affected leg above the level of the heart. It is an effective method of dealing with knee swelling. Elevating the knee will help the accumulated fluid inside the swelling to drain back through the vascular system, thereby reducing the size of the swelling. Some patients make the mistake of elevating their foot with supporting the knee itself. This is wrong, as it causes the knee joint to become tense. Instead, the knee needs to be supported using pillows. Additionally, some people find it useful to apply ice while elevating their legs.