Whether it is a temporary twitch in the muscle, a sudden resurfacing of an old injury or that post-workout agony – knee pain can bring your life to a standstill, quite literally. The debilitating pain in the biggest joint of the body can either last for some hours or at times for days altogether. In such a situation, it becomes imperative to figure out the underlying cause behind the excruciating pain.
Walking, kneeling, stair schlepping…Knees take abuse. No wonder 20% of us report having had pain in these joints in the past 3 months. Most arises from injuries and osteoarthritis, which are more common with age. Here’s how to get a leg up on knee pain.
The location and severity of knee pain may vary, depending on the cause of the problem. Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany knee pain include:
- Swelling and stiffness
- Redness and warmth to the touch
- Weakness or instability
- Popping or crunching noises
- Inability to fully straighten the knee
When to see a doctor
Call your doctor if you:
- Can’t bear weight on your knee
- Have marked knee swelling
- Are unable to fully extend or flex your knee
- See an obvious deformity in your leg or knee
- Have a fever, in addition to redness, pain and swelling in your knee
- Feel as if your knee is unstable or your knee “gives out”
There could be many reasons of you going week in your knees and feeling that unbearable pain. Pain has several categories; you could have mild pain through days and suddenly wake up one morning to find it gone. According to experts, in most cases, knee pain could just be a painful aftermath of physical exertion. Those intense workouts, an exhilarating football match or for that matter, the usual age-related wear and tear of muscles, bone-density and tissues – all these may trigger that hard-to-bear knee pain.
According to Dr. Supriya Bali, Internal Medicine, Max Hospitals, there are a few other things that can contribute in triggering knee and joint pains in general. “Knee pain can occur to anyone, from children to the elderly. Some of the most obvious reasons would include lack of Vitamin D, calcium and iron.” Lack of Vitamin D is often responsible for hampering optimum bone health. It is one of the leading medical concerns in India. People, who suffer from it, complain of dull pain in their knees as well as in other joints.
A number of factors can increase your risk of having knee problems, including:
- Excess weight. Being overweight or obese increases stress on your knee joints, even during ordinary activities such as walking or going up and down stairs. It also puts you at increased risk of osteoarthritis by accelerating the breakdown of joint cartilage.
- Lack of muscle flexibility or strength. A lack of strength and flexibility are among the leading causes of knee injuries. Tight or weak muscles offer less support for your knee because they don’t absorb enough of the stress exerted on the joint.
- Certain sports. Some sports put greater stress on your knees than do others. Alpine skiing with its rigid ski boots and potential for falls, basketball’s jumps and pivots, and the repeated pounding your knees take when you run or jog all increase your risk of knee injury.
- Previous injury. Having a previous knee injury makes it more likely that you’ll injure your knee again.
Home remedies for pain behind knee
It’s better than acetaminophen. If your stomach can take it, pop the drugs (such as ibuprofen) for 10 to 14 days. “That’s more effective than stopping and starting,” says Elizabeth Matzkin, surgical director of women’s musculoskeletal health at Harvard Medical School.
3. Smart Exercise
As in, definitely don’t stop working out. Keeping active builds muscles that support the knee joint. Two things to avoid if you have knee pain: running and doing full leg extensions with a resistance machine. Better bets: walking, bicycling, and “closed kinetic chain” exercises, in which the foot stays planted (like on an elliptical trainer).
4. Weight Loss
Every pound you lose feels like 5 fewer pounds to the knee. Exercise and a healthy diet can each help you lose, but dropping pounds by combining the two is the gold standard for relieving knee pain and restoring function, according to one recent study
5.Heat and cold therapy
Using a heating pad to rest your knee when reclining can help to keep the joint from stiffening up. Wrapping a gel-style cold pack or cool compress around it can reduce pain and swelling. Alternate between cold and heat. Use cold more often during the first 24 hours after the injury.
Go right to the source of the pain. But not too often. Corticosteroids can ease knee pain by reducing inflammation when injected directly into the joint. They work well but temporarily. In fact, repeated injections may deteriorate cartilage, so doctors usually limit shots to 3 or 4 times a year.
A study published in 2001 found that some people with arthritis experienced pain relief using willow bark. The extract is also commonly used by herbalists to treat fever, pain, and inflammation. Do not take willow bark if you have allergies to aspirin or you’re taking blood thinners. Do not give willow bark to children under 4 years old.