The Complete Guide To Knee Pain. Causes and Remedies
Table of contents
- The Knee Joint & Knee Pain
- Why does my knee hurt? Knee pain causes
- Osteoarthritis Knee Pain
- Conventional treatments of knee joint pain
- Supplements & topical creams for natural knee pain remedy
- Knee Surgery: Corticosteroid Injection and Knee Replacements
What is stopping you from enjoying a stroll at the beach or park?
Have you ever experienced squatting for a task and not being able to get up?
Have you ever watched a neighborhood soccer game enviously because an older ‘uncle’ looked so agile and fit?
If the above scenarios are familiar, are you suffering from knee pain?
Even though you have led an active life and believe that being active is healthy for the rest of your body, knee pain can put a full stop to everything.
This article hopes to cast light on the issue and help some to find the right kind of help to alleviate knee joint pain. To help go some way in restoring a quality of life and live free from knee pains.
The Knee Joint & Knee Pain
The knee joint is a complex hinge, the synovial joint that holds three bones; the femur, tibia, and patella together.
Common complaints of joint pain in the knee are:
- Pain when bending or straightening the knee, squatting, or going downstairs
- Not being able to put weight on the knee
- Knee buckling, “clicking or locking”
- Swelling of tissues or ligaments around the knee
If you have led an active sporting life, there could be an old knee injury that flares up once a while because it was never treated properly.
Runners, soccer players, and martial arts exponents who are involved in sports that require a lot of quick bursts of twisting knee action and sudden lateral movements are most susceptible.
Why does my knee hurt? Knee pain causes
Common knee problems are sprains and strains of ligaments, meniscus tears, and tendinitis.
Dislocated kneecap pain
Also called ‘patellar dislocation’, it happens when the kneecap slides out of position causing swelling and pain.
IT (iliotibial) band or outer side knee pain
The ITB or iliotibial band is a thick, tough tissue that stretches from the hip down to the outer part of the knee. When a runner overdoes an activity, the tissue on the outer side of the knee becomes inflamed and causes pain when bending the knee.
Some may call it the ‘preacher’s knee’, doctors call it patellar bursitis. It happens when the sac (bursa)on top of the kneecap that provides the fluid to lubricate joint movements gets disrupted due to overuse, falls, or too much kneeling. It can lead to swelling and pain.
Cartilage in the knee can rip and tear. The sharp, rough edges can get stuck in the knee joint causing pain and swelling. Sometimes people can have a ‘catching’ sensation amid an activity.
Happens to younger teens whose bones are still changing. When overdoing an exercise, the tendon below the knee connecting to the shin (tibial tubercle) gets inflamed and hurt. The ache can come on and off.
Osteoarthritis of the knee
This type of arthritis is caused by ‘wear and tear’. A condition where the cartilage acting as a natural cushion between knee joints has worn out. The bones of the joints rub against each other causing pain and a decrease in mobility, sometimes forming bone spurs. The knee joints can ache and swell or feel stiff in the early mornings. It is the number one cause of knee pain after 45, so this deserves special attention further on, so please read on.
Also known as ‘jumper’s knee’ as it is the most likely cause of this inflammation and soreness in the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome
The symptom of this knee problem is the ‘buckling’ or inability of your knee to bear your weight. It is common among ladies caused by muscle imbalance, stiffness, and misalignment of the legs.
A hamstring injury can cause pain at the back of the knee, especially in a hamstring muscle tear.
Named because the common symptom is knee pain after running but it includes walking, skiing, biking, jumping, and soccer. A commonly used term to describe pain around the knee cap or patella due to inflammation of soft tissues of the knee, worn or torn cartilage as well as strained tendons.
Osteoarthritis Knee Pain
As mentioned earlier, osteoarthritis of the knee is a major risk when one ages, especially after the age of 45years. However, young people are not immune to this condition. It can run in the family, the result of injury, infection, or from being overweight.
What causes knee osteoarthritis?
Factors that increase the risk of knee osteoarthritis are:
- Age: Cartilage takes longer or even unable to heal as a person ages.
- Weight: A heavier person places a lot more stress on the knees, made worse since the shock-absorbing cartilage has been depleted.
- Family gene: Abnormalities in the shape of bones around the knee joint can be inherited and make a person more susceptible to osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Gender: Ladies aged 55years and above are more at risk of knee osteoarthritis.
- Occupational hazard: Some jobs may cause an overuse of the knee in kneeling, squatting, lifting heavy weights (30kg or more) which leads to the early development of osteoarthritis of the knee.
- Athletics: Regular exercise strengthens muscle and joints that leads to a decrease in osteoarthritis. However, some intense sports like soccer, futsal, tennis, martial arts, and basketball make great demands on the legs to make sudden bursts of twisting action can cause injuries and a higher risk of knee osteoarthritis. Also, a runner’s knee can develop due to long-distance running, endurance races, and ultramarathons.
- Other illnesses eg. Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common type of arthritis which can lead to osteoarthritis. It is an autoimmune inflammatory disease where the immune system attacks its own healthy cells.
Which of the above pain do you experience? Have you consulted a doctor or specialist and the above terms are familiar to you?
Well, there are some things you can do to alleviate your pain, swelling, or discomfort. How far you need to go depends very much on the severity of your knee pain.
Conventional treatments of knee joint pain
If your knee problem is mild, often rest will help the knee to get better on its own.
Other measures that can help speed up healing are in the acronym: R.I.C.E.
- Rest. Time away from training or intense activity.
- Ice. Apply on affected areas surrounding the knee, 15mins every 3-4hrs for a few days till pain dissipates.
- Compress. Use knee bands, elastic straps, or sleeves to wrap the joint to reduce swelling.
- Elevate. Put a pillow under your knee or heel when sitting or lying down to minimize swelling.
Other treatments for knee pain include:
- Weight reduction and exercise
- Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy. Physiotherapy helps to strengthen muscles and increase the flexibility of joints. An occupational therapist teaches ways to perform daily occupational tasks and activities with less pain.
- Alternative therapies eg. supplementation, acupuncture & topical creams
- Supportive devices eg. braces
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) eg. Ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or pain killers like acetaminophen
- Knee injections. Most commonly used is corticosteroids, which will be discussed below
- Surgery eg. knee replacements
Supplements & topical creams for natural knee pain remedy
The 2 Steps for Natural Knee Pain Relief
Step 1: Topical application using Emu Oil Balm from Emu Tracks
Emu oil is derived from the fat of the emu bird in Australia.
It has been part of the aborigines’ medicinal tradition for centuries before the white man commercialized it.
Benefits of Emu Oil
- 100% Natural Emu Oil with plant extracts
- Powerful anti-inflammatory
- Penetrates skin easily
- Reduces swelling & redness due to injuries
- Reduces joint & arthritic pain
- Effective relief of muscle tightness & strains
- No additives, synthetic chemicals
Step 2: Emu Oil Capsules Supplement
Research shows that emu oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory and consuming it helps target inflammation, swelling, arthritis, gout, and joint pain.
100% therapeutic and food-grade, pure Emu Oil
A natural source of Omega 3, 6, 7 & 9, and
Vitamins A, D, E, F & K2
Benefits of Emu Oil Capsules
Effective relief of arthritic, muscle, and joint pain
Reduce inflammation related to knee and joint pains
Maintenance of general well-being
No additives, synthetic chemicals, or coloring
Optional: Replace Balm with Emu Tracks Liniment which serves the same purpose as a natural remedy for muscle and joint pain.
Knee Surgery: Corticosteroid Injection and Knee Replacements
The following article by Harvard Medical School may shed light on the side effects and what to expect in getting a cortisone shot.
Pros of cortisone knee injections
- “corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatories that can do a lot to relieve pain”
- “cortisone only treats symptoms”
Cons of cortisone knee injections
- the side effects are a drawback
- deplete bone and have other systemic effects
- as arthritis gets worse, cortisone shots become less effective
- Injected cortisone, which is often combined with lidocaine, a short-acting pain reliever, sometimes clumps into crystals and may worsen pain rather than relieve it
- Repeated shots can eventually damage skin and other tissues
- Small amounts of cortisone that have been injected into a joint can get into the rest of the body and have hormone-like effects that make diabetes harder to control
- slight risk of the shots leading to an infection of the joint
Knee pain can be a complex issue due to the joints, bones, ligaments, and connecting muscle tissues.
As a result, there can be many causes leading to knee pain.
The good news is that there are various options to knee pain treatments depending on the root cause.
So, getting an accurate diagnosis from a healthcare professional is critical.
However, there are also many natural home remedies or self-help for your knee pain.
In most cases, doctors would also recommend that a person try non-invasive treatments for severe knee pain before deciding to go for a knee injection under the knife.
For the most obvious reasons that invasive knee surgery carries risk and there are side effects from treatments with steroids, oral or injected.