Knee Pain: Causes, Prevention & Management
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Knee pain can be caused by a number of factors ranging from wounds and injuries to arthritis and osteoporosis. But regardless of why you have knee pain, it will almost always restrict your movement and affect your quality of life - so, it’s no surprise that millions of people are looking for ways to treat knee pain, manage knee pain, and prevent knee pain altogether.
Knee Pain: Causes
Three common causes of severe knee pain include:
- Acute injuries
- Knee ligament injuries (ACL, PCL, and MCL)
- Knee cartilage tears (meniscus tears)
- Bone fractures (including the patella or kneecap)
- Medical conditions
- Arthritis of the knee (rheumatoid, post-traumatic, or osteoarthritis)
- Chronic use or overuse conditions
- Bursitis (inflammation of the small fluid sacs meant to cushion the outside of the knee joint)
- Tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons around the knee joint)
Knee Pain: Prevention
Knee pain is an extremely common ailment and can affect people of all ages and activity levels. Here are some suggestions for preventing the onset of common knee pain:
- Wear shoes that fit
- Shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support will help you maintain proper leg alignment and balance - especially if you engage in repetitive motion activities like running or walking.
- Visit a specialty shoe store (rather than a big box store) to receive a professional fitting and guidance on shoe sizing and fit. You may be surprised by what you learn.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- It may seem obvious, but the more you weigh, the heavier (literally) the burden you place on your knees.
- Through diet and exercise, maintain a weight appropriate for your frame to decrease stress on joints like knees and hips.
- Strength Training
- Strong leg muscles will better support your knee joints; so will a stronger core.
- Be sure to consult with a trainer or other professional to recommend the best strength building moves and to be sure you are using correct form.
- Walking, elliptical machines, cycling, and swimming are great low-impact options if you’re already dealing with some knee pain due to higher impact activities.
- If you are engaging in a higher impact activity like running, avoid hard surfaces like concrete and asphalt, and try to run on softer surfaces like grass or dirt.
- Maintain flexibility
- Stretch - but do not stretch cold muscles. Before starting any exercise, warm up your muscles with light activity and then stretch. Also, always take the time to stretch after completing your exercise activity.
- Be sure to stretch your quadriceps and hamstrings (front and back of thighs) to decrease tension on your tendons and relieve pressure on your knees.
Knee Pain: Management
Prevention is obviously ideal, but if you’re already suffering from knee pain, there are different ways to help manage the pain (and avoid further injury, if that’s the case). How you manage or treat the pain will depend on the cause, and a doctor may need to give you direction on that. (If your pain is from an ACL tear, you’re going to need surgery. Tendinitis, probably not.) For most common knee pain, these methods will help:
- Rest: take a break from activities that aggravate your knees.
- Ice: cold temperatures can reduce pain and swelling; apply ice or a cold pack for 10 minutes at a time, 2-3 times a day.
- Compression: wrapping your knee with a compression bandage can help control swelling; but don’t wrap it so tightly it cuts off circulation.
- Elevation: while resting and/or icing, elevate your leg on a pillow or chair.
- Anti-Inflammatory drugs or supplements: drugs like ibuprofen can help control inflammation and pain; supplements like New Zealand greenlipped mussel have been found to have naturally-occurring anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties as well.
Ultimately, take the time to identify the cause of your knee pain - with the help of a doctor if necessary. The sooner you find the cause, the sooner you can get on the best road to recovery. When you are hopefully able to remedy your knee pain, make any changes necessary to take care of your knees and prevent the pain from returning. Click here to learn more about how the all-natural premium supplements offered by New Zealand’s Best may be able to help.
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