Knee pain is a common complaint that affects most people at some point in their lifetime. Typically, sudden pain in the knees is the result of an injury, ligament strain or sprain. It can also occur due to overuse syndromes such as tendinitis and bursitis as well as obesity, joint inflammation, arthritis, and other medical conditions.
There are several things you can do to temporarily alleviate the pain or prevent it from worsening:
- Maintain a healthy body weight – Generally, carrying extra pounds can exert additional pressure on your knee joints, which bear the complete weight of your body, leading to pain. Overweight people have higher chances of developing knee osteoarthritis. Excess fat reduces muscle strength, straining the joints even further. To burning those extra calories and lose weight, combine low impact exercises with a healthy diet plan.
- Exercise – Talk to your doctor before choosing a work-out program. People with knee problems need to choose low-impact exercises that allow movement within the limits of pain and do not worsen the joint pain. Exercises such as walking, swimming, stationary training; elliptical machines and water aerobics are ideal options.
- Physical therapy (PT) – PT blends physiology with exercise and applies these principles to help patients to improve mobility and build joint strength and flexibility. PT includes strengthening, stretching and range-of-motion exercises that reduce joint stiffness and pain.
- Rest and relaxation – Even though physical activity is important, rest and relaxation can go a long way in reducing knee pain and promoting good health. Resting allows the body to repair itself naturally and restores energy.
- Ice/Heat therapy – Ice/heat therapy is highly recommended to ease joint pain. Heat application relaxes the muscles and ice packs lower muscle spasm, joint inflammation and swelling. In order to avoid ice burns, do not place the ice directly on the skin – instead wrap it in a towel or washcloth.
- Injections – Pain management injections such as corticosteroids help to better manage the aches. On the other hand, hyaluronic acid can help replenish lubricating substances in the knee.
- Medications – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, naproxen help reduce swelling and stiffness and control muscle spasms.
- Knee braces – Wrapping the injured or sore area with an elastic bandage or brace will help decrease swelling.
Pain in the knees may be accompanied by symptoms such as swelling and stiffness, weakness and instability, popping or crunching noises, redness and warmth to the touch and inability to fully straighten knees. The location and intensity of pain symptoms may vary based on the cause of the problem. If you notice that your knee pain has become chronic, consider professional orthopedic services.