How to Treat Knee Pain
Knee pain is not something that should be ignored or toughed out. Pain is a warning signal from the body that something is wrong. Ignoring this signal is foolish and can have some serious consequences.
For instance, tearing a ligament or meniscus in the knee and playing through the pain can extend the recovery time for getting back to optimal performance as this may well cause further damage to the knee joint. Not to mention, this damage can increase your risk of chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis down the road. Some sources of knee pain such as a tumor or deep vein thrombosis can even threaten limb vitality or cause a stroke.
For this reason, if giving the knee a break does not bring knee pain relief, you should consult with a doctor or other medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and an appropriate course of treatment for knee pain relief.
Thankfully, there are home remedies for knee pain that are quite effective for a number of knee injuries, such as a strained hamstring, minor cartilage damage or a strained patella tendon (also known as jumper’s knee).
Home Remedies for Knee Pain
The go-to knee joint pain treatment is following the steps of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Besides rest, it is usually helpful to ice the affected area and to provide compression to ease painful inflammation. Elevating the leg can also be helpful to this end.
Some may find a knee wrap or knee pain brace helpful toward ensuring the leg is rested and the providing targeted compression for pain relief. See our blog for more on the benefits of knee bracing for rehab.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can also be a helpful supplement for treating knee pain and getting swelling under control.
There are also a number of stretches, range-of-motion exercises and strength training drills you can engage in as knee pain remedies, but these should not be undertaken without instructions from a professional. Certain exercises and stretches can actually cause more damage to the knee joint. You may find a knee brace helpful during such physical therapy for the support and stability it can provide.
The same can be said for when you get back to the activities you enjoy. For instance, runners’ knee is a fairly common phenomenon that causes pain around the kneecap. This is sometimes due to a mistracking patella (knee cap). There are a number of knee braces for patellofemoral pain syndrome (a type of runners’ knee) that can help keep the kneecap on the correct path and are effective as an anterior knee pain treatment.
Invasive Knee Pain Remedies
For some knee conditions, knee pain treatment at home is not an option or is ineffective. For instance, if an individual tears one of the four major ligaments of the knee (the ACL, PCL, LCL or MCL) surgery and/or extensive physical therapy with a professional will be needed to treat knee pain and get the knee back to its pre-injury performance level. View our ACL Braces for ACL Tears. In either case, a brace for knee pain relief and the stability may be needed.
Other knee pain treatment options that fall under the more invasive category include knee pain treatment injections, such as a corticosteroid or joint lubricant injection for arthritis knee pain treatment, are helpful for some. Again, there are orthotics for knee pain related to the various forms of arthritis that can supplement chronic knee pain treatment.
For a few conditions, such as popliteal artery entrapment, the only knee joint pain treatment option is surgery. Thankfully, there are a number of post-operation braces for knee pain that can speed along the recovery process. (Check out the article “The Advantages of Arthroscopic Knee Surgery.”)
Other Knee Pain Treatments
Sometimes, the underlying cause of knee pain is not even related to the knee joint. For instance, you might have a mineral imbalance, a compressed disc in the spine or circulatory issues that are causing discomfort in the knee. In those cases, the underlying condition can be addressed via medication, therapy, supplements and the like to get rid of or manage the knee pain symptom.
The Best Treatment for Knee Pain: Prevention
Suffering a knee injury once in life increases your risk of another injury down the road as well as that of developing osteoarthritis. Therefore, it is well worth taking steps to prevent an injury from occurring in the first place.
When taking part in an athletic activity, it is important to stretch and warm up. Wearing proper gear for a given activity, especially supportive shoes that are suited to your gait, is also important for preventing a knee injury.
As a side note, wearing supportive shoes for everyday activity is also important to overall foot and knee health. (For more, see “Find the Right Running Shoes.) Shoe insoles for knee pain or other orthotics may well work as a treatment option.
Another safe practice for preventing a knee injury when working out is to gradually ease into any increases in workout intensity or duration. Imbalanced muscles are also a common culprit for knee pain, especially runners’ knee. Therefore, strength training to achieve balanced leg muscles can be an effective knee pain running treatment as well as a preventive measure.
More generally speaking, obesity, smoking or a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of a number of knee injuries as well as medical conditions that are associated with knee pain. Addressing any shortfalls on this front can also be helpful in making sure you do not experience knee pain.