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Essential Tips for Finding Knee Pain Relief|anatomy of the knee|ice on knee

Health & Wellness

Essential Tips for Finding Knee Pain Relief

Knee pain is something that a lot of people suffer from, either because of a sports injury or an accident or because of general wear and tear on the joints. When knee pain strikes, it can be difficult to figure out what is causing it and how to stop it. The good news is that there are some simple strategies that can reduce the pain that you feel, and make day-to-day life easier overall.

anatomy of the knee The Structure of the Knee

There are several tendons and ligaments in the knee, and the joint itself, while a “simple hinge” has a few moving parts. Pain can occur when the patella is displaced, if the ligaments are damaged, or if the medial or lateral meniscus becomes damaged.

The good news is that the human body is quite resilient. If you were to suffer a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament or a rupture of the medial meniscus (both common sports injuries), then you would likely still be able to use your knee once the initial trauma has healed. 1

Partial tears can heal, and full tears can be repaired, although depending on the tear some people may opt to work around it, strengthening supporting muscles to retain range of motion.

ice on knee Knee Pain Relief and Rehabilitation

The best way to reduce knee pain is to strengthen the muscles around the knee and to put less stress on the knee whenever possible. Immediately after the injury, you should follow the PRICE protocol. Protect the knee, rest it, use ice to reduce inflammation, use compression or support if it helps, and keep the leg elevated.

Try to avoid putting weight on the injured leg immediately after the injury. 2 It should become apparent quite quickly whether or not the injury is going to get better on its own or if you should seek professional medical advice. If your knee is very painful, if you cannot straighten it, you experience numbness or tingling elsewhere, or the joint “locks” or feels unstable then it’s important that you consult with a medical professional.

Once any immediate pain from the injury has subsided and treated by your medical professional, it's likely that you might experience some aches and pains when walking long distances or that you will have flare-ups at night. While you're waiting for the pain to heal it's a good idea to try to get plenty of rest.

You will want to keep the knee mobile, once it is safe to do so because this will stop the muscles in your leg from atrophying. Even if you don't have a sports injury and just have “bad knees” trying to stay active, within reason, can be beneficial. Additionally, try swimming, if you find that walking is just too painful for your knees to handle.

Protecting Your Knees

In the long term, you can reduce the stress on your knees by maintaining a healthy weight. Even people who are at the upper end of “healthy” in terms of BMI could benefit from a small reduction in body weight (staying within the healthy range) if they have knee problems. 3 The reason for this is simple. Every pound you carry exerts a lot of extra force on your knees when you walk.

That's not to say that you should crash diet to lose weight. Making simple changes to your lifestyles such as eating more vegetables and lean proteins, and swapping sugary drinks for water or unsweetened tea can make a huge difference for your well-being. You may benefit from better overall health, and more energy as well as potentially enough of a difference in your weight to reduce the strain on your knees.

In addition to reducing the body weight your knees carry, you can reduce the strain by strengthening your legs by being active. Wearing good shoes can also help provide knee pain relief. Flat shoes with good soles will allow you to walk more naturally and will help you stay active without straining your knees.

Avoid running if you have knee troubles, especially running on pavements or roads. If you have good running shoes, then you may be able to run on grass or a nice modern track, however, there are plenty other forms of exercise that you can do that will not strain your joints. 4 It is wise to stay active while working within your limitations. Trying to do exercises when you are in pain will just set you up for even more joint issues later in your life.

Final Thoughts

Your knees are a much more important part of your body than you might think and do a decent amount of the “heavy lifting” when it comes to exercise and day-to-day life. Because of this, it’s extra important to protect them to ensure that you stay strong, happy, and healthy in both the short and long term.

Photo credits: Teeradej/, S. Mahanantakul/, NiranPhonruang/

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