Knee Pain: Overview, Symptoms & Home Remedies for Treatment

Knee Pain: Overview, Symptoms & Home Remedies for Treatment

Reviewed By

Dr. Kshama Dhawan (MSc (Sports Therapy))

Anatomy of the Knee Joint: Overview

The knee is one of the body's biggest and most complicated joints. The human knee is a hinge joint made up of the tibia (shin) and the femur (thighbone). Additionally, it is a joint that connects the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia). The other bones that make up the knee joint are the fibula (the smaller bone that runs beside the tibia) and the patella (kneecap). In the front of the knee, the patella, or kneecap, is placed. Four ligaments support the knee joint. The knee has two shock absorbers, each known as a meniscus.

The knee is a hinge joint that bears weight and allows for mobility. Bones, meniscus, ligaments, and tendons make up this structure. The knee is intended to perform a variety of tasks, including supporting the body in an upright position without the need for muscles.

Signs and Symptoms of a Knee Joint Injury: Identification

Knee pain is a frequent ailment that can result from both short- and long-term issues. Many short-term knee ailments may not necessitate medical intervention, and patients can often assist in their own healing. Knee pain can be brought on by repeated stress, strain, or damage. It happens from time to time for maybe no apparent cause or due to some history of injury. 

  • You may feel functional constraints as a result of knee discomfort, such as difficulties walking, rising from a sitting position, or climbing and walking down the stairs.

  • Noticing some swelling and stiffness around the knee joint.

  • While sitting or standing there is a popping or crunching noise.

  • Instability or fragility in the knees.

  • Knees are unable to straighten, bend, or flex.

  • When the knee is in use, there is a sharp, shooting pain.

Risk Factors & Precautions

Knee pain affects people of all ages and is a frequent problem. An injury to the knee, such as a burst ligament or torn cartilage, can cause discomfort. Knee discomfort can also be caused by medical disorders such as arthritis, gout, and infections. Pain, inflammation, and other symptoms that are mentioned above can arise when the components of the knee are not functioning properly. 

Trauma or a medical condition might cause issues. As a result, one may have moderate to severe discomfort in the affected area, necessitating prompt medical care to determine the reason and the best course of therapy for healing and recovery.

For many, knee pain is due to osteoarthritis, a chronic degenerative condition that causes inflammation of the joints due to the gradual destruction of the cartilage of the knee. Anything from knee osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis to knee injuries, including ligament or meniscus injuries, can cause knee pain. In fact, the wear and tear of everyday life can put stress on the knees, causing a lot of pain. When you cannot use or bend your knee painlessly, it can cause many problems in your daily life.

Following are the risk factors that keep knee pain around the corner:

  • Carrying an Excessive Amount of Weight:

As you gain weight, your joints and cartilage that protects your bones are put under more strain. It's critical to keep a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) since your knees are responsible for holding the complete weight of your body whether you stand, walk, or run. The extra fat in your body can also trigger chemicals in your blood that cause inflammation in your joints.

  • Lack of Physical Activity:

The muscles that support the knees will weaken as a result of being inactive for a long period of time. Hence, they lose their ability to support your weight, resulting in increased joint discomfort. Exercise will not increase your joint pain and stiffness, contrary to popular belief. Lack of activity might actually aggravate joint pain and stiffness. This is because maintaining the strength of your muscles and surrounding tissue is essential for sustaining bone support.

  • Muscle and Joint Overuse:

Overworking or straining a tendon as a result of knee trauma might result in damage. Knee discomfort can be caused by inflammation, tendinitis, or ruptures. Tendon injuries can be caused by actions that use the tendons, such as running, jumping, and lifting heavy objects. The bursa on top of your kneecap might be injured by overuse, falls, or frequent bending and kneeling. This causes discomfort and inflammation.

  • Joint Misalignment:

Knee joint misalignments are also a major cause of knee pain. The weak yet tight muscles surrounding the joint are the concern. An incorrectly aligned kneecap may result from a tight thigh/quadriceps muscle.

  • Putting on the Wrong Footwear:

Walking shoes aren't all created equal. Certain forms of footwear might potentially cause joint injury. High heels, for example, might put more pressure on the front of your foot and even your toes.

Instead, a walking shoe that is flexible and stretchy are the right pairs. Shoes that are overly rigid or stiff tend to limit the mobility in your foot. Also, a shoe with a thinner sole reduces the overall pressure and load that is placed on your knees.

Some flat shoes have little support, which can cause tendons and ligaments around the bottom of the foot to overstretch. Overstretching can cause the arch of your foot to collapse, putting pressure on your knees.

How to Treat Knee Joint Pain?: Diagnosis

Treatment options will differ based on the cause of your knee discomfort. Firstly, if the symptoms are very prominent and it is disturbing your daily courses then consulting a doctor is very critical. If you have an accident that may require surgery, you don't always need to have it done right away.

During the physical examination, your doctor is likely to conduct the following:

  1.  Look for swelling, soreness, tenderness, warmth, and apparent bruises in your knee.

  2.  Measure how far your lower leg can move in different directions.

  3.  Examine the knee joint by pushing on it or pulling it to determine how strong the integrity of the structures are.

Many medications can effectively treat knee pain and make everyday life easier and more comfortable. Some people find that taking a daily supplement can reduce chronic pain in the knee joint. Oral pain relievers can temporarily relieve pain in the knee. However, with medications, it is suggested for the patient to follow the home remedies as well.

Most Effective Treatment for Treating Knee Joint Pain at Home: Home Remedies

1. Regular Exercise:

Exercise should be your primary treatment option for knee discomfort. Exercise on a daily basis might help you retain muscle strength and mobility. It's a critical element in the treatment of knee pain and the reasons for knee discomfort. Resting or restricting movement in the leg may help you avoid pain, but it can also harden the joint and slow recovery. 

Whether or not a person has knee discomfort, being physically active improves cartilage tissue health. Leg muscle strengthening is extremely advantageous to the knees. Exercise is a safe and effective technique to relieve minor knee discomfort caused by overuse, arthritis, or other factors.

Getting exercise when your knees are sore may seem like the most difficult thing you can do, but it's also the most beneficial. It improves flexibility and strength, as well as joint pain and exhaustion. The muscles that support your knee joint can be strengthened with gentle stretching and strengthening activities. Stronger muscles can help your knee joint move more readily by reducing the impact and tension on it.

2. Physiotherapy:

Your physiotherapist may be the first person you contact if you are experiencing knee pain. Physiotherapy-based knee rehab regimens have been shown to reduce pain intensity and enhance knee function in studies. 

The goal of physiotherapy is to increase the flexibility and mobility of the knee joints. It also aids in the management of knee discomfort, the strengthening of muscles around the knee joints, the reversal of damage, and the prevention of further bouts of pain and injury.

The severity of the injury to the knee and the final diagnosis determine the course of treatment for knee pain. A physiotherapist can help you establish a programme that includes stretches, range-of-motion exercises, and muscle-strengthening activities. Knee discomfort can be avoided and mobility can be maintained by working with your physiotherapist.

Physiotherapists talk about how to re-establish leg and knee strength and movement so that you can feel more confident and go back to doing the activities you enjoy. Physiotherapists also examine the cause behind your knee pain in order to start the treatment process.

You'll begin to strengthen your leg muscles, which will relieve some of the load on your knee and reduce your pain. The physiotherapist will offer you exercises to practise at home and demonstrate how to do so safely. Physiotherapists suggest exercises like straight leg raises, wall squats, step-ups, quad sets, lower extremity sets, and more throughout their treatment. 

PRICE Therapy is a very popular form of therapy used to treat muscle injuries and joint pains that consists of five steps:

a. Protection:

A painful or unstable knee increases the chance of a fall, which can lead to more damage to the knee. Hence, protecting your knee while you are facing difficulties is very crucial in order to prevent further damages. 

Crutches, a cane, or hiking poles, for example, can help protect an injured leg or foot by reducing or eliminating weight-bearing. Protecting the damaged area by partially immobilising it with a sling, splint, or brace is another option.

b. Rest:

Rest is necessary for healing to take place. Activities that stress the damaged area to the point of pain or that may hinder or prevent healing should be avoided. Many sports medicine specialists, on the other hand, prefer the phrase "relative rest," which refers to rest that allows for healing while neither impeding nor slowing recovery. 

However, some mobility is healthy. It has been proven that gentle, pain-free range-of-motion and simple isometric contractions of the joints and muscles surrounding an injury can hasten recovery.

c. Ice:

The use of cold therapies, also known as cryotherapy, to treat acute injuries is referred to as ice here. The use of ice is indicated to help minimise and reduce swelling as well as pain. Cryotherapy can be used in a variety of ways at home. 

An easy and convenient way to treat this condition is to place a bag of crushed ice on a towel over the affected area. It's critical to keep the skin protected and limit cold exposure to 10 to 15 minutes. Longer periods of continuous ice application have been found to be less effective and dangerous than cycles of 10 to 15 minutes on and 1 to 2 hours off.

d. Compression:

The use of a compression wrap around the knee, to provide an external force to wounded tissue is known as compression. This compression helps to reduce oedema while also providing some support.

The application of an elastic bandage necessitates significant attention to detail. Starting a few inches below the injury, wrap it in a figure-eight or spiralling pattern to a few inches above the affected area. To give enough, but not too constrictive compression, a medium amount of tension should be applied.

Numbness, tingling, or a change in the colour of the soft tissue should not be caused by the bandage. If this occurs, loosening the bandage should soon ease them. For sleeping, it's usually advisable to remove or slightly loosen the elastic bandage and repeat the same on the next day.

e. Elevation:

Elevation is advised to assist prevent fluid from pooling in the damaged extremity or joint. Controlling oedema can assist reduce pain and restrict the range of motion loss, perhaps reducing recovery time.

Elevating the injured knee above the heart is accomplished by positioning the area above the heart. The elevation is known to alleviate pain and inflammation in the knees.

In the first 24 to 48 hours, it's usually best to keep the injured limb elevated for the majority of the waking hours and sleep with it propped up on additional pillows. The continued periodic elevation is recommended if considerable swelling persists after 24 to 48 hours or if swelling recurs throughout recovery.

3. Evaluating Posture and Support:

If you are physically active or participate in sports, you may require workouts to correct movement patterns that are harming your knees and to create proper technique while participating in your sport or activity.

Make sure to follow these measures as they help in maintaining posture and provide support to your knees.

  • Stay away from low-slung chairs and couches that cause you to "sink."

  • Sitting on a pillow to elevate your seating level, if necessary, and ensure that you have an appropriate sitting posture (no slouching or leaning).

  • Avoid extended sitting and long periods of inactivity, as joints can stiffen and become painful if they are not moved.

4. Applying Heat or Cold Compress:

Heat or cold treatment can provide immediate and short-term relief from knee pain. A heating pad can relieve pain when the knee is at rest. Heat therapy can reduce pain and improve circulation in and around the knee joint. Ice therapy numbs the area that relieves strain and pain.

If your knee muscles are sore or stiff, or you have arthritis, you can use heat for some relief. In case of inflammation, you can use an ice pack or place ice cubes in a clean cloth and place them on your knee, as they can relieve pain, inflammation, and swelling. Warm showers alleviate knee pain as they ease stiff joints.

5. Balanced Diet and Weight:

A painful or unstable knee increases the chance of a fall, which can lead to more damage to the knee. Obesity can also be one of the culprits for knee pain, as being overweight can put stress on your joints in addition to arthritis and gout. If you have long-term health problems that cause knee pain, you can probably relieve your symptoms and reduce stress on your joints through weight management. 

Consuming a balanced nutritious diet plays a vital role in joint health. Knee pain is also caused by the lack of some nutrients, hence adding healthy nutrients to your diet adds to the internal healing process.

6. Supportive Footwear:

Wearing supportive shoes and avoiding shoes with broken arches, can cause abnormal force and stress on the knees.

7. Adequate Amount of Rest:

Taking proper rest and providing your knee with some much-needed comfort by cushioning plays an important role in healing. The effectiveness of rest is to reduce the risk of further injury while promoting healing.

Conclusion

The knee joint is one of the most difficult to maintain in the body, which is why it's so vulnerable to damage and other chronic problems that cause knee discomfort. Physiotherapy exercises for the knee are designed to build knee stability by strengthening the muscles around the joint. The key is to start slowly and stop if the pain gets worse, the goal is to reduce discomfort and overworking a sensitive joint can do more harm than good. 

Knee pain can interfere with daily activities, such as exercising, climbing stairs, and doing housework. Lack of exercise can make your joints more painful and stiff. Painful knee pain can flare up after increased physical activity or strenuous exercise. Immobility of the knee can cause the knee to become stiff, making the pain worse and making daily activities difficult. When you cannot use or bend your knee painlessly, it can cause many problems in your daily life. All of these pointers literally prove the importance and effectiveness of physiotherapy and exercise in treating knee pain.

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