Best ways to manage knee pain
Knee pain is often the result of arthritis in the tibiofemoral joint or patellofemoral joint. The best ways to manage arthritis in knees are keep them moving in a pain free manner, support the knee from the ground up, and strengthen.
Pain free activity allows the knee to activate the synovial fluid, the viscous fluid that reduces friction in the joint.
Finding activities that are pain-free is the key. If walking is not painful, it is an option. If walking is painful, then bicycling, walking, and exercising in water that is chest deep are great options.
Supporting the knee from the ground up includes utilizing custom orthotics like Foot Levelers brand that provide stability and proper alignment, soft braces made of ace or neoprene material can also improve proprioception and stability. Strengthening the truck, hip, knee, and ankle will take some of the pressure off the knee joint. Some of the hip muscles also go through the knee joint, making hip strengthening essential for knee stability.
A patient came into the clinic last week limping with knee pain and asked:
"I've had this knee pain for a few weeks now, I'm not sure what I've done to it but I've tried taking paracetamol and that didn't help. I was trying to rest it so that it wouldn't hurt, but whenever I stood up and started moving, it hurt again so I had to sit down. Now I'm wearing a brace to see if that helps, but I can still feel the pain when I take it off. Is there anything else I can do to get rid of the pain?"
I know how frustrating it can be when you're not sure what you've done to hurt your knee, and even more frustrating when everything you're trying to do to get rid of the pain - doesn't do a thing to make it feel any better.
Everyone always thinks and hopes that there will be a "quick fix" to their problem.
And because we see people confused, fed-up and even skeptical about what can be done to help with their knee pain, I wanted to address this idea of "quick fixes" for your knees - or for any joint problem, whether it's your knees, back, neck, wherever, and tell you why they're no good.
With that said here's the 3 most common "Quick Fixes" that people THINK ease their knee pain, but that actually do the opposite:
1. Reaching for Painkillers
When you're in pain, let’s face it, one of the easiest things to do is reach for the painkillers to "kill" the pain, quick.
It's also unfortunately the first option that your Doctor or GP will give you to help your knee pain.
But the thing is painkillers won't get to the root cause of your problem and actually do anything to fix it - they just mask the pain instead, which doesn't help anyone.
And at the end of the day, that pain will still be there when the painkillers wear off. So it's better to do something to fix your pain long-term instead.
When pain strikes, it's very tempting to do nothing but rest "in case the pain gets worse", which means many people end up laying on the sofa watching their favorite TV shows...
But when it comes to knee pain, 'rest' actually means to not do 'too much'.
If you rest too much (A.K. not move much at all), your joints will become stiff and tight, which can make your knees feel even more achy when you try to move them.
To actually help your knee, you could go swimming, go for a light walk, yoga or go for a cycle - basically any low impact exercise will help keep you moving and not place any added pressure on your knees.
3.) Wearing a Support
Things like knee supports should ONLY be used as a last minute resort.
Wearing a support on your knee on a daily basis to try and ease the pain is actually masking the pain and creating an even bigger problem!
The best way I can explain it is to imagine you have a broken leg or arm and you have a cast put on.
After 6 weeks or so, when the cast is taken off, the muscles underneath are weak - it's exactly the same as wearing a support everyday.
Because it supports your joint, it takes the pressure off your muscles, but doing this everyday will make your muscles lazy which will make them weaker.
Once you take off that support because it's eased the pain, there's a very strong chance it could come back quicker and worse than before!
So there you have it, 3 'quick fixes' that people think ease their knee pain, but do the opposite!
Painkillers, rest, and wearing a support.
When it comes to your joints, these quick fixes are not the way forward to fix your problem long-term
If you want more information to recover from knee trouble, you can book a Discovery Visit with us to find out how to really help with the pain and not just mask it. We only have limited availability, so to make sure you secure your Discovery session in time, give us a call on: 504-313-6502, and if you know anyone who is suffering at the moment and they could benefit from this, pass our number their way to help put an end to it, quick.
Knee pain is one of the most common diagnoses that I see in the clinic and more often than not it is due to arthritis. One source states that up to 2 million of the 14 million people with knee pain from arthritis are UNDER the age 45 when diagnosed. But getting that diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to stop walking, running, or living an active life, it means you have to be active to take care of your knee joints. You have a lot of years of road life left on the knees and taking care of them now can prolong or avoid any future disability or discussion of surgery.
We help active adults get back to exercising, feeling fit, and participating in the activities they love without medications, injections, or surgery.
Catherine Courtney, PT
Specialist Physical Therapist