Do you suffer from knee pain and want to understand its causes? Or maybe you want to know how to deal with it and how to avoid it? In this article, we will discuss everything you should know about it.
Knee pain – causes
Knee pain is a common problem that can affect anyone, regardless of age or physical activity. Many factors, such as injuries, overloads, degenerative changes, Lyme disease or bacterial infections, can cause pain in the knee. Particularly at risk of injuries and overloads are exposed to people who suddenly undertake intense physical activities, without prior preparation. Knee pain can also occur in people who do standing or sitting work, are overweight or wear the wrong footwear.
Knee pain in osteoarthritis
Gonarthrosis, or osteoarthritis of the knee joint, is quite common, especially among the elderly. The increase in the risk of its occurrence is associated with overweight, age over 60 years, genetic predisposition, thyroid disorders, lack of calcium and excessive loads. Overweight and injuries are the most important causes of this disease.
Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are limitation of mobility, difficulty in movement, pain in the knee, cramping in the flexion position and swelling. These changes lead to the gradual destruction of the elements that make up the joint. Treatment can be pharmacological, spa or operative. Regardless of the method, it is important to use rehabilitation to inhibit or slow the progression of the disease, improve joint mobility and relieve pain.
Runner’s knee as a cause of knee pain
“Runner’s knee” is a condition resulting from excessive strain on the iliac-tibial ligament. Skiers, jumpers, runners and football players have the highest risk of this disease. The disease causes the formation of many microdamages, which leads to inflammation. People with this ailment experience pain in the front and outer part of the knee, which intensifies during and after movement. In more severe cases, this can hinder normal functioning.
Treatment is primarily conservative and consists of several steps. NSAIDs are first used to relieve inflammation. Subsequently, kinesiotaping, limb elevation and physical therapy are used. After a few weeks, rehabilitation begins, during which stretching of the iliac-tibial ligament is practiced.
If the disease is chronic, biostimulating treatments, such as high-energy laser, ultrasound or shock wave, are used, which stimulate repair processes. You can also use patches and exercises. In case of slow healing, platelet-rich plasma preparations can be administered, and if conservative treatment does not bring results, arthroscopy is performed.
Knee pain due to chondromalacia
Chondromalacia of the patella is the cause of knee pain, which is manifested by softening and cracking of the articular cartilage, inflammation of the knee joint. It can be caused by postural defects, sprains, loads, excessive body weight, degenerative changes and muscle tone disorders. At first, it does not give symptoms, but as it develops, severe pain, stiffness, swelling, a feeling of instability and restriction of movements appear. In severe cases, bone growths, contractures and muscle atrophy may occur.
Treatment of chondromalacia is drug therapy, change in physical activity, weight loss and rehabilitation. Injections, viscosupplementation and surgery are also possible.
Knee pain and overloads
People who lead an active lifestyle and engage in physical exertion sometimes experience pain in the knees after exercise. This is due to overloading or unbalanced load on the joints. The pain often appears in the patella area and may also be accompanied by stabbing pain in the lateral part of the knee, crackling and scratching (runner’s knee) or pain in the area of the ligament connecting the patella to the tibia (jumper’s knee). There are certain factors, such as a lack of proper warm-up, poor exercise technique, improper footwear or running on poorly chosen surfaces, that increase the risk of knee pain after physical exertion.
Knee pain and inflammation
The main symptom of knee arthritis is pain, redness, swelling, exudate, limited joint mobility and warming of the skin. In the case of this type of disease, inflammation most often also includes bursa.
One of the types of inflammation of the knee joint is exudative inflammation of the knee joint, which arises as a result of inflammation of the synovial membrane. Another type is inflammation of the patellofemoral joint, also called the knee of the moviegoer, which occurs in a situation where there is an excessive load on the patella during prolonged sitting.
In any case, in order to cure inflammation of the knee joint, a visit to the doctor and appropriate treatment is necessary. This may include the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, physiotherapy or, in more advanced cases, surgery. It is important that knee inflammation is cured as soon as possible in order to avoid more serious complications and ensure the full functionality of the knee joint.
Knee pain – when to see a doctor?
The time of the visit to the orthopedic doctor is necessary when pain in the knee hinders everyday activities, such as walking or standing. If the joint is enlarged, vividly painful and can not be moved more fully, it is worth consulting a doctor. Additional symptoms, such as the sensation of “slack” in the knee during movement, should also be a reason to immediately visit a specialist. Your doctor may recommend additional tests, such as X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI, to make an accurate diagnosis. Once the cause of the problem has been determined, the orthopedist will suggest the best treatment.
How is knee pain diagnosed?
Diagnosis of knee pain can proceed in several stages, depending on the type and severity of symptoms. First, the doctor interviews the patient, asking about the nature of the pain, its severity, duration, possible causes and other accompanying symptoms. The doctor then performs a physical examination to assess the condition of the joint and its mobility, as well as to rule out other possible causes of pain, such as injuries or infections.
Subsequently, your doctor may order additional tests, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, to get the most accurate diagnosis possible. If cartilage damage is suspected, the doctor may order an X-ray examination with contrast, which allows for an accurate imaging of the condition of the cartilage. In some cases, it may also be necessary to have a blood and urine test to rule out other possible causes of pain.
After collecting all the information and test results, the doctor is able to make a diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment. In the case of knee pain, treatment may include both pharmacological treatment and physiotherapy, rehabilitation exercises and changes in daily lifestyle such as reducing the load on the joint and avoiding actions that cause pain. In more severe cases, treatment may require surgical intervention. It is important to remember that the earlier diagnosis and treatment begins, the greater the chances of getting a full recovery
How is the magnetic resonance imaging of the knee done?
Magnetic resonance imaging of the knee lasts about half an hour and is used to assess the condition of all elements in the examined area. If the study is to include the administration of a contrast agent, the patient must abstain from food for 2 hours before the test and bring a result of blood creatinine, determining the condition of the kidneys responsible for removing contrast from the body. For tests without contrast medium and performed for a fee, no referral is required.
Home remedies for knee pain
If you have knee pain, you don’t have to reach for medication right away. There are effective home remedies for dealing with mild pain. For example, ice packs, hot water bottles, compresses of grated horseradish or cabbage leaves, and apple cider vinegar dressings are recommended. You can also prepare a bath with Epsom salt, which relieves muscle and joint pain. Also, remember to properly hydrate your body to support the effects of other measures.
If your knee is damaged, you should temporarily stop all activity and immobilize the joint. However, you should not lie idle for too long, but slowly introduce low-intensity exercises such as walking, Nordic walking and stretching. It is also recommended to strengthen the muscles of the thighs and calves to relieve the knee joint. Other recommended activities include cycling, yoga and swimming.
To prevent knee injuries and keep them in good shape, regular exercise and a healthy diet are important. The diet should be rich in protein, calcium, Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. People who are overweight and obese should shed excess pounds, and the diet should also include anti-inflammatory foods such as olive oil, ginger, garlic and turmeric. Additional supplementation, such as vitamin D and collagen, may also be indicated, especially important for bones and muscles. If the pain and swelling of the knee persists, then you should consult a doctor.
It is also worth regularly using dietary supplements that will provide essential nutrients and protect our joints from potential danger, as well as help to deal with pain. In this case, we can use Proflexen or Beflexan.
Knee pain – how to strengthen the knee joints with a diet?
To relieve knee pain, it is worth taking care of healthy and balanced nutrition. Healthy food provides our body with the nutrients it needs, which helps in its regeneration and increases resistance to infections. Proper diet can improve the quality of synovial fluid and speed up the healing process after knee injuries.
To strengthen the knee joints, the diet should include dairy, lean meats, cereals and legumes, which allows you to provide the body with the protein and calcium necessary for building bones. Eating vegetables and fruits is equally important because it provides vitamins such as C, beta-carotene and flavonoids that delay the aging of the joints.
A diet that counteracts knee pain should also include foods with anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects, such as fish oil, honey, ginseng and shark liver oil. The menu should also include products such as garlic, olive oil and ginger, which have natural anti-inflammatory properties. The diet should also include fish rich in omega-3 acids, which relieve inflammation and affect the production of tissue hormones.
What medications for inflammation of the knee joint?
For the treatment of knee arthritis, different types of drugs are used, depending on the severity of the symptoms and the type of disease. Here are some of the most commonly used medications:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): They have an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect, which can help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Glucocorticoids: These are powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs that are available in the form of injections or tablets. These drugs are often used in cases of more severe arthritis.
- Chondroprotectors: These drugs, such as glucosamine and chondroitin, are designed to strengthen and regenerate the cartilage of the joints.
- Analgesics: Such as paracetamol, which can help relieve pain and reduce discomfort.
- Other medicines: Depending on the cause of knee arthritis, your doctor may recommend other medicines, such as antirheumatic or immunosuppressive drugs, to treat the underlying disease.