Knee pain is a problem that is more present in women than men, especially in middle-aged and older women. In the recent period many young men and women have started experiencing knee pain due to the specific modern lifestyle. This process starts long before the pain occurs. In many cases, knee pain indicates the beginning of arthosis – cartilage wear. Luckily, this pain can be eased or even removed by using certain knee pain relief methods. But, before we go into details it is probably a good idea to talk about the structure of the knee and its function.
The knee is one of most complex and largest joints in the body. The knee connects the thigh bone or femur to the lower leg bone or tibia. The smaller bone that lies beside the tibia and patella make the other bones that form the knee joint.
The tendons connect the bones of the knee to the leg muscles, which enable the mobility and flexibility of the knee joint. Ligaments are attached to knee bones and provide stability and support to the knee. Anterior cruciate ligament prevents the femur from slipping back over the upper part of the tibia while the posterior cruciate ligament prevents the femur from slipping forward over the upper part of tibia. In addition, there are lateral and middle collateral ligaments, two cartilage elements and few other structures that support the knee.
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Knees have a crucial role in maintain an upright body position and they experience greater pressure when we are running, walking and jumping. Knee pain is a very common problem today and comes as a result of practicing sport or as a result of daily use and stress.
Locating the problem
It is important to understand that the pain is just a sign that something is wrong. In other words, it is crucial to locate the problem and treat the problem itself not the pain. So, those looking for knee pain relief should first look for the reason behind this problem and some of these reasons include the aging process, inherited poor quality of the tendons, improper moving, common cold etc. This means that the problem is usually located above the knee. The problem can begin in the lumbar-sciatica parts and descend to the knee across the back or front lineage.
Of course, many people have these problems because of injuries that happened in the past. In most cases where the knee has damaged or torn ligaments and meniscus, experts suggest surgical knee pain treatment.
Knee pain relief tips
As previously mentioned, there is more than one way to ease the pain in the knees and we will present four best knee pain relief techniques.
Strengthening the muscles
Strong muscles provide support to the knee and it is especially useful to work on the quadriceps. This muscle supports the patella (kneecap) and joint tendons. One of the reasons why women experience more problems with their knees than men is the fact that they have weaker muscles.
Individuals who are frequently walking provide protection to the cartilage and long-term physical activity soothes the pain. By regular pressure and relaxation of the knees people will allow the cartilage to get rid of the products that come as a result of exchanging matter. The best results can be seen from even movements which don’t put extra pressure on the joint like cycling for example. Swimming is another good exercise.
Relax the knees
Improper posture, for example wearing high heels, leads to pressure to the cartilage. Experts suggest walking barefoot whenever it is possible. When people are out of their homes, they should wear flat footwear with soft soles. Sitting for a long period of time with bend knees presents a real stress to the knees because the cartilage remains without supply of nutrients. That’s why it is a good idea to stand up for few minutes every once in a while. It is also a good idea to keep the legs elevated.
Getting rid of acid
Eating too many sweets, candies, coffee, meat and alcohol can create high level of acid content in the body. These acids are accumulating in the cartilage and cause irritation, which means that it is not unusual to experience inflammation. In order to get rid of extra acid, people need to balance their diet. For example, eating fruit and vegetables for at least three times a day should balance the pH value. Selenium and vitamin E are very important for proper cartilage metabolism.
Knee pain treatment
Knee pain treatment depends on the type and seriousness of the injury/problem. Many knee injuries can heal spontaneously or they can be treated at home. The basic advice before every treatment takes place is to keep the knees relaxed and avoid adding extra pressure. Use a bag of ice over the knee; keep your legs elevated etc. Analgesics like Ibuprofen can help you ease the pain and swelling. There are several situations in which experts recommend visiting a doctor and here is a list of some of these situations:
– The injured knee cannot cope with any pressure
– The knee looks deformed
– The knee is stiff and produces cracking sound
– Severe pain even if the patient doesn’t use the knee
– Increased temperature, burning sensation or redness in this area
– The knee pain lasts even after three days of home treatment
The doctor will perform a professional examination of the knee and may need additional tests like blood analysis or nuclear magnetic resonance. Knee pain treatment may include physical therapy, analgesics or even arthroscopy – a micro surgical method which involves penetration of the knee with a device with mounted micro camera that can help determine the exact extent of damage.
The healing period depends on the type and seriousness of the situation. Professional athletes should practice physical activity that doesn’t create pressure on the knee like swimming for example.
Whilst it is true that knee pain sometimes cannot be avoided, taking preventive measures like stretching, warming up and relaxing can certainly be helpful.