Some Key Facts About Knee Pain

Some Key Facts About Knee Pain

Being crucial for mobility and stability in both athletics and everyday life, it's no surprise that the knee is one of the joints most likely to sustain injury, both serious and minor.

And the "harder you go", the more likely you are to sustain a knee injury. In fact, many of out successful athletes have dealt with major knee injuries. That's the bad news.

The good new is, due to new techniques in treating these injuries many of these athletes are able to return to the fields of friendly strife faster, stronger, and better than ever.

And with these new techniques (coupled with the strategies espoused by the concept of activity preservation), we are also able take these same techniques and help you continue to participate in the activities that you love.

Unfortunately, knee injuries aren't limited to our top athletes.  Most of us are likely to experience some type of knee pain during our lives. 

So, let's answer some of the basic questions you may have about knee pain, symptoms of arthritis, and how to treat them. 

Why Does My Knee Hurt? 

You don’t have to sustain a dramatic injury to experience knee pain— sometimes the everyday grind coupled with playing recreational sports can result in knee pain.
— Dr. Sterett

AN INJURY

If you you've got pain, swelling, and discomfort in the knee, there could be a major injury at the root of it all, whether it be from performing in athletics or just via some unfortunate circumstance. Sometimes you'll be able to clearly identify when the injury occurred, and sometimes it might be something that arose without the indication of a major trauma.

OVERUSE OF THE KNEE 

As active human beings, we do everything from walking to running to biking to skiing, and the list goes on and on.  And during all of these activities, our knees are doing the work to provide the stability and support we need.

All of this work over the course of time can lead to a gradual rise in knee pain due to constant use. 

A CHRONIC, UNDERLYING CONDITION

Arthritis is an example of a chronic, underlying condition that can lead to increased levels of knee pain.

For instance, for either the athlete or the everyday joe, once the articular cartilage in the knee is gone, “arthritis” (the phenomenon of bone rubbing on bone) becomes a problem.  

For more about this, check out the video below on the topic of articular cartilage.

What you can do to alleviate knee pain

The knees are one of the fulcrums of stability when it comes to your body. If you are having trouble standing or walking on your knee and experience a loss of stability in the joint, it could be bad enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.
— Dr. Sterett

When it comes to minor soreness, there are two major things that you can do at home to reduce the swelling in your knee (outside of taking a painkiller such as ibuprofen).

RESTING THE KNEE  

A program of rest can be crucial in removing regular strain from your knee. Getting off the knee for even a short period of time allows the joint to take a break from the action and alleviate pain.

ICING

Have you ever seen a behind-the-scenes photo of an NBA or NFL locker room? Chances are you’ll see several players with huge bags of ice wrapped around their knees. That’s because icing is an easy way to alleviate knee pain.
— Dr. Sterett
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You've definitely heard of athletes icing the heck out their knees, even during games and competitions. That's because it works. So don't be afraid to snag yourself an ice pack and park your butt in front of the tv or with your favorite book if you've got knee pain.

When Should you See A Doctor for Knee Pain?

If you have major injury or chronic arthritis that is holding you back from participating in the activities you love, it's time to give us a call.  Here's when you should contact a doctor:

If Your Knee Pain Lasts for More 48 Hours

Ask yourself whether the pain is coming from the joint, or the muscle. If it's a muscle problem, the pain probably won't be lasting for more than 48 hours, meaning it may be the joint. Time to get it checked out.

The Knee Looks “Wrong”

If one knee looks "wrong" when you compare it to the opposite knee, this may also be an indication that you have a problem.

If Swelling Lasts More Than 48 Hours

An acute injury will cause swelling about the injury itself. Loss of motion and severe limitations in mobility will accompany this swelling. Call a doctor.

Note: sometimes swelling can be noted visually, and one other occasions you can't see it with the naked eye.  Pain coupled with stiffness or clicking as injured tendons snap over one another are all indications that something is wrong. 

The knees are one of the fulcrums of stability when it comes to your body. If you are having trouble standing or walking on your knee and experience a loss of stability in the joint, it could be bad enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.
— Dr. Sterett

INSTABILITY/LACK OF SUPPORT FROM THE KNEE

The knees are one of the fulcrums of stability when it comes to your body. If you are having trouble standing or walking on your knee and experience a loss of stability in the joint, it could be bad enough to warrant a visit to the doctor.

Likewise if you feel as if your knee won't even support you when you put weight upon it.

Remember, in this day and age there are usually a plethora of skilled orthopedic surgeons in your area. If you have persistent pain, don't be afraid to pay one a visit.

Good luck!

Dr. Sterett


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