The knee joints are durable. They allow you to walk, run, and jump whenever you want. Because you use your knees a lot — and they take the pressure of much of your weight — they're at risk for injury and overuse.
Knee injuries and chronic knee pain are often debilitating in one way or another. You may have to sit on the sidelines for your favorite sport, or you may be unable to get up the steps to bed every night.
Knowing what to do when knee pain strikes is half the battle. Robert Douglas Bostick III, MD, and the team Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Metairie, Louisiana, are experts in treating various types of knee pain.
In this blog, Dr. Bostick explains some of the common causes of knee pain and how it can be treated.
Common causes of knee pain
Most people experience knee soreness here and there, especially if they're active or spend a lot of time on their feet. Knee pain isn't always a cause for concern — until it affects daily living.
There are various causes of knee pain, ranging from mild injuries to severe degenerative diseases. The cause of your knee pain often coincides with specific symptoms. Several of the prevalent causes of knee pain include the following:
- Sprain or strain
- ACL tear
Symptoms from these conditions vary, but most initiate some form of pain. You may experience dull or aching pain or sharp and stabbing discomfort with movement.
Swelling and tenderness are often associated with knee pain, especially after an injury. Less common symptoms include redness and drainage from the knee joint.
Six major knee pain dos and don'ts
Suffering from knee pain can affect your life in many ways, but there are many ways to treat it as well. One way is to follow a few dos and don'ts:
1. Do get some rest
After an injury, letting your knee rest for a day is essential to alleviate swelling and inflammation. However, don't rest for too long; 48 hours is enough rest for a mild injury.
If you rest your knee and your pain continues, make an appointment to evaluate your joint.
2. Don't wear worn-out shoes
Shoes can significantly contribute to knee pain, primarily if they’re old and don't provide the proper arch support. Keep an eye on your shoes and don't wear them past their life.
When searching for a new pair of shoes, look for comfortable ones that provide plenty of arch support to take the pressure off your knees.
3. Do follow the R.I.C.E method
Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are words and actions to live by when dealing with knee pain. Rest your knee, apply ice several times daily, use a compression wrap to ease swelling, and elevate your leg while sitting.
Applying this method can significantly help with knee pain, especially after an injury.
4. Don't forget to exercise
Rest is great for knee pain immediately after pain strikes, but exercise is just as essential to prevent further issues. Choose low-impact activities, such as swimming or yoga, to build strong muscles and bones and ease knee discomfort.
5. Do watch your weight
Excess weight in your body puts a lot of stress on your knee joints. If you're living with chronic knee discomfort and are overweight, try to lose a few pounds to reduce the strain on your knees and get much-needed relief.
6. Don't overdo it
It's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and before you know it, you've been on your feet for 12 hours and are ready to get a run in.
However, overdoing it can lead to more harm than good regarding knees. Take your recovery easy and stick with low-impact activities. Rest when needed and return to your activities as you can tolerate them.
When is knee pain too much?
If your knee pain persists despite caring for it at home and taking steps to avoid further damage, seek treatment with Dr. Bostick immediately. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you can get back on your feet.
You should also seek treatment if your knee pain suddenly worsens or prevents you from walking, climbing stairs, or performing any normal daily activities.
Mild to moderate knee injuries typically heal within a few weeks. Still, if you notice significant swelling or redness and tenderness around the knee joint, it's a good idea to seek treatment from our team.
If you suffer from knee pain, we can help. To get the care you need, call 504-541-5800 or book an appointment online with METAIRIE ORTHOPEDICS & SPORTS today.