Knee Pain Relief

Knee Pain Relief: An Introduction

Finding knee pain relief that is effective is important to the many people that suffer with knee pain. Knee pain is a very common complaint, and a symptom that affects people of all ages. Knee pain can be caused by problems associated with the bones of the knee (femur, tibia, fibula), the kneecap (patella), or the ligaments, tendons or cartilage in the knee, and can be aggravated by the actions of the surrounding muscles. Injuries to these structures can also cause knee pain.

 Depending on the cause of the pain, knee pain can vary greatly in severity and location. In most cases, there are also other signs and symptoms present (other than the pain itself). Some of these signs may include swelling, redness and warmth, stiffness, feeling of weak or unstable at the knee joint, not being able to fully extend or straighten the knee, or occasionally, ‘popping’, ‘crunching’, or grinding noises may result when moving the knee.

Knee Pain Relief

Knee Pain Relief: When to Seek Professional Advice

When considering knee pain relief, you should always consult with a suitably qualified sports podiatrist to discuss your condition prior to commencing any treatments. With the vast number of different conditions that may cause knee pain, it is imperative that you have a correct diagnosis before attempting any home remedies for knee pain relief, as not doing so may exacerbate your condition or compound your injury.

If you are seeking knee pain relief because you are experience any of the following signs or symptoms, you should seek prompt medical advice:

  • Severe knee pain that has arisen as a result of a recent injury
  • Obvious swelling of the knee joint
  • Inability to weight-bear on the sore knee
  • Inability to extend the knee fully / locking
  • Redness and/or swelling of the knee in conjunction with a fever
  • Obvious deformity or problem with your knee or leg is visible.

Your sports podiatrist will come to a diagnosis after a thorough examination. Their assessment will include a comprehensive history taking and physical examination of the knee. They may request that you have some medical imaging such as an x-ray, ultrasound or MRI so that they can view the internal structures of the knee in detail. Most often, your sports podiatrist will also like to conduct a biomechanical assessment on the in-house treadmill. This is a valuable tool that allows the podiatrist to identify any abnormalities or malalignments in the patient’s lower limbs. It often leads the sports podiatrist to the root of the problem of what’s causing the patient’s pain, which can greatly help in selecting appropriate knee pain relief and treatment options for the individual.

Knee Pain Relief and Treatment Options

Since there are so many different conditions that can cause knee pain, finding knee pain relief with treatments that work for you will largely depend on what exactly is causing your pain. Once your sports podiatrist has diagnosed the cause of your knee pain, an appropriate treatment plan can be tailored to your condition, taking into account your personal medical history, lifestyle and activity level.

Basic Considerations for Knee Pain Relief

When it comes to relieving your knee pain, there are some things that you can do that do not necessarily require a lot of effort or cost to you. Some basic considerations regarding knee pain relief to keep in mind include:

  • Wear appropriate footwear. Ask your sports podiatrist for their recommendation on what types or makes of footwear are most appropriate for your condition and your body
  • Aim to maintain a healthy body weight. Not only will you feel better overall if you are at a healthy body weight, your knee pain will be reduced. Excess body weight puts unnecessary pressure on the knees and feet and can make your knee pain much worse
  • Change your exercise schedule. Or begin one (if your sports podiatrist advises that it is safe to do so). Swimming is an excellent low-impact choice, as the water supports your weight and relieves pressure on your joints
  • Ice packs. Or cold compresses can be used quite safely for up to 20 minutes at a time for regular periods throughout the day to provide knee pain relief to the sore knee
  • Anti-inflammatory medications. Whilst these can provide you with temporary knee pain relief in the short term, over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) are not a long-term solution. As with all medications, anti-inflammatory drugs do have some side affects and they don’t treat the cause of the problem.

Aside from the basics above, there are a number of other ways to get knee pain relief, too. Mentioned below are just some of the clinically proven treatment options that your sports podiatrist may recommend.

Knee Pain Relief with Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy is clinically proven for knee pain relief. The treatment involves using a hand-held probe to direct high-frequency sound waves into the affected knee. It is a mostly painless procedure (though some patients report feeling ‘pressure’ as the procedure is carried out). Shockwave therapy is scientifically proven to stimulate tissue healing by encouraging blood flow and tissue regeneration1. It also helps to break down scar tissue and provides many patients instant pain relief.

Knee Pain Relief from Braces and Orthotics

In some situations, your sports podiatrist may advise you to wear a knee brace or custom-made orthotics. These devices can assist with aligning the knee, or assisting the process of alignment through stabilizing and controlling the foot. Orthotics can also be useful in shifting the pressure to provide knee pain relief. This is often a useful approach in patients suffering with knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. There are a number of different types of support braces that may also be recommended in order to restrict the motion of the knee and support it as it heals from injury.

Knee Pain Relief through Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can provide knee pain relief in the longer term and prevent re-injury, or the problem occurring again, in many cases.  Your sports podiatrist will likely recommend some strengthening or stretching exercises for your legs, depending on the findings of their biomechanical assessment. The types of exercises or stretches that your sports podiatrist will choose will depend on what is happening biomechanically to cause you to feel knee pain.

Knee Pain Relief from Injections

In some severe cases, injections of medications or other substances directly into the knee joint might be advised for knee pain relief. These types of injections might include corticosteroid, hyaluronic acid or platelet-rich plasma.

Knee Pain Relief with Surgical Intervention

Surgery may be necessary in some cases in order to provide knee pain relief. Surgery is often seen as a ‘last resort’, or in cases of injuries that are unlikely or unable to heal with other treatment approaches. The types of surgery may include arthroscopy for examination and repair, or partial or complete knee reconstruction or replacement, where either just the damaged parts, or the entire knee is replaced with artificial parts. As with any surgery, knee surgery carries risks. It is important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of deciding to have a surgical intervention as opposed to non-surgical rehabilitation of your knee.

Knee Pain Relief: In Conclusion

The best way to get proven and effective knee pain relief is to speak to your sports podiatrist. With the many and varied causes of knee pain and hence the multitude of treatment options available, it is always best to seek a professional opinion prior to commencing any type of treatment for your knee pain.

Please note that the above article regarding knee pain relief, is not intended, nor should it be taken as general medical advice. The information is strictly intended for educational purposes. If you are seeking knee pain relief for an associated condition, you should consult with an appropriately qualified sports podiatrist so that you may obtain a correct diagnosis and discuss appropriate treatment options. You can make an appointment online at www.sydneypodiatrist.net.au or by calling 93883322.

Karl Lockett– sports podiatrist.

 References

1 Liao, C., Xie, G., Tsauo, J., Chen, H., Liou, T., (2018), Efficacy of extracorporeal shock wave therapy for knee tendinopathies and other soft tissue disorders: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 19, 278.