If you have knee pain, you’ve probably wondered what exactly is causing you to have this pain that is interfering with your everyday life. You may have even wandered the Internet attempting to self diagnose in the hopes that you can treat on your own. During your search you come across many, many potential causes.
You will see conditions like
- tendinitis (Patellar, IT Band, and so on)
- Mensicus Tear
- Jumper’s knee
There’s so many, how do you know why your knee hurts? And what should you do to treat it?
Understanding and treating your knee when you first begin to feel pain can prevent surgery and costly medical treatments.
It is important to understand why your knee hurts the minute it starts to hurt. Now your knee pain is nothing to worry about if any of these apply to you:
- This is the first time you ever felt pain in your knee. You just happen to take a step down this morning and had pain. The very first day, the very first time. This could just be a weird pain that will probably go away tomorrow.
- You had surgery on your knee in the last 2 weeks. Pain from surgery can last weeks and even months after the surgery so if you recently had surgery on your knee, you may still have pain when reaching overhead. You will want to let your doctor know if this pain persists.
- You had a hard workout within the last 48 hours where you did a lot of leg exercises. Muscle soreness can last 2 days after working out so if you recently did an leg workout, within the last 48 hours, then it can be perfectly normal to have difficulty lifting overhead. If this workout was done over a week ago and you still have pain then you need to be concerned.
If you cannot exclude yourself with one of these three things then your knee pain IS something to be worried about!
The first thing you need to do is find the exact cause of your knee pain. Finding the source and the cause of your shoulder pain will help you be able to treat it and prevent further damage to it. What could the problem actually be?
- Tendinitis is an inflammation of the knee muscles. There are several muscles of the knee that could be inflamed. It is important to find out which muscle of the knee are inflamed. Tendinitis at the knee is also due to over use for weaker muscles. This is why there are several sites where the knee can have tendinitis, depending on which muscle kicks in and works the hardest. Ignoring this will ONLY make it worse, it will NOT go away on its own. While you may feel the pain reduce it just means that you compensated and are making it much, much worse.
- Common signs and symptoms: Pain with going down the step, pain with running or exercise, pain with sitting for awhile, pain going up and down curbs.
- With arthritis you must realize is that everyone over the age of 18 arthritis will show up on an x-ray but most of the time it is not the cause of your pain.
- Common signs and symptoms: Constant pain that is not made better or worse with activity. Pain that is the same upon waking and pain that is the same going to bed.
- Meniscus tear
- This is very common to find on any MRI as we get older. It does not mean that it is the source of your pain. It could be one of many sources of your pain.
- Common signs and symptoms: Clicking in the knee, Pain that is felt when the foot is planted and you try to turn.
- Jumper’s Knee
- Jumper’s Knee is just a name for patellar tendinitis. It used to be more common in athletes that jump which is where it got the name but in my career I have seen jumper’s knee in just as many non athletes as athletes. This is an indication that there is overuse and muscle imbalances that are going on in the knee.
- Common signs and symptoms: Pain with going up and down steps. Pain with going up and down curbs. Pain with running and jumping or any pounding activity.
- This is the feeling of creaking and clicking that you can get at the knee cap. This is common as we age.
- Common signs and symptoms: This can be painful when you kneel. It also can be felt when you go down into a squat position, you will hear some ‘rice krispies’ – crackle and popping. It can be painful at times.
- This is a traumatic event unless you are someone who can do this very easily. Anyone who can do this very easily, knows how to deal with it.
- If you feel that you have sustained a traumatic knee injury that has caused it to come out of its socket then you need to seek medical attention asap.
- There are several bursae, or fluid filled sacs around the knee. When these become inflamed and have more fluid in them, you develop bursitis. Bursitis is usually caused by tight muscles or a muscle imbalance.
Wow, I cannot say thank you enough, to each and every one of you! My journey to regain my ability to walk (limp free!) again after a RA diagnosis has literally been one step at a time, and the team here at TPPT has been great-teaching me the appropriate strength and flexibility exercises, massaging out the knots along the way and encouraging me so that I know I am to do this. Again, thank you for helping me reclaim my life. -Judi Whitmire
What do I do once I figure out what the cause of my knee pain is?
- Take Advil/Aleve/Anti-Inflammtories to reduce the pain, take the edge off just to be able to function.
- If you have taken Advil for more than 2 weeks, you are at risk for serious stomach complications. And yes we all know someone who has taken Advil and Aleve for months (and it may even be you) and has had no problems. If you continue to take Advil to ‘take the edge off’ you are putting yourself in danger of serious complications and not just with your knee, it is with your stomach and the damage that happens cannot be reversed.
- You’re taking Advil because you don’t have time or money or both to go to the doctor or physical therapist. You think that by taking the Advil to reduce the pain, hoping it will go away, you are saving time and money. If you are lucky enough not to get stomach complications, the longer you take Advil/Aleve the longer the problem will take to go away and no, it won’t go away on its own. After 2 weeks, it won’t go away on its own. So the months or years you were dodging a bullet with just popping a pill will eventually catch up to you and you will spend countless hours and lots of money trying to fix a problem that you may go broke on time and money before the problem gets fixed. Where as if you just to go to the physical therapist to treat your knee pain, you can do this after work, before work or on your lunch hour, and if you do it before you ignore it for months and years, you will actually find that you will be able to fixx it rather inexpensively and without investing a ton of time.
- If you have been taking Advil or any anti inflamatories for more than 2 weeks consecutively, you are putting yourself at severe risk of stomach damage. In reality by taking Advil for more than 2 weeks, it will cost you tens of thousands of dollars more in hospital bills to be able to treat the stomach issues and that won’t even address the knee pain. And it will cost you weeks away from work as you recover from your trip to the hospital.
- Ignore it. It will go away.
- While we can’t go to the doctor for every ache and pain as we get older otherwise we would never leave. Waking up with aches and pains is part of every day life when you get older. No doubt. But living in pain is not.
- 2 weeks is the rule. 2 weeks is what you give the same pain that shows up day after day where you can be convinced that no home remedy will fix it. You can no longer ignore it.
- Ignoring pain that goes on for more that 2 weeks is like ignoring a leak in the roof. At first it starts off like a drip and can be ignored or dealt with with a bucket placed underneath drip. And it may be able to go on for a few days or weeks or month with no real increase in the drip but now you have had exposure to water for a month. So other problems start to develop, like mold. While you could have called a roofer to deal with the drip right then and there it would save you time and money. But you ignored it and waited a few months. Now you have a larger problem, costing more time and money. The same is true for your shoulder. If you ignore it, the longer you ignore it, the more time and money it is going to cost in the long run. And just like a roof, a problem that started out as something that could have been simple to fix, the longer you ignore, the more chance it becomes of you needing a new knee.
- Ignoring a knee problem can cost you tens of thousands of dollars and while dealing with it right away may have cost some initial investment it would have been resolved with no surgery adn no time away from any activities.
- Handle it
- Taking time when your knee starts hurting will allow you to save time and money. If you deal with the knee pain when it comes on, it prevents any compensation issues that would come up that would need to be dealt with. It would be a limited amount of time and money.
- If you deal with knee pain as it comes up, you can schedule appointments as it makes sense for you, before work, after work or during lunch. The time that it will take to heal will be far less than if your knee pain leads to surgery and will require no time off of work.
What happens if the pain doesn’t go away with the at home treatment?
- You need to see a physical therapist.
- And not just one that gives exercises. Exercises alone will not heal this. This needs hands on treatment.
- Let’s talk about how physical therapy can be used to address the issue.
- Going to the doctor early when you notice the pain start will result in better outcomes then waiting for weeks, months and even years.
- It is necessary to avoid knee movements that aggravate your shoulder pain.
- It is important to correct the muscle imbalances that are contributing to the pain.
- Strengthening of the muscles that surround the knee is vital to correcting knee pain
- Addressing the muscle trigger points through hands on physical therapy is imperative. Determining the number of muscles that are involved and addressing the knots is essential in recovering from knee pain and returning you to activities.
- A physical therapist understands that stability and control of motion are just as vital if not more so than strength.
- Physical therapists can recognize any compensatory movements you may be using that are contributing to the pain as well as introduce exercises that will increase knee stability.
But in order to start addressing your knee pain and figuring out what is the cause of your knee pain, click here to begin to figure out what is going on with your knee pain from the comfort of your own home, NO COST, NO RISK.