If you’re suffering from chronic knee pain, you know that it can significantly limit your daily activities. Chronic knee pain can be debilitating and can prevent you from living your life to the fullest. From simple actions like taking a walk around your neighborhood to more strenuous duties like playing sports or running, an aching knee can keep you grounded.
But don’t give up hope! Understanding the underlying causes of chronic knee pain – and finding ways to alleviate it – is key to enjoying an active lifestyle. Also, many treatments are available that can lessen and even possibly eliminate the debilitating effects of your pain.
What is Chronic Knee Pain?
Chronic knee pain is classified as any pain in the knee that lasts three months or longer.
Symptoms of Chronic Knee Pain
The symptoms vary from person to person and may include:
- Constant or intermittent pain
- Swelling and tenderness
- Loss of range of motion in the knee
- Redness and warmth around the affected area
- Locking sensation
- Itching and burning
Causes of Chronic Knee Pain
Arthritis is the most common cause of chronic knee pain. Arthritis can refer to any condition that affects the joints, and it can range from mild discomfort to severe, debilitating pain. Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease, is caused by excessive wear and tear on the cartilage between joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is another type that occurs when your immune system attacks your joints, causing swelling and damage to the cartilage and bones in your knees.
Tendonitis or Bursitis
Tendons are thick bands that connect muscles to bones in the body, while bursae are fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between bones, muscles, and tendons. When these become inflamed due to injury or overuse, they can cause chronic knee pain. Tendonitis usually occurs when tendons become irritated due to repetitive use or overuse, while bursitis occurs when bursae become infected or irritated by nearby tissues.
Your meniscus is a semicircular piece of cartilage located between your thighbone and shinbone inside your knee joint. A tear in this cartilage can occur due to trauma or age-related wear and tear, leading to sharp pains in the affected area. This type of injury often requires surgery if it does not heal independently with rest and physical therapy.
How to Treat It
There are several things you can do to improve your quality of life and reduce the severity of your chronic knee pain; these include:
Physical therapy is a great treatment for chronic knee pain that can help to improve mobility, reduce swelling and inflammation, and strengthen the muscles around the joint. Exercises such as stretching, strengthening, and range of motion exercises can be beneficial in relieving symptoms while also helping to prevent future injuries.
Over-the-counter medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly used to treat chronic knee pain by reducing inflammation and providing short-term pain relief. However, these medications should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision and may not be suitable for everyone.
Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage, and yoga can all be beneficial in reducing chronic knee pain. These treatments can help to relax the muscles, improve circulation and reduce stiffness in the affected area.
Surgery may be necessary when other treatments are ineffective in relieving chronic knee pain symptoms. Surgery typically repairs damaged ligaments or cartilage within the joint and may involve arthroscopy (a minimally invasive procedure) or open surgery (where larger incisions are required). Regardless of the type of surgery performed, following a physical therapy program after surgery is important to ensure proper recovery and rehabilitation.
Rest and Relaxation
One of the best things you can do for yourself if you have chronic knee pain is to rest and relax as much as possible. This means avoiding activities that strain your knees or aggravate them further, such as running or jumping. Instead, focus on low-impact activities like walking, swimming, or biking. These types of activities will help strengthen the muscles around your knees without causing further damage or discomfort.
Chronic knee pain can cause severe discomfort and negatively impact your quality of life. It is important to understand the long-term effects of chronic pain, such as:
- Loss of mobility
- Difficulty performing daily activities
Get Treatment for Your Chronic Knee Pain!
When it comes to treating pain there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone’s pain levels and needs are unique, so finding the right combination of treatments to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life is essential.
If you’re suffering from chronic knee pain and want to learn more about what treatments are available for you, contact Pontchartrain Orthopedics and Sports Medicine and speak with a trained medical professional. We’ll work together to create a personalized plan that fits your lifestyle and works toward reducing your overall pain. To get started, fill out the form below to contact us today!