What’s Causing Your Knee Pain?

Do you have knee pain and are not sure of where it might be coming from? Well here are some little pointers that might give you a clue as to what might be causing the problem.

Trauma

Fracture – if there has been trauma and you are having significant pain with all movements, then ruling out a fracture should be your first port of call

Cruciate ligaments – these secure the stability of the knee and stop the shin bone moving too far backwards or forwards on the thigh bone

Was your trauma accompanied by a twisting motion or a popping sensation?

Meniscus tear – these are 2 half mooned shaped pieces of cartilage lying on the shin bone and function as load distributors when we walk or run

Has your trauma resulted in a locking or inability to fully straighten your knee?

No Trauma

Patellofemoral Syndrome – is a very common problem faced by many people, manifesting usually as pain in the front of the knee. It results from poor tracking of the patella (knee cap) in its groove. It comes on, typically, with running, climbing stairs, and is made worse with prolonged sitting. Physiotherapy has a very good successes rate in improving and treating this condition.

Bakers Cyst – is an accumulation of synovial fluid (a jelly like lubricant in the knee) that stretches the lining of the joint behind the knee causing a bulge, usually as a result of some arthritis or damage to the knee. This results in pain coming on at the back of the knee without any signs of trauma.

Arthritis – which literally means inflammation, could be the cause of ongoing night pain and stiffness in the morning in the absence of any trauma.

Noises

A loud pop or cracking noise at the time of injury could suggest a ligament or meniscal tear. There is often swelling later, which is the body’s way of healing the tear.

A loud crack with severe and immediate swelling might indicate a fracture.

With normal activity if there is crunching or grinding at the knee bend then this might be related to poor knee cap tracking or patellofemoral syndrome.

If there is catching or locking in certain angles or positions then it may be an old meniscus tear or discoid meniscus

Instability

With injury – If you get immediate pain and are unable to continue activity, it might be a ligament tear- collateral/cruciate

No injury – If there is brief catching, it could be a kneecap subluxation where the knee cap dislocates slightly or fully out of the groove, causing pain around the sides of the knee cap.

Treatment

As physiotherapists we examine and treat a great many people who have knee problems. It is important to make an accurate diagnosis so that the correct treatment modality is used. These are varied and our aim is to encourage the healing process to take place, strengthen the muscles around the knee so that the knee and knee cap move correctly and prevent a reoccurrence of the problem.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then please give us a call to have a chat about your knees so that we can keep you moving and painfree this summer

Natural Remedies

Pain can seriously affect your enjoyment of life, even low levels of it can be like a drip feed and wear you down. Anti-inflammatories and pain killers are often prescribed, but these can have unpleasant or even damaging side effects and may only deaden the symptoms but not get to the cause.

The body has its own natural inflammation fighting mechanisms as long as it has the where withal to use them. Our bodies contain 2 types of prostaglandins, one which trigger the inflammation and one which reduce it, and there are some herbs that can be taken to turn on the prostaglandins that reduce the inflammation. These are Turmeric (a spice containing curcumin), Bromelain (an enzyme found in pineapple) and Quercetin which blocks the unstable free radicals.

Eat more oily fish such as mackerel as it has the omega 3 fatty acids which help with pain and inflammation, or if you are not so keen on the actual fish then take a good supplement such as flax seed or evening primrose oil.

Eat cherries and berries which are packed with anti oxidants that reduce inflammation.

Green lipped mussels from New Zealand have a wonderful oil called Lipid oil which is far more potent than flax seed or evening primrose oil and again, you don’t have to eat the actual mussel, you can take it as a supplement.

Boswellia Serrata comes from the serreta tree found in India, Northern Africa and the Middle East and the tree produces a gummy resin that local medical practitioners use to treat joint pain and inflammation. In clinical trials the people taking Boswellia reported a decrease in knee pain, increased flexibility in the knee and an increase in the distance they were able to walk.

Hops and Rosemary leaf are also used for joint health and oleanolic acid is found in many medicinal herbs, for fast acting, long lasting joint support.

Glucosamine sulphate is a type of amino sugar made from crab, lobster or shrimp shells, and plays a part in the formation and repair of joint cartilage. These amino sugars absorb water and provide lubrication and shock absorption for the cartilage and are used by the body as a building block for the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans a critical component of cartilage.

In recent clinical trials, taking glucosamine supplements has been shown to improve the amount of this amino sugar that is taken up into the cartilage to improve the joint pain from arthritis.

Chondroitin sulphate is produced from animal cartilage and is used in conjunction with Glucosamine because they work synergistically in joint health.

Serrapeptase is a wonderful natural anti-inflammatory. It is a protease enzyme that stops inappropriate inflammation in its tracks and it also has the ability to dissolve any non-vital dead or non-living tissue that may be preventing recovery, particularly mucous and inflammation associated with pain.

So these are just some of the natural remedies that can be taken for inflammation and joint problems. My advice is to try and avoid painkilling drugs where possible and look for a natural alternative that works for you, then any side effects of drugs such as internal bleeding, digestive problems and liver and kidney problems are kept to a minimum.

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