Frankly, there is nothing worse. Your only consolation is that HUGE number of other people also have achy and painful knees and we can all feel miserable together. No, I know, that doesn’t really help you when it is sore, does it? They say misery loves company. Yeah, I never thought that either!
As we talked about yesterday, there are usually 3 ways you get joint pain, and knees are no exception. There is sudden injury, inflammation and wear and tear. The knee is particularly prone to pain and trouble, because a sudden slip or a fall over can cause or contribute to all of the above, and lets face it, it is a joint which is heavily worked, day in and day out. Skiers and joggers are both very susceptible to injuries. Skiers, if they hit a bump at the wrong angle, can sometimes get knees which pop out. Ouch. Joggers can get something called chondromalacia patella – which is the wearing down of the cartilage behind the kneecap. Basically this happens if their running mileage has increased dramatically in a short period of time. This pain tends to be worse when you stand, climb stairs, or bend to pick something up from the floor.
But knees are fickle things. Occasionally pain can result purely because of the way you walk. If you walk out of alignment, or your ankle twists, then walking with your toes turned inward or outward can cause undue wear on the knee and make the tendons and the ligaments to get inflamed and hurt. A lot.
So how can you stop the pain? Ice packs are great on knees. If you don’t have an ice pack, then a bag of frozen peas in a tea towel also works. Elevate the knee, put it on for 10 minutes and then take it off. Do this 4 times a day and the swelling (and therefore some of the pain) will come down.
As we said yesterday, do not be a hero. Take Ibuprofen for the inflammation. If the over-the-counter stuff is not doing the trick, go to the doctor and get prescription strength. Just make sure you don’t take Ibuprofen on an empty stomach. The side effects of that can be really horrible.
if the knee feels a little wobbly, then getting a knee brace from the pharmacy or sports shop might help matters. They can help for three reasons – 1) the brace keeps the knee where it should be, which means the brain can adjust for any twists or unexpected movements; 2) a brace compresses a swollen knee and helps distribute the weight that the joint bears and 3) the brace keeps the muscles around the knee warm, which prevents further injury.
A clue to some unexplained knee pain might lie in the wear on your shoes. If the soles of your shoes wear unevenly, then it could mean that there is stress being placed on your knee and that could mean it will begin to hurt for no apparent reason. Get some arch support insoles in your shoes. Dr Scholl is a good place to start, as they are not exorbitantly expensive and work a treat. If your kneed pain still doesn’t disappear, then maybe you need to go to the Doctor and get it looked out.
What if a little person hurts their knee? My reference book of choice this month, “Home Remedies from a Country Doctor” suggests that you wrap it up in a bulky bandage. This will restrict the movement of the joint, helping it to heal as little ones can be awfully restless, even with a poorly joint, and the bulk of a bandage will enforce rest.
Another good tip is to make sure you have operational thigh muscles. Apparently, well developed thighs mean that the knees will stay where they should do. Doing squats is a good way of developing sturdy thighs, though in my experience they usually highlight painful knees rather effectively as well!