The number of Americans who report knee pain has skyrocketed during the past 50 years. Most researchers believe the primary cause for the increase is the obesity epidemic in our country.
Common sense tells us that when we force the knees to carry significantly more weight than they were designed to carry, we increase the risk of the knees breaking down or becoming injured. For every pound a person is overweight, the knees must absorb an additional four pounds of weight when walking, running or climbing stairs. Of course, knee pain is also caused by injuries and accidents, which we’ll discuss later on this page.
The knee is actually comprised of two joints that connect the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia) and the kneecap (patella). There are also four major ligaments in the knee:
In addition to the ligaments, you have a network of muscles, tendons, and meniscus, the cartilage between the bones that provides padding between the bones. The complexity of the knee and the weight and force absorbed throughout the day make the knee susceptible to injury and chronic pain. Obesity and a lack of muscle strength and flexibility increase the risk of knee issues.
If you notice swelling, stiffness, weakness or instability, redness or warmth, or you hear popping or crunching noises, it’s time to schedule an appointment and have your knee examined.
The usual causes of joint pain apply to your knee – degeneration of soft tissue, trauma from an accident or injury, and various medical conditions. If you’re dealing with hip or foot pain, you could alter your gait and other movements, which could relieve stress on those joints but end up causing pain in the knee.
Some of the most common causes of knee pain include:
Our team of clinicians works together to identify the root cause of your knee pain and develop a personalized treatment plan, which could include services you may not have considered. For example, inflammation is the source of most painful conditions in the body, and an inflammatory diet can often aggravate knee pain. In some cases, patients can experience noticeable pain relief from clinical nutrition.
Of course, physical therapy and rehabilitation is the most common technique for treating injuries. At Natural Healthcare Center, we often incorporate chiropractic, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, and podiatry, depending on your specific condition. Medication is used temporarily and sparingly for severe pain, especially after an injury. Knee surgery, including full knee replacement, can be very effective, but we only recommend surgery when we feel a more conservative approach won’t work.
Our goal is to not only relieve your knee pain, but to restore balance, strength, stability and flexibility, which will make you more resilient to future injuries and chronic pain. Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) might be enough for minor injuries, but we have plenty of tools and techniques available to diagnose and treat more serious conditions that are causing your knee pain.
If you’re dealing with knee pain caused by an injury, accident or medical condition, or you want to find out why your knee hurts, schedule an appointment at Natural Healthcare Center. Let us help you pinpoint and treat the source of your knee pain so you can feel better, function better and live longer.