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Knee Pain Questions and Myths Part 1

Oct 5, 2021 | Knee, Patient Tips

Knee Pain Questions and Myths

Part 1: 5 Common Questions About Knee Pain

1. Why does my knee hurt when I exercise?

Physical activities or high-impact sports like running, jumping, basketball, or soccer could put a lot of stress, impact, or body weight directly on the knees. This may lead to an increased risk of knee injury and pain. You could also be susceptible to knee injuries if you receive improper or insufficient training for a sport, or have not fully rehabilitated an old injury.

2. How do I know if my knee pain could be serious?

If you are an elite athlete, fitness enthusiast, or just a regular person, then there’s a possibility that you may have experienced some form of knee pain at least once in your lifetime. While the pain may ease after getting sufficient rest, there are certain cases where the ache still remains. One of the signs that point to a potentially serious knee injury is if the knee is swollen. It is normal for your knee to swell slightly after straining or injuring it. However, if the swelling is significantly noticeable immediately after getting injured, then there is a possibility that you may have torn a ligament in your knee which might require medical attention.

Another sign that your knee pain could be serious is if it feels stuck. If you find it difficult to fully straighten your knee or move it without pain, then you may have something called a “locked knee”. In some scenarios, swelling and inflammation could be what is impeding your knee’s full range of motion. In others, a locked knee could indicate a meniscus (a piece of cartilage that stabilises the knee joint) tear, where a fragmented piece might be blocking your knee joint, restricting movement. Such kind of meniscus injury could require surgery.

3. How long does knee pain usually last?

Healing time for knee pain is dependent on the type of injury and how severe it was. Pain from a simple knee strain or sprain may last for one to two weeks, while more serious injuries requiring surgery may take one to three months to heal. However, the timeline differs for each individual and could be determined by other factors, such as the kind of treatment administered and the patient’s lifestyle.

4. How can I have healthier knees?

There are various tips that could help you maintain healthy knees and avoid knee issues. One tip is to get moving. It can be as simple as taking a short break from school or work to go for a walk. Moving helps to maintain joint function, which would also lead to a decrease in joint stiffness in the knees. While walking can assist in building strength, directly strengthening the muscles that support your knees could also make them healthier. Developing strong thigh muscles (especially the quadriceps, hamstrings, and abductors) would help in protecting your knee cartilage as well as decreasing the stress placed on the knee. Another tip that could help with relieving pressure off your knees is to maintain a healthy weight. More force would be exerted on the knees the more weight you put on, and vice versa. Thus, staying in a healthy weight range would not only make your knees feel better but reduce the risk of knee injury as well.

5. When should I consult a medical expert?

Not all knee pain requires medical treatment. Most minor sprains or injuries could be treated from the comfort of your own home with the RICE method – Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. However, if the pain still persists, and depending on the degree of damage, physiotherapy might help you alleviate the pain and obtain full movement back to the knee joint. A physiotherapist can prescribe you a series of physical exercises that would help you build up strength without putting too much pressure on the knees. If the pain is still unbearable and you have exhausted all other options, surgical treatment may be taken into consideration. To obtain the best possible treatment, you could consider choosing an orthopaedic surgeon. Orthopaedic surgeons are specialised in treating various problems affecting the musculoskeletal system – the bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons, including the knees.

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