Knee pain is one of the typical daily life complaints of many older adults. Problems with knees are increasing rapidly in this fast-paced world. When ignored, knee pain can result in severe outcomes and disabilities that can reduce mobility affecting all aspects of life.
How Do Knees Work?
The knee joint is located at the junction point of the thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap. The knee works using the menisci (cushions), cartilage, ligaments, and tendons collectively, allowing the lower limbs to move smoothly.
What Causes Knee Pain?
There are multiple reasons for knee pain caused by movement or injury. These include:
- Irregular walk patterns
- Physical injury or trauma
- Knee dislocation
- Sports injury or exercising without warm-up
- Changing directions abruptly while running
- Falling on hard surfaces
Knee pain can also occur due to medical conditions such as:
- Infectious diseases caused by bacteria, such as cellulitis
- Being obese or overweight can cause excessive stress on the weight-bearing joints.
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
- Inflammation around the tendons that are aggravated during uphill walking or climbing stairs.
- Excessive stress of the knee joint like during workouts
- Cartilage rupture resulting in the inability to move the joint.
- Accumulation of uric acid crystals in the knee joint called gout
Rare causes include:
- Accumulation of fluid under the knee (Baker's cyst)
- Tumor formation around the knee.
Diagnosis of Knee Pain
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the standard diagnostic tool used for the proper diagnosis of the exact cause of knee pain. X-rays are also used for this purpose in clinical practice.
Treatment Strategies for Knee Pain
Knee pain can be effectively managed by adapting to lifestyle changes.
- Alcohol consumption should be minimized
- Quit smoking
- Managing body weight to relieve stress on the knee
Avoid knee pain by keeping leg muscles strong with moderate exercise. Recommended low-impact exercises are cycling, swimming, and walking. In case of severe knee pain, consult with a physiotherapist to create an effective workout plan.
A minimum of eight hours of sleep is a must to recover from knee pain. Quality of sleep does matter; that's why sleeping posture should be optimum. A pillow can be placed under or between the legs to reduce pressure on the knees during sleep.
Over-the-counter painkillers can effectively manage mild knee pain. Anti inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen or aspirin help reduce pain.
Knee Replacement Surgery
In case of continuous knee pain due to any cause, knee replacement surgery can effectively cure knee pain and associated symptoms. It allows people to walk and move freely without any restrictions hence restoring regular life movements in older adults as well.