Are you suffering from an excruciating knee pain? Is it owing to arthritis, any kind of injury, or for being constantly exposed to the air-conditioner? Find the cause and the right treatment.
These days most people complain of knee pain irrespective of their age. It can begin anytime in one’s life and largely depends on one’s lifestyle and family history. While for some it is a chronic problem, it might be a temporary condition for others depending upon the cause of the pain which varies from person to person.
Be it temporary or chronic, doctors repeatedly advise that it is essential not to ignore knee pain and one should watch out for the symptoms and consult a specialist. “If the knee pain persists for days or a week, if it pains while walking even if it is for a short period of time, or while one is resting or sleeping, it is essential to consult a doctor,” says Dr Nithin Patel, orthopaedic surgeon at KIMS Hospital Oman.
Dr Patel talks about the common knee pain that can be classified into inflammatory and non-inflammatory or traumatic. Inflammatory causes are gout (owing to increase in uric acid), reactive arthralgia or joint pain, and degenerative osteoarthritis.
Traumatic causes include ACL injuries, that is tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), ligaments that connect the shinbone to the thighbone; meniscal injuries or tear in the knee while bearing weight; fractures, and knee bursitis, ie inflammation in the bursae or the small sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of the knee joint.
But, while there are several causes of knee pain, the most common cause is osteoarthritis, and one in two adults develop symptoms of osteoarthritis during the course of their lives.
Also known as degenerative arthritis, this occurs when the cartilage of the knee deteriorates with use and age which can worsen with injuries, and obesity. An orthopaedic specialist can help determine if the knee pain is caused by osteoarthritis. If the pain continues it’s advisable not to push through the pain, and consult the doctor.
“If you have knee pain from mild to moderate osteoarthritis, it may be managed with pain medication, physical therapy or hyaluronic acid injections. These options are designed to help reduce pain, stiffness, and swelling in the knee,” tells Dr Patel. Referring to swollen knees Dr Patel says that swelling of the knees can be because of effusion, that is increased fluid collection in the knees.
“If the knee swelling continues or is companied by severe pain or other serious symptoms, it requires immediate medical attention,” adds Dr Patel. In certain cases doctors also recommend treating a swollen knee with R.I.C.E, that is Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
So when one has swollen knees one should refrain from sports and give the knee joints a rest. Also applying a cold compress to the knee can help to reduce the swelling. Wrapping the joint or keeping the leg in an elevated position help to reduce inflammation. Our knees are the weight bearing joint and hence are prone to injuries. Dr Patel says that most of the knee injuries can be prevented by proper training, keeping the muscles around the knee stronger, doing regular warm up, and stretching before a game.
Highlighting on the knee pain that people get while climbing stairs or while bending the knee, he says that bending is usually experienced in the front of the knee, at the patellofemoral joint (between the knee cap). Stiff knees occurs owing to osteoarthritis, post surgical procedures in the knee joint, and injury to the knee. “Regular exercises and physiotherapy can help to make knees flexible,” he says.
People often complain of cramps, when they sleep in the AC for long. How should one overcome this problem? Discussing about this common condition found mostly in Oman, Dr Nithin says that dehydration, not drinking sufficient water during a day, is the most common cause of cramps.
“Keep hydrated to prevent cramps. Regular exercising and stretching of muscles help to overcome this problem. And if you want your knees to be in shape it is important to strengthen quadriceps muscles, by doing hamstring stretches and cycling,” he tells.—[email protected]