Knee pain. It affects millions of Americans each year and doesn’t discriminate between young or old, serious athletes or casual exercisers. Knee pain can be a minor annoyance or so severe that it makes normal, everyday activities a struggle. Whatever your activity level, there is a good chance you will suffer from some type of knee pain in your lifetime.
Here are some common symptoms of arthritis in the knee:
- Knee pain
- Swelling and redness
- Weakness or instability
- Popping or crunching noises
- Inability to fully straighten or bend the knee
Other causes of knee pain can include injuries such as fractures around the knee, torn cartilage, or ruptured ligaments as well as gout or infections.
While some knee pain can be treated at home with rest, over-the-counter medication and by icing the area, if pain persists or grows worse, it may be time to see a doctor. You also would want to see a doctor if your knee pain was caused by a significant impact or if you’re experiencing significant swelling, redness, tenderness and warmth around the joint, and fever. The doctor will examine your knee and X-rays will likely be taken.
Just as the type of knee pain varies, so too does treatment. Your doctor will explain treatment options based on your symptoms and what the exam reveals. If arthritis is found, early forms can often be controlled with rest and over-the-counter pain medication. For those needed more pain relief, injections may be offered. If the pain and arthritis become severe, surgery may be recommended.
In the meantime, there are ways to prevent some types of knee pain from occurring. Consider the following:
- Before exercising, be sure to warm up and stretch.
- Know your body and exercise within your limitations. Don’t overdo.
- Build up your ankle and overall muscle strength.
- Maintain a weight that is appropriate for your height and body type.
- Wear good shoes.
If your knee pain persists and/or worsens then it is best to see a specialist for an evaluation and treatment plan. Knee pain can keep you from doing the things you love so it’s better to seek medical attention instead of trying to power through and hoping for the best.