Oh my aching knees! If you suffer from chronic knee pain you are not alone. Knee pain afflicts people of all ages. One cause alone, osteoarthritis, accounted for 46.4 million cases, approximately 21% of the population. Knee pain can make every day living difficult. The simple act of walking can become an ordeal when every step causes pain.
Ordinary everyday tasks become difficult, driving, going to the grocery store, walking up and down stairs, housework, all of these things we take for granted. But for people suffering from knee pain these tasks can become a burden, much less partaking of enjoyable pastimes like hiking or bicycle riding, fishing or golf.
If you wake up in the morning with pain in your knees that goes away fairly quickly, it”s painful for you to stand for long periods of time, and running or even walking causes shooting pains. If you hear or feel excessive cracking and popping in your knee joint or they are swollen or ” “puffy” looking, if they hurt and ache when you climb stairs or you have pains behind your kneecap, the cause of these conditions could be one of the following.
A sprained or torn ligament, strained or ruptured tendons, patellar tendonitis, meniscal tears, cartilage injuries, chondromalacia patella, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Any of these conditions will cause you to have knee pain, some are due to injuries and some are due to age, any of them can be debilitating, especially if left uncared for.
Best to visit your family physician to be evaluated, some of these conditions may be remedied by simple anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium (aleve) and rest to allow the condition to heal. Often a change of habits will prevent the injury from recurring. The doctor may prescribe or recommend a stabilizing brace to be worn on the knee during strenuous activities or even just during daily activities to aid in supporting the joint to prevent re-injury.
Some knee problems may require surgery. Millions of Americans have undergone replacement knee surgery since the current procedure was introduced in the 1960″s. Approximately one quarter million knee replacement procedures are performed yearly in the United States.
Sometimes the best solution is prevention. If you are one of the millions of sufferers of knee pain, there are steps to take to help reduce the risk of further injury. Be careful not to over stress the joint when performing daily activities, this is what the brace is for, it helps support the joint and take some of the stresses off of the knee. If about to perform a more strenuous workout take the time to stretch and warm up first.
Be especially careful when out in the cold, ligaments and tendons ore more easily damaged when cold, a brace will also help this as it helps to keep the heat next to the body. Another important thing to consider is your weight. Being overweight puts unnecessary extra strain on your knees. Also proper footwear is very important, old and worn out shoes are very bad for not only your knees but also your feet, ankles, legs and back.
Taking these preventive measures may keep you from being one of the quarter million that has to have surgery.