Of all the musculoskeletal complaints, a painful knee is one of the most common and afflicts both the young and the old. The knee joint is located between the femur and tibia and comprises tendons, ligaments, muscles, and bones. Surprisingly, there are so many elements that can cause you to have a painful knee which is why if you suffer knee pain, a visit to the osteopath can not only diagnose but also fix the problem.
The severity of knee pain will depend on the seriousness of the damage but can range anywhere from a slight ache to excruciating agony. In some cases, the pain can be so bad that you cannot stand up or walk.
What are some of the causes of knee pain?
The most common form of knee pain is caused by a fall or colliding with something. Other issues with the knee that can cause pain are related to the mechanics of how the knee works and often involve the knee cap. Sports injuries and arthritis are two other causes of knee pain.
Sports injuries and knee pain
Most young people with knee pain have the pain due to a sporting injury. Knee injuries are common in sports where athletes collide, such as football and rugby: sports where there is also a lot of quick starting, stopping, and sideways movements like tennis and badminton can also be bad for the knees. Athletics and running are also no strangers to knee injuries due to the repeated impact that the knee has to absorb.
Fortunately, most sports injuries are minor, which means that by resting the knee, they can heal on their own, but if the pain has not gone away after a couple of days, it might be a good idea to get that pain checked out to prevent severe or long term damage.
Arthritis and knee pain
Unfortunately, as our bodies begin to age, many adults suffer from cartilage loss in the knee. Cartilage is a rubbery tissue that allows the bones in joints to move freely without touching each other. There are two pieces of cartilage in the knee that distribute impact and act as shock absorbers for the body. The degeneration of this cartilage can, in the worst instances, cause the bones connected to the knee to rub together, a painful condition known as osteoarthritis. People who suffer from osteoarthritis in the knee often complain about pain following activity or pronged sitting.
How can an osteopath help with knee pain?
By taking a hands-on approach, an osteopath will determine what is causing the knee pain and then plan a course of treatment to correct the problem. By gently working on the muscles and ligaments in the knee, an osteopath can help to improve circulation. This, in turn, will reduce swelling and relieve tension. If your knee is painful while sitting down and not moving, it may result from osteoarthritis. If this is the case, an osteopath will recognize this and, if needed, refer you to a medical professional who specializes in joint replacements.
It is also common for people with knee pain to start walking or standing differently to protect the knee or lessen the pain. Doing this may inadvertently cause imbalances in other parts of the body leading to further aches and pains. When treating knee injuries or pain associated with arthritis, osteopaths take a holistic approach. They will not only look at your knee but other parts of the body that may be contributing to the pain you have in the knee.
Together with treating the knee, an osteopath will recommend things you can do to ease the pain and aid recovery, such as hot or cold pads, creams, compression support, and maybe even a knee brace in severe cases. The osteopath aims to help you get back to leading an everyday life as soon as possible.