If a person experiences knee pain, a chronic condition or injury is usually to blame and treatment should be administered accordingly. The knee has several components and moving parts which create a delicate balance of bones, tendons, muscles, cartilage, and ligaments.
The components of the knee must work together, and move in harmony. There are several causes for knee pain, but luckily, many non-invasive treatment options exist to restore pain-free mobility.
Common Causes for Knee Pain
There are many common causes for knee pain, generally speaking, knee pain either comes from an acute injury, or from a chronic condition. Several degenerative conditions, such as arthritis, can cause long-term knee pain. Additionally, injuries like fractures, dislocations, or tears can also cause knee pain.
Tears to the structural components within the knee are very diverse, with varying treatment options depend on the type of tear sustained.
Different Types of Tears
One of the most common reasons a person experiences knee pain is the result of an injury. Ligaments, cartilage, and tendons are particularly prone to tears from irregular movements or direct impact.
ACL– The Anterior Cruciate Ligament, often abbreviated to ACL, is the ligament that is commonly torn in sports accidents. The tear can come from quick changes in directions, or from landing incorrectly. It is very common to have an ACL tear accompany a secondary injury such as a torn meniscus, cartilage, or other ligament tears. This tear can leave the knee unstable if left untreated, which can potentially increase the likelihood of further injury.
PCL – Alternatively, the Posterior Cruciate Ligament, or PCL, is most commonly damaged in high impact injuries, such as a direct impact to the knee or an automobile accident. The ligament can become torn if the impact occurs while the knee is in the bent position. Unlike an ACL tear, this injury can often heal on its own with minimal medical intervention.
Meniscus – Within the knee is a pad of cartilage, called the meniscus, which works as a natural shock absorber in the body. The meniscus can become torn with a sudden motion that involves twisting, cutting, pivoting, or twisting. While this injury is very common in contact sports, such as football, it can also occur simply from an irregular movement. Many people can still bend, sit, and walk with a torn meniscus, however, if left untreated the tear can worsen over time.
Tendon – Inside the knee, there are two main tendons that can become overstretched and eventually torn. Both quadriceps and patellar tendon tears are common in middle-aged people. These injuries are commonly sports-related, especially in sports that involve running and jumping. Torn tendons can leave the knee incredibly unstable and can make the knee susceptible to future injury if left untreated.
Symptoms of Knee Pain
Knee pain symptoms are usually very evident and can hinder a patient’s mobility. If symptoms persist for longer than 48 hours it is always advisable to seek medical attention. Some common symptoms of knee pain include:
• Swelling or stiffness with an inability to bend or straighten the knee completely
• Warm or tender to the touch
• A new popping or crunching sound when the knee is bent or straightened
• Weakness or instability in a joint under sustained weight
Knee Pain Treatment
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with knee pain, it might be time to seek professional knee pain treatment. Working with a doctor, you will receive a full evaluation that may include various diagnostic tests such as a physical examination, X-Rays, or an MRI. The course of treatment recommended will depend on several factors including the severity of the injury or condition, your age and overall health, and your activity level.
Non-Invasive Knee Pain Relief
Luckily, several common knee injuries and conditions can be healed with non-invasive knee pain relief options. These techniques are both safe and effective which can alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.
Chiropractic Care – People commonly associate chiropractic care with spine conditions, but truly chiropractic care focuses on overall wellbeing and balance. Often, knee injuries and conditions are caused by an imbalance in the body which can create undue stress on ligaments, muscles, joints, and tendons. By realigning the spine, the pressure is relieved, which can allow injuries to heal safely and naturally.
RICE – This acronym has withstood the test of time, and is a safe option when a patient first notices the signs of knee pain. RICE stands for rest, ice, (light) compression, and elevation. Combining these four elements can help alleviate knee pain symptoms.
Any type of knee pain, whether it stems from an injury or degenerative condition, can be debilitating and can impact everyday life. Finding a solution to alleviate symptoms fast, efficiently, and safely is pivotal to enjoy a high quality of life. The team at Risley Chiropractic understands just how important pain-free mobility is and is here to help.
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