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The A to Z of knee pain

The A to Z of Knee Pain

The knee is the largest joint in the body and one of the most complex, making it a very vulnerable joint! It is made up of 4 bones, more than 20 muscles each with a tendon, 4 major ligaments as well as many little ones, and at least 3 layers of cartilage.

Arthroscopy

An operation to “clean” inside the knee joint. Results of recent studys report that arthroscopic surgery is one of the most unnecessary operations performed today, as the results are no better than placebo surgery!! Sadly, despite this monumental finding, thousands undergo this operation each year.

Bakers Cyst

Swelling at the back of the knee, which is a distress signal from the knee, can make walking uncomfortable and it compromises the knee joint function. Orthotics can reduce the pressure and lymphatic drainage and physiotherapy can bring the swelling down, making you more comfortable.

Chilli

Researchers suggest that patch containing capsaicin is “significantly effective” for osteoarthritis of the knee as the heat distracts the nerves from the pain. Please note that all this does is provide temporary pain relief.

Diet

Visceral fat (the fat around the tummy) has been shown to be very toxic to all joints but the knee is particularly vulnerable. More weight also puts more load on weight bearing joints like the knee.

Extension

Getting the knee straight is of critical importance and is often the first movement to go. This is what causes the limp. A bent knee can then cause hip and back problems as the whole lower body is out of alignment. Many leg length discrepancies are misdiagnosed and are really lack of knee extension. Special knee extension equipment from America, reduces the pain and makes this an achievable outcome!

Feet

Your knee is the biggest shock absorber for every step you take, so if there is too much shock or twist from the feet, the knee is going to take the strain. Correct support at the feet can relieve the strain on the joint, reduce pain and prevent the situation getting worse.

Glucosamine

This helps lubricate the joints, making movement less painful and for maximum effect it is best taken with Chondroitin (this is the expensive bit!).

Hips

Pain from the hips is often referred to the knee. Make sure both are checked before starting treatment!

Ice

Numbs the pain and reduces swelling. Wrap an ice pack or frozen peas in a damp cloth, to prevent ice burns, and apply for 10 minutes.

Joint Replacement

When the joint has become so damaged, it is replaced with a titanium joint. They are often refused if you are “too young” as they have a lifespan of 5 – 10 years depending on activity levels. Consider this as a last resort!

Knee Movement

If your knee can’t get straight, then this puts huge strain on the joint and stops the muscles working properly. If you can’t get the knee straight, it will not bend properly! The bend isn’t the important movement.

Limping

If not corrected, limping can cause problems in the back and hips. These problems can’t be resolved until the knee problem is fixed.

Magnetic Resonance Therapy

A German technology for the treatment of osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease. This treatment strengthens and reinforces the cartilage, ligaments and tendons in the joint. It reduces inflammation and pain, allowing you to get your exercise regime going. We have over a 90% success rate for knees!

Nothing

Unfortunately waiting for it to “go away on its own” doesn’t always work, especially as you get older. It is always best to be proactive, the sooner you act the easier, quicker and more effective treatment is.

Orthotics

Modern computerised corrective insoles are slim and discreet enough to fit in everyday shoes and are a major tool to prevent knee problems.

Physical Therapy

American research shows that exercise significantly improves movement and reduces pain in the knee. The 1st muscle to lose strength in any knee problem is the quadriceps so focus on these. Exercise is not easy at first but get advice and persevere! Stretch and strengthen

Q Angle Correction:

The angle formed by your thighbone and shinbone through the knee cap when viewed from the front. If you are knock-kneed or bandy-legged this angle is wrong, putting extra pressure on the knee. The right shoes and arch supports can reduce the risk of joint damage.

Referred Pain

Getting an accurate diagnosis is critically important! Pain in the knee can be referred from the hip or the feet and without an accurate diagnosis, treatment is a waste of time as you are not treating the true cause of the problem.

Supports

Are not all created equal! It is important to get the right one for your knee problem and the activity you want to do. New specialized techniques using tape are most effective. Elastic supports stifle the circulation and restrict movement.

Tissue Engineering

Or stem cell regeneration. This is a new surgery technique which implants cartilage from elsewhere aiming to stimulate cartilage re-growth but, has mixed results to date.

Ultrasound

Used by physiotherapists, this therapy uses sound waves to reach deep tissues and increase blood flow, relax muscles and aid healing.

Viscosupplementation

Injections of hyaluronate into the joint to lubricate it but not cure it. The injection can be painful and only offers short term pain relief.

Water

Exercising in your swimming pool takes the weight off your knees. Over and over again research shows that exercise can reduce knee pain, and is an important MUST!

X-rays

And other investigations can give you a clearer idea of how advanced the problem is. Always make sure you get the right investigation for your problem, this should follow a detailed clinical assessment.

Yucca

Possible anti-inflammatory, as well as, a steroid effect on pain and potentially beneficial effects on bone density.

Zinc

A controversial Korean study suggests that too much zinc could be part of the cause of osteoarthritis.

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