How to Treat Knee Pain
Knee pain should not be ignored or hardened. Pain is a warning signal from the body that something is wrong. Ignoring this signal is foolish and can have some serious consequences.
For example, tearing a knee ligament or meniscus and playing in pain can prolong the recovery time to return to peak performance, as this is likely to cause further damage to the knee joint. Not to mention, this damage can increase your risk of chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Some sources of knee pain, such as tumors or deep vein thrombosis, can even threaten limb vitality or lead to stroke.
For this reason, if resting the knee does not relieve knee pain, you should consult a doctor or other medical professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options for knee pain relief.
Thankfully, there are some home remedies for knee pain that work well for many knee injuries, such as hamstring strains, cartilage injuries, or patellar tendon strains (also known as jumper's knee).
Related reading: Are knee braces good for arthritis?
Home Remedies for Knee Pain
Preferred knee pain treatment follows the steps of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). In addition to rest, it is often helpful to apply ice to the affected area and provide pressure to relieve painful inflammation. For this purpose, raising the legs can also help.
Some people may find that a knee wrap or knee pain brace helps ensure the leg is rested and provides targeted pressure for pain relief. For more information, see our blog The Benefits of Knee Bracing Rehab.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can also be a useful addition to treating knee pain and managing swelling.
You can also perform some stretching, range of motion, and strength training exercises as remedies for knee pain, but these should not be performed without professional guidance. Certain movements and stretches can actually cause more damage to the knee joint. During this type of physical therapy, you may find that knee braces help provide support and stability.
The same can be said when you get back to your favorite activities. For example, a runner's knee is a fairly common phenomenon that causes pain around the kneecap. This is sometimes due to mistracking of the patella (knee cap). There are many knee braces for patellofemoral pain syndrome, a type of runner's knee, that can help keep the kneecap in the correct path and can be effective as an anterior knee pain treatment.
Invasive Knee Pain Therapy
Treating knee pain at home is not an option or ineffective for some knee conditions. For example, if a person tears one of the four major ligaments in the knee (Access Control List, PCL, LCL or MCL) surgery and/or extensive physical therapy with a professional to treat knee pain and restore the knee to Performance level before injury. Check out our ACL braces for ACL tears. In either case, braces for knee pain relief and stability may be needed.
Other knee pain treatment options that fall into the more invasive category include knee pain treatment injections, such as corticosteroid or joint lubricant injections. Arthritis knee pain treatment can be helpful for some people. Likewise, there are knee pain orthoses associated with various forms of arthritis that can complement the treatment of chronic knee pain.
In rare cases, such as popliteal artery entrapment, the only treatment option for knee pain is surgery. Thankfully, there are many postoperative braces for knee pain that can speed up the recovery process. (Check out the article "Advantages of Arthroscopic Knee Surgery.")
Other knee pain treatments
Sometimes, the underlying cause of knee pain isn't even knee-related. For example, you may have a mineral imbalance, a compressed disc in your spine, or a circulatory problem causing knee discomfort. In these cases, the underlying condition can be addressed with medications, treatments, supplements, etc. to get rid of or manage knee pain symptoms.
Best Treatment for Knee Pain: Prevention
Suffering a knee injury once in your lifetime increases your risk of getting another injury on the road and developing osteoarthritis. Therefore, it is well worth taking steps to prevent harm from happening in the first place.
Stretching and warming up are important when participating in physical activity. Wearing the right gear for specific activities, especially supportive shoes that fit your gait, is also important to prevent knee injuries.
As a side note, wearing supportive shoes during daily activities is also important for overall foot and knee health. Insoles or other orthoses for knee pain can also be a treatment option.
Another safe way to prevent knee injuries while exercising is to gradually ease any increase in exercise intensity or duration. Muscle imbalances are also a common culprit of knee pain, especially in runners. Therefore, achieving leg muscle balance through strength training can be both an effective running treatment for knee pain and a preventive measure.
More generally, obesity, smoking, or a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk of several knee injuries and medical conditions associated with knee pain. Addressing any deficiencies in this area will also help ensure that you don't experience knee pain.