There are many different causes of knee pain. A common cause is osteoarthritis, a condition that affects the body’s joints. The surfaces within the joint are damaged so the joint doesn’t move as smoothly as it should. An osteopath or your doctor can examine your knee and help to diagnose what the problem may be.
What can be done to help?
There are a number of different tablets and creams available. Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may help and you should use them if you need to. It’s important that you take them regularly and at the recommended dose to help you control the pain and allow you to continue exercising. Don’t wait until your pain is severe before taking painkillers.
You shouldn’t take ibuprofen or aspirin if you’re pregnant or have asthma, indigestion or an ulcer until you’ve spoken to your doctor or pharmacist. Medication can have side- effects so you should read the label carefully and check with your pharmacist if you have any queries.
If over-the-counter medication doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe stronger painkillers or capsaicin cream, which you can rub directly onto the knee.
If your knee pain is affecting your activity and is persisting, an osteopath can help you to manage pain and improve the strength in the knee. You may need some maintenance appointments so the knee can be assessed for improvement and function.
Surgery may be recommended if your pain is very severe or you have mobility problems. Your doctor will discuss with you what the surgery may involve.
What can I do to help myself?
- lose weight (if you’re overweight)
- exercise – low-impact activities such as swimming, cycling and using a cross-trainer are particularly good.
Thigh muscle (quadriceps)exercises
Straight-leg raise (sitting)
Sit well back in the chair with good posture. Straighten and raise one leg. Hold for a slow count to 10, then slowly lower your leg. Repeat this at least 10 times with each leg. If you can do this easily, try it with light weights on your ankles and with your toes pointing towards you. Try doing this every time you sit down.
Straight-leg raise (lying)
Bend one leg at the knee. Hold the other leg straight and lift the foot just off the bed. Hold for a slow count of 5, then lower. Repeat
5 times with each leg. Try doing it in the morning and at night while lying in bed.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front. Keeping your foot to the floor, slowly bend one knee until you feel it being comfortably stretched. Hold for 5 seconds. Straighten your leg as far as you can and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times with each leg.
Step onto the bottom step of stairs with the right foot. Bring up the left foot, then step down with the right foot, followed by the left foot. Repeat with each leg until you get short of breath. Hold on to the bannister if necessary. As you improve, try to increase the number of steps you can do in 1 minute and the height of the step.
Hold onto a chair or work surface for support. Squat down until your kneecap covers your big toe. Return to standing. Repeat at least 10 times. As you improve, try to squat a little further. Don’t bend your knees beyond a right angle.
If you need any help or advice, please contact us at the Better care clinic on 01923 628130.