The knee joint is more prone to injury and deformation than other joints. It carries the weight of the body, and it accounts for the largest share of bruises in icy conditions, during exercise and when carrying heavy objects. Therefore, knee pain can appear at any age-from children to the elderly.
Doctors have identified at least a dozen possible causes of pain syndrome. How to understand the cause of leg pain and how to get rid of knee pain?
Causes of knee pain
There are two types of knee pain, acute and chronic. Generally, acute pain is a characteristic of rapidly progressing pathology (eg, reactive or post-traumatic arthritis), while chronic pain is a characteristic of slow pain that requires life-long treatment (arthropathy). The causes and treatments of knee pain vary.
However, self-diagnosis cannot be based solely on the nature of the pain.
Acute knee pain
Acute knee pain can occur after trauma, a few days after the injury (usually in the morning), or some time after infection. Trauma may occur even in daily activities-the risk increases the risk of overweight, bad habits, and occupations related to weight-bearing.
Bruises (may be accompanied by blue, purple, or purple bruises or spotting), tissue swelling due to accumulation of exudate, and nutrients are destroyed. Since the knee joint is not actually protected by soft tissues, bruising is very painful and dangerous. Knee pain caused by bruising may indicate damage to cartilage tissue and periosteum, microcracks in the bones, and other serious problems. Therefore, when pain occurs, it is very important to go to the emergency room within 1-2 days after the injury, even if the pain syndrome is not too severe.
Bruises are characterized by severe pain, marked swelling or hematoma when the knee is compressed. The sensation in the knee joint area may burst and compress. If the knee is "inflamed", it may be an inflammatory process-it must be stopped by an orthopedic traumatologist.
Severe knee pain is sometimes caused by an unnoticed sprain. When muscles, ligaments, and tendons are over-tightened or strained, the symptoms may resemble bruises (accumulation of exudate, pressure pain, restricted knee movement, hematoma). But the nature of the pain is already intense and sharp. When stepping on a sore leg, the knee is also unstable-the joint seems to be shaking. Through stretching, symptoms will accumulate quickly.
Crevices and tears
In the event of sudden braking, extremity, or direct impact, the ligaments may separate to provide normal mobility of the joint. Featured cotton is often heard. Within 1 hour, the leg swelled rapidly, doubled, and there was severe pain in the knee. After using the decongestant, the abnormal movement of the knee joint becomes obvious. This situation requires professional treatment!
A common injury in athletes most often occurs when the leg is bent and the knee is valgus. The pain is usually felt on the inside of the knee. There was obvious bleeding, severe swelling, and the injured knee could not bend his leg. The patient may need immediate surgery to repair the meniscus.
Chronic knee pain
Chronic pain is characterized by a gradual increase in pain syndrome. The rate of progress can vary from a few months to a few years. Initially, knee pain will occur during flexion after staying in the same posture for a long time, after sleeping, just beginning or after physical activity (which requires warming up). The cause of this pain is usually inflammation or degenerative malnutrition.
With osteoarthritis, the inflammatory process in the joint pocket reaches the head of the bone. The cartilage tissue of the knee joint wears and becomes thinner, which is why the bones cannot slide freely in the knee joint during flexion and extension.
In this disease, joint effusion can form, which can interfere with healthy movement and bone friction. Knee osteoarthritis may be caused by genetic causes, trauma (for example, improper treatment of ligament injuries), etc.
This autoimmune disease causes knee pain because the body's defense cells attack its own tissues. If the synovium of the knee joint is damaged, the knee joint will lose mobility, swelling, fever and pain. In addition, patients will experience increased fatigue, loss of appetite, and overall body temperature may increase (up to low fever and higher).
With rheumatoid arthritis, stiffness and other unpleasant symptoms are especially noticeable after waking up in the morning. This disease requires basic treatment and observation by rheumatologists throughout their lives.
Patellofemoral joint pain syndrome
Young people (especially women) are more likely to care about this issue. There is no structural change in the knee joint, but as physical exertion increases, the patella can move forward. Patellofemoral joint pain can be caused by incorrect foot placement (congenital and acquired), over-loading-when the muscles are not fully developed for exercise.
Other causes of knee pain include bursitis and synovitis, ligamentitis, and tendonitis (inflammation of the bursa, ligament, and tendon, respectively). They are characterized by severe pain. In addition, patients may suffer from gout, neuropathy or lumbosacral spine, cysts, tumors, and other diseases. Remember: only a rheumatologist can fully evaluate symptoms after a diagnostic test. He can prescribe a minimum of 2-3 weeks of maintenance treatment (which may naturally recover), or develop a long-term treatment strategy that is uninterrupted or recurrent.
Diagnosis of knee pain
Before treating knee pain, you need to work with your doctor to find out the cause. The diagnosis of knee pain begins with an oral inquiry and medical history of the patient. It is important to determine whether the patient has been injured or infected shortly before the onset of pain, whether there are accompanying symptoms, and in which case the pain is most pronounced. In addition, during the initial examination, the doctor may palpate the area of interest and perform exercise tests (for example, knee flexion and extension) to assess the extent of the pathological process.
If I am concerned about knee pain, which doctor should I contact? First, seek help from a plastic surgeon or rheumatologist. They will plan an examination and send you to another doctor if necessary.
In order to confirm the initial diagnosis, symptoms and treatment of knee pain, experts prescribe one or more tests:
- Nuclear magnetic resonance
- Arthroscopy (minimally invasive diagnostic surgery);
- Puncture to collect synovial fluid.
Knee pain treatment
The treatment of knee joint pain requires a comprehensive approach, including medications, physical therapy (including therapeutic exercises to strengthen muscles), overall health improvement, and the wearing of special orthoses. It can be elastic bandages, knee pads, bandages-splints and other devices, which can help relieve the knee, rule out its re-injury due to abnormal activities and speed up recovery.
Treat knee pain with medication
For the treatment of knee joint pain, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), glucocorticoids, chondroprotectants and vasodilators play a major role. Experts should be cautious when prescribing simple analgesics, because they do not allow the attending doctor and the patient to evaluate the condition of the knee joint by themselves, and the patient does not follow a mild treatment plan.
Anti-inflammatory drugs for knee pain
Eliminating inflammation and pain is one of the first tasks for knee joint disease. For this, local and systemic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ointments and tablets for knee pain) are used.
For pain, patients will receive injections due to knee pain.
For mild to moderate pain, NSAIDs can be used for knee pain in the form of an ointment. For knee joint injuries, it is recommended to use preparations containing polysulfate mucopolysaccharides. Relieve edema-use dimethyl sulfoxide (if the ingredient does not irritate the skin, it can also be in compressed form).
If the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are ineffective and the patient continues to suffer from extreme pain, the attending doctor will choose glucocorticoids in the form of tablets or intra-articular injections for him.
No matter what kind of disease causes knee discomfort, doctors recommend the use of chondroprotective agents for therapeutic and preventive purposes. The use of these drugs can accelerate the regeneration of connective tissue, especially cartilage tissue, protect it from oxidative shock, and promote the growth of healthy cartilage cells. The chondroprotectant has a positive effect on the recovery rate after trauma, reduces the risk of complications and has almost no side effects.
Taking vitamins and vitamin-mineral complexes is not superfluous, especially those with high vitamin B12 and C content.
Vasodilators and antispasmodics
These remedies for knee pain are also known as vasoprotectants and microcirculation correctors. They improve tissue nutrition, help relieve swelling and protect cartilage from hunger.
If knee pain is not the primary cause but is caused by infection or chronic systemic disease, special treatment may also be required. It involves taking antibiotics, immunosuppressants and other specialized drugs.
Physiotherapy for knee pain
Physical therapy procedures have been proven to be excellent at eliminating acute and chronic pain. They help strengthen and maintain the effect of drugs on knee pain, and penetrate the drugs into the soft tissues (this is especially effective for relatively shallow knee joints). Physical therapy can improve blood microcirculation, reduce inflammation and pain, promote exudate outflow, and restore knee joint mobility.
How to relieve knee pain and restore freedom of movement, the following procedures can:
- Magnetic therapy;
- Laser Treatment;
- Drug electrophoresis;
- Balneotherapy and mud therapy;
- Ultrasound therapy
- Ozokerite and paraffin wax application;
- Massage and manual therapy;
- Dynamic therapy
- Electrical muscle stimulation;
- And others.
Physical therapy is usually performed 7-12 times (depending on the type of exposure).
attention! Before undergoing physical therapy, be sure to consult your doctor. Certain techniques can only be used on the knee when there is no inflammation and in a state of relief (such as massage). And some (for example, electrophoresis) are allowed in the acute phase of the disease.
Combined intervention related treatment
When the swelling is severe, the doctor needs to remove the accumulated exudate, which can interfere with the normal function and nutrition of the joint. To do this, perform a puncture-pump out the excess fluid with a syringe. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia.
If standard medications and physical therapy do not work, the doctor may switch to periarticular blockers, joint lavage, or intra-articular injections of hyaluronic acid cocktails. For septic arthritis, medication is combined with puncture to remove pus and lavage fluid from the joint.
Surgery for knee pain is rarely performed-usually to repair the meniscus after an injury or when joint repair is required due to advanced arthritis and arthropathy.
Exercises to treat knee pain
Physical therapy is used to relieve knee pain, restore range of motion, and compensate for the pressure on the affected joint or tendon by conditioning the muscle tissue. The effect will occur within 10 days. When doing the exercises, so-called. "Unloading posture"-lying down, sitting down. The important thing is not to miss any day. Avoid sudden movements, pain during exercise.
The following exercises are suitable for home use.
- Lie on your back with your legs straight. We bend-straighten our toes.
- Lie on your back with your legs straight. We turned our feet left and right, trying to put them on the floor.
- Lie on your back with your legs straight. With the help of the muscles, we pull the toes towards the knees.
- Lie on your back. Keep your legs under your knees with your hands, bend steadily, and pull your knees toward your chest.
- Lie on your back. Without lifting the shoulder blades from the floor, we turned the pelvis and legs to the left, and then to the right. The arm (on the side where we turn the leg) can extend along the body line over the head.
- Lie on your back. We bend our right leg at the knee and place our right foot on the floor. We straighten and raise the left leg to the level of the right knee, and then rotate the foot in a circle (clockwise and counterclockwise). We repeat in the mirror image of the other leg.
- Lie on your back. Straighten the left leg and bend the right leg at the knee. We put our right leg on the left (sideways), and then turn our head to the right. Repeat for the other leg.
- Lie on your back. We practice "biking" in a gentle way.
How to protect your knee joint
Prevention of knee joint pain includes overall improvement of the body and a cautious attitude towards health. important:
- Strictly treat injuries and infectious diseases under the supervision of specialists;
- Don't neglect the treatment of chronic and congenital diseases (diabetes, gout, tonsillitis, hip dysplasia);
- Monitor body weight and diet, prevent obesity, excessive salt and sugar in food, and limit alcohol consumption;
- Maintain daily physical activity without overloading;
- Drink cartilage protectants in courses prone to joint diseases every year;
- Receive preventive checkups by rheumatologists 1-2 times a year;
- Follow a healthy regimen to treat insomnia;
- Drink enough water (2-3 liters/day);
- Don't get too cold
- Wear comfortable, not too tight underwear, clothes and shoes;
- Pick up comfortable furniture and don't sit cross-legged.
Don't procrastinate or procrastinate when your knee hurts for the first time-see a doctor right away!