Knee pain is a relatively common condition among adults. It can be very limiting due to the inability to move it causes. For this reason, it is advisable and wise to visit the doctor so that he or she can carry out an adequate clinical examination, provide timely medical assistance and be able to recommend the most appropriate treatment for each case. However, general informative and self-care guidelines can be considered to alleviate the discomfort caused by this condition. This is indicated by Dr. Oscar Chigne, rheumatologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma.
- Rest the joint
- Avoid continuing the activity that causes discomfort to avoid further injury and delay in your recovery.
- Apply cold compresses in cases of acute joint pain, as they help reduce the condition thanks to their vasoconstrictor and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Put on heat packs. If you have chronic pain with stiff joints and no evidence of swelling, put on a heat pack. These not only serve as muscle relaxants, but also as pain relievers.
- Place your foot elevated and your knee slightly bent while resting.
- Apply a muscle massage on the thigh. It is also a great alternative, as the quadriceps femoris is associated with good knee function.
- Use a cushion between your legs when you sleep. If the muscle is overloaded, the knee becomes unstable and the discomfort continues. So, use a cushion between your legs when sleeping, it can relieve contact knee pain.
Ways to protect your joint
The knee is a very complex joint, whose mechanical problems can be caused by various causes; from an uncomfortable shoe, to osteoarthritis. Learn how to prevent this condition, here are some self-care tips:
- It is important that people individualize the level of daily physical activity according to clinical parameters such as: physical condition, age or previous joint pathology through the practice of low and medium impact exercises. In this way, muscle tone increases with better blood flow and flexibility, relaxing and protecting the joints by reducing loads on the knees due to a better distribution of the weight supported by the legs.
- Swimming or walking on a regular basis are recommended exercises, although it is prudent to do them with a previous warm-up and stretching and cooling exercises at the end of the routine. As far as possible, contact, overload, impact or high intensity sports without adequate physical preparation should be avoided. If this cannot be avoided, a prior medical evaluation is suggested in order to characterize the most appropriate profile of physical activity to be carried out.
- Overweight is a considerable risk factor for early osteoarthritis, considering that four kilos of excess weight put forty pounds of pressure on the knees. Avoiding being overweight and following a proper diet helps prevent the onset of osteoarthritis and its progression.
- Inappropriate footwear puts stress on the knees during leg bending movements and walking. A comfortable, lightweight, low-heeled shoe with a thick sole is favorable for redistributing body weight and reducing joint stress.
- Avoid staying in prolonged postures, such as sitting or standing for a long time, as this causes joint fatigue and discomfort. Likewise, avoid joint overload when wandering over irregular terrain or carrying excessive weight, preventing situations of joint stress; for example: using an elevator instead of stairs or using a support cane, according to the case and individual circumstances.
If you feel pain in your knees, see your doctor. Don’t self-medicate. Getting an early diagnosis and proper treatment will help you maintain a good quality of life.
Dr. Oscar Chigne
Rheumatologist at Clinica Ricardo Palma