Know When To See Your Doctor
While many conditions that cause knee pain can be helped by exercise, in some instances it may not be appropriate, says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. You should stop exercising and see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
Krill Oil Supplements For Knee Pain
Krill are a tiny, shrimp-like crustaceans found in all the oceans of the world. They feed on microalgae from which they obtain omega-3 fatty acids and two antioxidant pigments, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin. These pigments are produced by algae to protect them from ultraviolet light and, when these algae and shrimps are eaten by wild flamingos, give them their attractive pink plumage. Without them flamingos would be grey. These carotenoid pigments, which also cause shrimps, prawns and lobsters to turn red when cooked, are the reason why krill oil has such a vibrant, crimson colour.
When Should People Seek Medical Attention For Knee Pain
We have seen that mild and moderate knee problem can easily be treated through home remedies.
However, it is essential to know when you need to contact your doctor to evaluate the problem. The following are the common signs and symptoms that indicate that the problem requires more than just home remedies:
- Unable to bend
- Discomfort while walking or inability to walk
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Have A Bedtime Routine
This is incredibly important for treating knee osteoarthritis.
See, 50-80% of people with knee OA have sleep problems. This is a huge problem because good sleep has been shown to ease pain. It can even have protective effects on the knee cartilage.
On the other hand, a bad nights sleep can make you more sensitive to pain. Studies show that this can happen with as little as a 4-hour sleep restriction for 2 consecutive nights.
What does a bedtime routine have to do with this?
A bedtime routine can promote quality sleep. Over time, this sets up a rhythm that prepares your brain for rest, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
Now, the activities will vary. According to the Sleep Foundation, a good bedtime routine should be relaxing and start at the same time every day. Avoid using electronic devices.
A good example of a bedtime routine for knee osteoarthritis can look like this:
- Taking a warm bath
- Lower leg stretches in bed
- Aromatherapy or a soothing self-massage
Articles On Knee Pain
You can do many things to help knee pain, whether it’s due to a recent injury or arthritis you’ve had for years.
Follow these 11 dos and donâts to help your knees feel their best.
Donât rest too much. Too much rest can weaken your muscles, which can worsen joint pain. Find an exercise program that is safe for your knees and stick with it. If you’re not sure which motions are safe or how much you can do, talk with your doctor or a physical therapist.
Do exercise. Cardio exercises strengthen the muscles that support your knee and increase flexibility. Weight training and stretching do, too. For cardio, some good choices include walking, swimming, water aerobics, stationary cycling, and elliptical machines. Tai chi may also help ease stiffness and improve balance.
Donât risk a fall. A painful or unstable knee can make a fall more likely, which can cause more knee damage. Curb your risk of falling by making sure your home is well lit, using handrails on staircases, and using a sturdy ladder or foot stool if you need to reach something from a high shelf.
Do use “RICE.” Rest, ice, compression, and elevation is good for knee pain caused by a minor injury or an arthritis flare. Give your knee some rest, apply ice to reduce swelling, wear a compressive bandage, and keep your knee elevated.
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Always Take Your Medication
First things first: Make sure you havent been ignoring your prescriptions. For example, if a medication is supposed to be taken three times a day or two times a day, but a patient only takes one dose, then they dont feel like theres an effect, says Dr. Torralba. It does take a while for the medication to build up in their body and take an effect. Sticking with your treatment plan is the best way to get arthritis joint pain relief. If youve been feeling better, thats because of the medications its not a signal that the disease is gone for good.
Visit A Physical Therapist
Physical therapists work with your doctor to design specific exercises for knee rehabilitation. Many of these will focus on lengthening and strengthening the supporting muscles of the upper and lower legs, such as quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
Even one visit to learn the proper form for knee arthritis exercises can help support your recovery.
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How Is Knee Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use some of the following diagnostic tests and procedures to determine if you have knee arthritis:
- Medical history and physical examination
- Blood tests for genetic markers or RA antibodies
- X-rays to determine cartilage loss in the knee
- Joint aspiration: drawing out and testing the synovial fluid inside the knee joint
Cartilage cannot be seen on X-ray, but narrowing of the joint space between the bones indicates lost cartilage. X-rays show bone spurs and cysts, which can be caused by osteoarthritis. Other tests such as MRI or CT scans are rarely needed for diagnosis.
Meniscus Tears Of The Knee
The meniscus can be torn with the shearing forces of rotation that are applied to the knee during sharp, rapid motions. This is especially common in sports requiring reaction body movements. There is a higher incidence with aging and degeneration of the underlying cartilage. More than one tear can be present in an individual meniscus. The patient with a meniscal tear may have a rapid onset of a popping sensation with a certain activity or movement of the knee. Occasionally, it is associated with swelling and warmth in the knee. It is often associated with locking or and unstable sensation in the knee joint. The doctor can perform certain maneuvers while examining the knee which might provide further clues to the presence of a meniscal tear.
Routine X-rays, while they do not reveal a meniscal tear, can be used to exclude other problems of the knee joint. The meniscal tear can be diagnosed in one of three ways: arthroscopy , arthrography, or an MRI. Arthroscopy is a surgical technique by which a small diameter video camera is inserted through tiny incisions on the sides of the knee for the purposes of examining and repairing internal knee joint problems. Tiny instruments can be used during arthroscopy to repair the torn meniscus.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Arthritis Of The Knee
It might be helpful to arrive at your healthcare providers office with a list of questions you want or need to be answered. Consider:
- Do I have arthritis in one knee or both?
- What type of arthritis do I have?
- Whats a possible cause of my arthritis?
- What treatments do you recommend?
- What medications should I take?
- Do I need physical therapy?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Knee arthritis can affect people of all ages. Its painful, impairs movement and causes swelling of the joint. Some people are so disabled by it that they cant work anymore. Others can only work after surgery. Meanwhile, for others, the pain isnt necessarily as bad, but it still prevents them from regular activities like cleaning, gardening and running after their kids.
Arthritis of the knee can decrease your quality of life. The good news is that treatments can lessen the severity of your symptoms. The pain and swelling might not be as bad. See your healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment if you have symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/18/2021.
Who Gets Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. While it can occur even in young people, the chance of developing osteoarthritis rises after age 45. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 27 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis, with the knee being one of the most commonly affected areas. Women are more likely to have osteoarthritis than men.
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Speak To Your Pharmacist Or Gp About Joint Pain If:
- You have symptoms of arthritis but haven’t been diagnosed
- Your pain isn’t controlled
- You’re on medicines to tone down your immune system and you get symptoms such as a sore throat – seek urgent advice as this may be a sign of a blood disorder
- Your joint pain becomes worse
- There are any changes in your condition
- You regularly buy diclofenac or ibuprofen products
The cold can also make joint and muscles pain worse. Making sure that you wrap up warm during the winter months and ease aching joints with a hot bath or hot water bottle.
If your joint pain is stemming from an injury or strain, try to rest and apply a cold pack for 15-20 minutes every two-three hours during the day. You could also bandage it to contain swelling and keep it raised if possible. It’s best to start using the joint soon to keep it mobile, but always see your GP if there’s no improvement.
*A TENS machine is not suitable for use during pregnancy or labour, or if you suspect you may be pregnant. Its also unsuitable for people with pacemakers or other implanted medical devices or heart rhythm problems. Cancer patients and people with diabetes or epilepsy should seek medical advice before using this product. A TENS machine should not be used without supervision by children under 16 years of age.
Deformities Of The Knee
The appearance of the knee can change during a flare and as damage progresses.
In RA, swelling and redness are common during a flare. In the long term, persistent inflammation can result in permanent damage to the cartilage and the tendons. This can affect the shape and appearance of the knee.
With OA, the muscles around the knee can weaken, resulting in a sunken appearance. The knees can start to point toward each other or bend outward.
Knee deformities range from barely noticeable to severe and debilitating.
Treatment will depend on the type of arthritis a person has.
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Antidepressants For Osteoarthritis Pain
Your doctor may recommend the use of antidepressant medication to help treat chronic OA pain even if you donât have depression. Itâs not clear how it works, but brain chemicals affected by antidepressant medications may play a role.
One antidepressant, duloxetine , is FDA-approved for the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain, including chronic osteoarthritis pain. Common side effects include nausea, dry mouth, sleepiness, and constipation.
Doctors sometimes prescribe a tricyclic antidepressant such as amitriptyline, desipramine , and nortriptyline for chronic pain. These are most often taken near bedtime because they can make you sleepy. Other side effects include dry mouth, nausea, weight change, and constipation.
All antidepressant drugs carry a boxed warning of higher risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults. Anyone starting antidepressant drugs should be monitored closely for any unusual behavioral changes, suicidal thinking and behavior, or worsening of a psychiatric disorder.
How Boswellia Supplements Reduce Knee Pain
Boswellia contains several anti-inflammatory substances, including boswellic acids, which are as effective in reducing pain as some non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs . Boswellia is particularly effective for reducing knee pain, and is often combined with other joint supplements such as turmeric and glucosamine to boost their effects.
When Boswellia extracts were added to cartilage cultures grown from people underoing knee replacement surgery, Boswellia was found to stabilise the cartilage, reduce loss of structural substances, and had a protective, anti-inflammatory effect that was predicted to reduce cartilage degeneration.
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How To Use Pain Medications Properly
There are two types of over-the-counter pain medications that can be used for osteoarthritis. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever but not an anti-inflammatory. It may help with mild knee pain.
NSAIDs can be more effective because they both relieve pain and reduce inflammation. However, they come with potential side effects and risks. NSAIDs can irritate the lining of the stomach, which may lead to an ulcer or other stomach problems. They also can impair kidney function. Some NSAIDs can increase blood pressure. And theyve been linked to an increased risk for heart disease.
Because of the risks, Dr. Day cautions against using NSAIDs regularly over long periods of time. Instead, she uses NSAIDs for her patients in two ways. First, people who have a flare-up of pain can take them regularly for three to five days and then stop. Second, they can be used over the long term, but only occasionally, maybe a couple of times a week as needed.
If youre taking NSAIDs several times a day for long periods of time, Dr. Day advises reducing their use by maximizing the other treatment strategies. She also suggests trying a topical NSAID, such as diclofenac , which has fewer potential side effects.
Opioid pain relievers are discouraged for long-term treatment of chronic knee pain. The milder narcotic tramadol might be appropriate for occasional use in some people, says Dr. Day.
How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee Diagnosed
The diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis will begin with a physical exam by your doctor. Your doctor will also take your medical history and note any symptoms. Make sure to note what makes the pain worse or better to help your doctor determine if osteoarthritis, or something else, may be causing your pain. Also find out if anyone else in your family has arthritis. Your doctor may order additional testing, including:
- X-rays, which can show bone and cartilage damage as well as the presence of bone spurs
- magnetic resonance imaging scans
MRI scans may be ordered when X-rays do not give a clear reason for joint pain or when the X-rays suggest that other types of joint tissue could be damaged. Doctors may use blood tests to rule out other conditions that could be causing the pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, a different type of arthritis caused by a disorder in the immune system.
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Dont Sit For Long Periods
Especially if youre dealing with back pain, staying too sedentary could be contributing to the pain, says Dr. Torralba. We get a lot of patients who are doing desk jobs, and theyre constantly sitting, she says. They tend to forget that over time, sitting is bad for your back. She recommends getting up at least once an hour to do a bit of stretching by your desk.
Hydrolysed And Unhydrolysed Collagen Supplements
The form of collagen found in joints is found in the diet, particularly in meat. The collagen used in supplements is either derived from marine sources , or from animals cartilage . Marine collagen peptides have a higher concentration of the amino acids needed for the production and repair of human cartilage .
Supplements can contain collagen in its original state , or in a hydrolysed or solubilised form.
- Unhydrolysed collagen contains large collagen molecules which must first be digested before they can be absorbed and used in the body.
- Hydrolysed collagen is in a body-ready form as it is pre-digested by protease enzymes to release small fragments that are more easily absorbed and used.
When you take a hydrolysed collagen supplement, it is rapidly absorbed into the circulation from which it is extracted by cells that need these building blocks and cartilage where it acts as a signal to trigger the synthesis of new collagen fibres.
As well as supporting joint health, collagen supplements have benefits on skin suppleness, elasticity and hydration to reduce the formation of skin wrinkles. Collagen also offers benefits for people with thinning bones as it is a bone scaffold protein on which calcium salts are laid down.
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What Else You Can Do To Help Relieve Joint Pain
Although strains and sprains can often be the cause of painful joints, there are other causes to watch out for, including cold weather, along with gout, bursitis and arthritis.
- Take regular exercise – it helps build the muscles that support the joint, helping with pain. Choose gentle low impact exercises such as swimming and speak to your GP first if you’re not used to exercise
- Keep to a healthy weight – excess weight can put more stress on joints such as your knees
- Pace your activities and don’t do too much in one go
- Keep warm – many people find their joints hurt more in the cold and wet, so keep well wrapped up
- Alongside your painkillers you can also use a TENS* machine, like the LloydsPharmacy joint pain reliever, and other drug-free products, such as hot and cold packs. To find out more about how TENS machines work and their benefits
How Vitamin C Reduces Knee Pain
Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis and for the metabolism of joint cartilage. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant, especially in joint fluid.
Poor intakes of vitamin C can lead to reduced collagen formation and slow joint healing. In contrast, good intakes of vitamin C can reduce cartilage loss and disease progression in osteoarthritis, while its antioxidant action reduces joint inflammation.
Vitamin C stimulates bone-building cells to improve bone mineral density and support the overlying joint cartilage. Vitamin C may even help to prevent damage, cartilage loss and the development of osteoarthritis.
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