Knee Pain Overview: What Causes Painful Knees And How To Get Instant Pain Relief
Introduction To Knee Pain
Knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints that brings people to a pain specialist. In today’s medicine savvy world, the number of people looking for knee treatment is growing. Hence it’s a struggle to find the best knee pain relief specialist out there which you can conveniently access and can help you with this problem.
Knee pain is more common in active people who put a lot of pressure on their knees, like runners and athletes. It affects women more often than men. The pain can originate in any of the bony structures comprising the knee joint (femur, tibia, fibula), the kneecap (patella), or the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage of the knee.
What Causes Knee Pain?
There are several common causes of knee pain. These include:
- Overuse of the knee joint which lead to chronic conditions like Osteoarthritis, Chondromalacia, Patellar syndromes, Tendinitis and Bursitis
- Acute injuries like a broken bone or fractures, dislocation, torn ligament, or a meniscal tear
- Ageing process which causes breakdown of the bone under the cartilage resulting in conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
Apart from that, you are more likely to have knee pain if you:
- exercise a lot or have recently increased your workout intensity
- have a BMI (body mass index) greater than 25
- Walk in an awkward position like the feet turned overly outward or inward
- Have weakness or tightness in surrounding muscle groups (like the inner quad or hip adductor muscles)
- Have a recent history of injury to the knee
Home Care For Knee Pain
There are numerous home remedies for knee pain that control inflammation and help to achieve instantaneous, best knee pain relief. These include protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This regimen is summarized by the mnemonic PRICE
- PROTECT the knee from further trauma. This can be done with the help of a knee padding or splinting. For example, a pad over the kneecap (patella) helps to control the symptoms of Bursitis (also called housemaid’s knee) by preventing further repetitive injury to the Prepatellar Bursae.
- REST the knee. This reduces the repetitive stress placed on the knee by activity. It also gives the knee time to cope, heal and helps to prevent further injury.
- ICE the knee. Icing the knee reduces swelling, which can help in healing for both acute and chronic knee injuries. Doctors recommend icing the knee 2 to 3 times a day for 20-30 minutes each time using an ice bag or a bag of frozen vegetables.
- COMPRESS the knee with a knee brace. Compression reduces swelling and knee pain. In acute knee injuries, compression can be used to keep the knee cap (patella) aligned and to keep the joint line intact.
- ELEVATE the knee. Elevation also helps in reducing the inflammation and swelling after an injury. Elevation works with gravity to help fluid which would otherwise accumulate in the knee flow back to the central circulation towards the heart. Elevation works best when the injured knee is higher than the level of the heart.
Over-the-counter pain medicine which includes pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen (Advil) and Naproxen (Aleve) also play a role in the treatment of knee pain.
When To See A Doctor For Knee Pain?
If your symptoms of knee pain have not gone away after trying a week of PRICE therapy and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relief medications, it’s recommended to set up an appointment with the doctor. Knee pain that does not respond to rest or does not disappear within a few days needs further evaluation by a doctor. In addition, the following are symptoms and signs that there is a problem which a doctor should thoroughly evaluate:
- Any visible swelling, deformity or signs of injury
- Inability to bend the knee
- Unable to walk or discomfort while walking
- Significant pain in the knees
Your local doctor might refer you to a pain specialist for management of your pain. There are various pain management clinics in Singapore that exclusively deal with such issues.
When To Immediately Go To The Hospital For Knee Pain?
If you cannot bend or put weight on your knee, feel sick or have a high-grade fever, or your knee is red and hot, you should consider going to the Emergency Room (ER) immediately to be evaluated by a doctor. Emergencies include a knee fracture or an infection,
Preventing Knee Pain
In some cases, you can prevent chronic knee pain. To help prevent a flare-up of knee pain, the following can be implemented in your daily-life activities.
- Regularly do all the exercises the doctor or physical therapist advises and warm up fully before exercising
- Stretch properly before and after exercise. Use knee bands to support the knee if needed
- Wear comfortable shoes and replace running shoes regularly
- Try to maintain a healthy body weight
What To Expect When I Visit The Pain Relief Clinic
A typical visit will involve our doctor first understanding your medical history, concerns and previous experience with other pain treatments.
For patients who have consulted many people but have yet to receive a clear diagnosis, selecting an affordable imaging scan might be recommended to confirm the cause of your pain..
Some patients have already done scans with other doctors for their pain condition but are still not clearly told what they suffer from.
Dr Terence Tan is happy to offer you a second opinion and recommend how best to manage your condition.
We also see patients who already have a confirmed diagnosis from specialist pain doctors, but are "stuck” because treatment options offered are not practical or acceptable.
We can help by discussing options that you might have potentially never been told of.
A common experience is when a patient has already consulted a specialist doctor for pain management and is told to consider orthopaedic surgery which they find too aggressive.
Or they may have seen doctors for their pain and were prescribed painkillers with potential side effects which made them feel uncomfortable.
Many of our patients have also first tried complementary treatments or acupuncture with traditional Chinese pain doctors.
They look for a second opinion after finding any relief experienced from other treatments to be temporary or requiring repetitive treatments, which add up to time and cost.
Especially in such situations, we emphasize using non-invasive medical technology you likely have not been told about .
This can make a big difference to your results.