How Do You Cure Knee Pain?
The good thing about looking for a cure for your knee pain is that it means you have developed the right mindset around resolving your pain. The bad thing about looking for a cure is that the whole concept of a ‘cure for knee pain’ runs the risk of severely oversimplifying the issue.
People often ask me if there is a way to cure knee pain. In response I usually ask them .. ‘is there a cure for dental problems?’. There is a reason I am a bit evasive like that. The whole concept of a cure for conditions like knee pain and dental pain is a bit wonky. But don’t worry, because it doesn’t mean that you can’t find the kind of relief you are looking for.
A Cure For Dental Pain ?
When it comes to episodes of dental pain, we can resolve them very effectively using the usual drills etc, not much fun but it definitely works! If we start to talk about a ‘cure’ for dental pain things get a bit more complex though right?
If from today you eliminate sugar from your diet, see a dental hygienist regularly and perform excellent daily dental self care; you may on your death bed be able to look back and say you cured yourself… or you even after all that, you might still have some cavities as you go along. In any case you know that to be at least semi-confident of a life without dental pain, you are required to act consistently on self care for a lifetime, and possibly require a reasonable dose of luck.
A Cure For Knee Pain ?
The same eternal truth may apply to the topic of ‘curing’ your knee pain as it does to the dental pain. With the eternal presence of concrete (which is as bad for your knees as sugar is to your teeth), a history of knee problems, and a busy active life, you are permanently at risk of knee pain.
On the other hand if you work hard at the types of rehabilitation that people like myself prescribe, you have a shot at being able to look back and say you never had any more pain.
So we may not be able to count on a cure, because life is unpredictable at the best of times, but there are effective tools for managing knee pain. So we needn’t lose any sleep over a cure.
If you have had toothache during your lifetime, but you don’t lie awake at night worrying about a permanent cure for dental pain then you don’t need to do the same with your knees. It’s more just a case of doing the work.
How To Manage Your Knee Pain
So we have moved past worrying about a cure but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to aim for one. That’s where good management of knee pain comes in. The following is a good outline of how to manage cases of knee pain that doesn’t involve significant damage and injury, in other words ‘most’ knee pain cases:
Get a proper diagnosis for exactly what tissue within your knee is sending the pain signal, eg tendon, ligament, muscle, bursa. Is there some scar tissue in the quadriceps attachments? Is there an enflamed bursa? Is there tendinosis in the patella tendon?
Get a proper biomechanical diagnosis for your knee pain. What this means is finding a practitioner who can identify what movement issue or old unresolved injury has caused the irritation and pain signal in the tissues of your knee. Flat feet can cause knee pain. Weak glutes can cause knee pain. Certain types of habitual walking and standing can cause knee pain.
Receive appropriate pain relief / tissue healing treatments in an attempt to resolve the immediate knee pain. This can involve acupuncture, acupressure, cupping, stretching, breaking up scar tissue, ultrasound etc etc. The basic principles are usually along the lines of increasing blood flow, relieving muscle spasm, deactivating trigger points and breaking up scar tissue.
Work towards greater strength of the muscles around the knee. Most knee pain sufferers have a severe need to build the muscle up around the knee. To highlight the value of this maybe it’s interesting to know that there are a growing number of professional athletes finding good results not have surgery for their ACL and meniscus tears, but instead work on muscles strength.
Work on the functional strength of your knee muscles and your hip muscles. Weight bearing exercises that target the main supportive/stabilising muscles of the leg help to rewire the knees support muscles for pain and injury prevention. What this would feel like to your is improvements in your ability to balance.
Recieve an appropriate orthotics prescription it it is necessary for your particular biomechanical issues. Supporting that arch of the foot and protecting the knee for surfaces like concrete and paving slabs is a crucial component in resolving knee pain for many people.
Keep doing that exercises 5-10 mins per day forever the same way you are going to brush your teeth forever. Keep wearing your orthotics forever. Get your knee checked out any time you get any pain whatsoever. Don’t run marathons on tarmac. Cross your fingers.
The idea of a cure for knee pain is an admirable but slightly naive one. Preventing knee pain for a lifetime is something that many of us (myself included) have to work on. Despite this there are many effective tools and strategies for working not only knee pain but it’s underlying causes.