- Chronic knee pain is a common issue among athletes of all ages.
- Understanding the cause of your knee pain is crucial for effective treatment.
- Seek medical attention from a sports medicine doctor or orthopedic surgeon.
- A knee doctor may have specialized knowledge and experience in treating knee injuries.
- Treatment options for chronic knee pain vary, including physical therapy, injections, and surgery.
Sports injuries happen to even the best and most seasoned athletes. One of the most common injuries affecting athletes of all ages is knee pain, which can be caused by a variety of factors and can lead to chronic pain.
Chronic knee pain can be frustrating as it can prevent you from doing the activities you love, let alone every day. This blog post will look at some of the most common causes of knee pain and what you should do if experiencing chronic knee pain after a sports injury.
Understand the Cause of Your Knee Pain
The first step in dealing with chronic knee pain is understanding the underlying cause of your pain. The cause of knee pain can vary based on many factors, including age, gender, type of sport, weight, and fitness level. Some common causes include:
This is a common injury in sports that require quick changes of direction and jumping, such as soccer, basketball, and football. It is a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which connects your thigh bone to your shin bone. An ACL tear can be a severe injury that may require surgery.
The meniscus is a rubbery disc that cushions your knee joint. Meniscus tears can occur as a result of sudden movements or the gradual wear and tear over time. These types of tears are frequently observed in athletes, particularly those engaged in sports that require frequent twisting and turning.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
This condition is often called “runner’s knee” because it is commonly seen in runners. Still, it can happen to anyone who participates in repetitive knee motion. It is caused by the kneecap not moving smoothly over the femur, resulting in pain and inflammation.
Seek Medical Attention
If you are experiencing chronic knee pain, it is crucial to seek medical attention. A sports medicine doctor or orthopedic surgeon can evaluate your knee and provide an accurate diagnosis, essential for determining the most appropriate treatment plan for your condition.
However, a doctor specializing in knee injuries may be your best bet for effective and lasting treatment. A knee doctor will have a deep understanding of the complex structures that make up the knee joint and can provide personalized medicine based on your specific injury. The treatment for chronic knee pain will vary depending on the cause and severity, such as:
This treatment can help strengthen the muscles around your knee to provide additional support and stability. Physical therapy can also help improve flexibility and range of motion, crucial for preventing future injuries.
Sometimes, a doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation in the knee joint. This can temporarily relieve pain and discomfort, but it is not a long-term solution.
If conservative treatments do not provide relief, surgery may be necessary. Depending on the cause of your knee pain, surgery may involve repairing or replacing damaged ligaments, removing damaged cartilage, or realigning the kneecap.
Adjust Your Lifestyle Habits
There are lifestyle habits that can contribute to and aggravate knee pain. One of the most essential habits to focus on is maintaining a healthy weight. Excess weight puts additional stress on the knee joint, exacerbating knee pain. Additionally, specific exercises can cause other knee pain, such as running or high-impact activities. Your doctor may recommend low-impact activities or modifications to your current exercise routine to help reduce knee pain.
Use Appropriate Knee Support
The use of knee supports, such as braces or sleeves, can help to alleviate chronic knee pain. Depending on the cause of your knee pain, your doctor may recommend specific braces or sleeves for support during activity. Knee supports can help provide additional support to the knee joint and reduce pain, inflammation, and the risk of further injury.
Address the Underlying Issue
It’s important to understand that chronic knee pain is rarely isolated and can be a symptom of a more significant underlying issue. Thus, it’s essential to work with your doctor to address the underlying problem. For instance, if your knee pain is due to an ACL injury, simply treating the pain may not be enough. Instead, you’ll need to work with your doctor to ensure appropriate rehabilitation and conditioning to prevent further injury.
Chronic knee pain after a sports injury can be a challenging condition that requires a multi-faceted approach. By understanding the underlying cause of your knee pain, seeking medical attention, adjusting your lifestyle habits, using appropriate knee supports, and addressing the underlying issue, you can significantly reduce chronic knee pain and get back to doing the activities you love. The team at your local medical clinic can help determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your situation and provide you with the support and guidance you need along the way.