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How do I Treat Knee Joint Pain?

Treating knee joint pain effectively starts with understanding its cause. From rest and ice to physical therapy and medication, options vary. Incorporating gentle stretches and strengthening exercises can also provide relief. For persistent discomfort, medical intervention may be necessary. Visual guides can help ensure techniques are performed correctly. Wondering which approach is right for you? Let's examine the possibilities together.
Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Knee pain is a common problem, especially among athletes and those who are overweight. The condition can have many possible causes. Fortunately, one can treat knee joint pain at home if the case is mild. For more severe cases, a doctor usually can help.

An injury to the knee such as during a car accident or a sporting event is a common cause of knee pain. Also, you may also injure your knee if you fall in an awkward position. Your knees may simply be degenerating due to the natural aging processes, as well.

An ice pack, which can reduce knee pain.
An ice pack, which can reduce knee pain.

The specific symptoms of knee joint pain will vary depending on the exact cause of the injury. For example, if you have a ligament injury, you may hear a popping sound. You will likely be unable to place much weight on the injured knee. A tendon injury may cause swelling and an inability to completely straighten the knee.

You may also have bursitis, which is the inflammation of the bursae. Bursae are sacs filled with fluid that act as cushions for your knee joint. If they become inflamed, you will likely experience redness and swelling at the knee, as well as stiffness and pain when moving. Bursitis can also result in a fever if the bursae become infected.

Creams with capsaicin, a chemical that gives red peppers their heat, can be used to relieve joint pain.
Creams with capsaicin, a chemical that gives red peppers their heat, can be used to relieve joint pain.

There are other possible causes of knee pain, such as arthritis. If your pain is severe, persistent, and you are unable to bear weight on the knee, see a doctor. You should also see a doctor immediately if you have a fever, swelling, or your knee appears deformed.

Your doctor can explore options with you on how to treat knee joint pain. He will likely recommend that you wear a brace or a compression wrap to help ease pain during walking. Resting from physical activity and keeping the knee elevated may also help. Your doctor may advise that you apply an ice pack to the knee for approximately 20 minutes to relieve the pain and inflammation.

Oral pain medication can offer relief joint pain.
Oral pain medication can offer relief joint pain.

Ask your doctor about pain medications, as well. Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen can be tried first. If these are not strong enough to control the pain, your doctor may prescribe a pain reliever, such as prescription-strength naproxen. Consider the possible side effects before taking any medication.

In addition to oral medications, you can also ask your doctor about injected drugs. An injection of a corticosteroid medication can reduce inflammation and pain. Some topical ointments, such as those containing capsaicin, can also provide pain relief.

You might consider working with a physical therapist to treat knee joint pain. Physical therapy can help rehabilitate a damaged knee by improving the strength of muscles around the knee. It can also help you regain stability and range-of-motion.

Pain medication can help with knee pain.
Pain medication can help with knee pain.

If these measures are not enough to treat knee joint pain and heal your damaged knee, you may need to consider surgical options. A doctor can help you decide the surgical approach that will work best for you. This usually depends on the severity and the type of the injury. Sometimes, surgery may be able to repair the damage to your knee. Otherwise, you may need to consider a partial or total knee replacement.

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    • An ice pack, which can reduce knee pain.
      By: Kimberly Reinick
      An ice pack, which can reduce knee pain.
    • Creams with capsaicin, a chemical that gives red peppers their heat, can be used to relieve joint pain.
      By: atoss
      Creams with capsaicin, a chemical that gives red peppers their heat, can be used to relieve joint pain.
    • Oral pain medication can offer relief joint pain.
      By: guysagne
      Oral pain medication can offer relief joint pain.
    • Pain medication can help with knee pain.
      By: underdogstudios
      Pain medication can help with knee pain.
    • Compression wraps may help ease knee joint pain.
      By: Raia
      Compression wraps may help ease knee joint pain.
    • Physical therapy may help relieve joint pain.
      By: Kzenon
      Physical therapy may help relieve joint pain.