Knee pain is one of the problems we see most frequently here at OCHK in Central. Whether you spend your weekends hitting the trails or the shops, we know how difficult it can be to manage daily life with knee pain.  Here, we look at common causes, and reveal our top tips on the best ways to manage your knee pain.

Why do my knees hurt?

There has been a surge in knee pain over the last two to three decades. It now affects around one in four adults.

That’s a lot of painful knees!

It’s true that the incidence of knee pain increases with age and osteoarthritis is the number one cause, so an ageing population may partly account for this.

But knee pain has an enormous array of potential causes, and managing knee pain depends on understanding the underlying issue.

If you have knee pain, seek the advice of a qualified health professional, such as an osteopath, for a full evaluation and diagnosis.

Figuring out the cause

Teenage knees

Certain conditions tend to pop up in people of certain ages. When we have a teenager visit us with knee pain, we’re more likely to be thinking about known issues that affect this population, such as Osgood-Schlatter’s disease or Sinding-Larsen-Johannson syndrome.

Both these conditions involve inflammation at the point where strongly growing muscles attach to still-developing bones – something often dismissed as ‘growing pains’.

Sporting knees

But managing knee pain that started with an injury on the sports field, for instance, involves a different diagnostic mindset.

Was there an impact that might have ruptured a ligament?

Is there swelling, clicking or locking that might suggest a damaged meniscus?

Or is this a knee pain with a gradual onset from excessive use, such as in runners and cyclists?

An imbalance in the quad muscles of the thigh can pull the knee cap out of its proper alignment in the groove of the thigh bone, causing irritation and inflammation.

Osteoarthritic knees

Osteoarthritis is by far the most common culprit among types of arthritis that affect knee joints.

It’s characterised by stiffness and pain as you start moving, which then eases only to increase again with ongoing activity.

Although osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, there are still ways to manage this type of knee pain.

Knee osteoarthritis is typically accompanied by weakness in the quadriceps muscles. Performing mobility and strengthening exercises can help to maintain the health and flexibility of the knee.

Top tips to manage knee pain

Prevention, of course, is better than cure. So, always take time to do those warm-ups before you start your sport.

Making sure you’re in the right condition for your activity will help protect you from injury. Seek sport-specific exercise that will target the areas and actions most needed for your activity.

If you have knee pain, the right solution is personal to you, your biomechanics and your lifestyle. However, certain things tend to be generally useful in limiting and managing knee pain. Check out our top tips for looking after your knees.

  • Strengthen your quad muscles. Even if you have a chronic condition such as osteoarthritis, maintaining quad strength can be one of the best investments  you can make in your knee health. The right exercises will vary from person to person, but squats, lunges and stationary biking are all good options.
  • Work on your balance. The glute muscles in the buttock are important for controlling and stabilising the knee. Challenge them using a balance board or try standing on an uneven surface such as a pillow. Tai Chi is also excellent for balance and flexibility.
  • Look after your feet and ankles: Poor flexibility in the ankles or fallen foot arches can cause a cascade of misalignment upwards through the leg. Include stretch and mobility exercises for these areas to reduce knee strain.
  • Work with a Yoga Therapist. Yoga is a fantastic way to keep flexibility and function throughout the body, preventing knee pain before it has a chance to strike.
  • Sleep, eat and hydrate. Good nutrition and restful sleep are fundamental to good health, and that includes joint health. Not only are these elements needed for healing and repair, but lack of them will negatively affect your experience of pain.
  • Do low-impact exercise. If you have knee pain, manage the symptoms with low-impact exercise, such as walking, swimming, cycling or using an elliptical training machine. These activities all keep your knees moving, boost joint health and ease swelling, without risking overload.

The OCHK approach to managing knee pain

The first and most vital step in managing knee pain is to understand what structure in or around the joint is under stress. This usually becomes rapidly apparent through the patient’s story and a thorough examination.

But at OCHK, it’s our comprehensive, flexible and dynamic approach to treatment that sets us apart. Our team works as a holistic unit to combine treatments in the most effective way possible.

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ way to treat knee pain. That holds true even for knee pain with the same cause.

This is because treatment must go beyond the painful tissue, to address the root of the problem. This is how we achieve lasting results.

These underlying triggers, which cause knee pain to develop and to persist, will vary from person to person.

There are hundreds of factors that can cause a cascade of minor malalignments or strains that eventually result in knee pain. Researchers looking at the spread of joint pain concluded that there is a link between knee and shoulder pain, with poor biomechanics being the culprit that connects the two.

Of course, knee pain isn’t always curable, such as in cases of osteoarthritis. Sometimes, it’s about how to live alongside the problem. But that doesn’t mean there are no solutions.

Here are some of the ways our team can help.

Combined therapy for managing knee pain

Osteopathy

Our osteopaths are qualified and experienced in diagnosing pain. Clinical training in biomechanics, neurology and pathology means they have the skills and knowledge to fully evaluate a problem.

Once they understand your specific problem, they can apply a wide range of techniques to alleviate pain, reduce swelling, and enhance mobility to take stress away from the damaged areas and allow healing to take place.

Our osteopaths will also provide advice and guidance on managing your pain at home.

Corrective Exercise Therapy

Our Corrective Exercise Therapist, Jacqui, is an expert in biomechanics. By identifying areas of weakness and dysfunctional movement patterns, she can devise a tailored plan to strengthen muscles, coordinate movement and balance forces acting across the knee.

Corrective Exercise Therapy uses a precise, focused rehabilitative plan specific to your needs (and knees!)

For example, a runner with knee pain may be given postural stabilisation exercises to prevent the painful knee being overloaded.

Alternatively, someone with osteoarthritis will inevitably have changes in the way their knee functions. But integrating that function into the way the entire body moves is a great way to maintain mobility and independence.

Restoring strength in the quads and glutes and enhancing mobility in the hips and ankles can be the difference that allows someone to climb the stairs pain-free.

Corrective Exercise Therapy is targeted and specific, and it is suitable for people of all ages and abilities.

Counselling

We understand that living with chronic pain can be challenging. And we know that a combined therapeutic approach that encompasses mental well-being can have better outcomes than a physical approach alone.

Our counsellor, Catherine, can help. Using established techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and mindfulness, Catherine can help people suffering with chronic pain improve their well-being and enhance their quality of life.

Concerned about knee pain?

Here at OCHK, we offer a tailored and combined approach to tackle knee pain effectively.

Osteopathy, Corrective Exercise Therapy and counselling can be used individually or integrated into a holistic plan. This combination really targets your symptoms and gets you back on your feet.

So, if you have concerns about knee pain, book in today with someone in our team of qualified experts – they’re the bees knees!

Contact Us Now

No matter whether your condition was caused by a sport injury, work posture or
otherwise, send us a message or give us a call to see how we can help.