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UNDERSTAND PAIN

Understanding Knee Pain

When you suffer from knee pain, it can feel like you’ve been robbed of the activities you love to do most. Understanding your knee pain is the first step in figuring out how to get back to doing what you love the best you can.

WHAT IS KNEE PAIN?

Your knees — they're among the most important joints in your body. They support your weight and provide stability and a “hinge” to help keep your body moving. But between standing, walking, running, jumping, crouching and turning, it’s easy to see how there are plenty of ways to experience knee pain. Remember: See your doctor first before you begin any treatment or if your pain gets worse or persists.

WHAT CAUSES KNEE PAIN?

Some causes of knee pain include:

  • Injuries. Some common injuries include fractures in the knee bones, a torn meniscus (the rubbery cartilage between your thighbone and shinbone that absorbs shock), patellar tendinitis (inflammation and irritation of one or more tendons) and a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), just to name a few.
  • Mechanical problems. Some examples include a dislocated kneecap; IT band syndrome (tightness of the iliotibial band of tissue running from the hip to the knee); and a loose body, or "floating" piece of bone or cartilage that breaks off in the joint space.

"Get back to doing what you love the best you can."

HOW CAN I GET RELIEF FROM KNEE PAIN?
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Exercises and stretching

Consult with your doctor to set up a treatment plan.

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Medication

Prescription and over-the-counter medications, like ALEVE®, can help relieve knee pain when used as directed. Just make sure you always check with your doctor before taking any medication.

ice and compression can help with swelling
Ice and compression

Compressing the area with bandages, in addition to applying ice 3-4 times a day for 10 minutes at a time, can keep swelling to a minimum.

steroid injections for long-term pain relief
Injections

These may include steroids for possible long-term pain relief, fluids that mimic the natural fluid that lubricates joints, and platelet-rich plasma to reduce inflammation and encourage healing.

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Surgery

In some cases, surgery may be the best option, but it’s usually only considered after trying a variety of other things first. Only your doctor can make that determination.

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Supporting therapies

See what else you can do to complement your treatment and relieve knee pain.

TIPS YOU CAN USE RIGHT NOW

Maintain a healthy weight

Tip 1 of 3

Extra weight can put additional pressure on your joints and make knee pain worse. Even a 5% weight loss can make a difference and reduce stress on your knees. If you think you would benefit from weight loss, talk to your doctor about a sensible weight-loss program.

Strengthen your core

Tip 2 of 3

A strong core — abdominal, back and pelvic muscles — can help keep your knees where they should be in order to avoid joint compression and pain. A number of exercises can help strengthen the core, including yoga, Pilates and kickboxing. Work with your doctor or physical therapist to determine what exercises might be good choices for you.

Keep your knee compressed.

Tip 3 of 3

If you notice your knee is swollen as well as sore, compression might be a good way to speed up your recovery. Get an elastic bandage (such as an ACE wrap) and wrap it snugly around the area surrounding your sore knee. The bandage won’t protect or stabilize your knee, but it should reduce swelling. Be careful not to wrap it too tightly as this may cause more swelling.