Knee Pain: Common Symptoms and Causes
As we get older, the knees are the first to complain. You may have been diagnosed by a medical professional with all sorts of impressive terms for your pain; knee arthritis, knee osteoarthritis, patellofemoral pain syndrome, chondromalacia patella, iliotibial pain syndrome. The bottom line is that your knees ache and no fancy medical terminology is improving the situation.
Knee Pain Symptoms:
Pain going up or down stairs
Knees "popping or cracking" when getting up from a squat position
Achy knees after sitting (through a movie, sitting on an airplane, driving, or just sitting for a long time).
Knee pain after walking a lot.
Gradual onset of knee joint pain when doing your usual sport or exercise
Difficulty kneeling when gardening or taking care of children
Knee Pain Causes:
I won't get into the expansive anatomy and biomechanics of the knee.
There are several books and websites that do an excellent job of this.
Here is the simple version (as simple as I can make it):
- Four ligaments surround the knee. These important ligaments can be damaged if the knee is pushed beyond its physical range of motion (i.e. sports injury or auto accident) or if it is repetitively pushed to the end range of its available motion (i.e. playing a sport like soccer or squatting down for work for gardening or working with children).
- The menisci are pads on the inside and outside aspect of the knee joint which help with shock absorption. These protective pads are overstressed if the outer muscles are weak and, therefore, not doing their jobs as the first line of defense against compressive, weight bearing forces.
- Genetics play a part in knee pain for those people who were born with bowed legs (genu varum) or knock-kneed (genu valgum). These leg sharps place uneven stresses on either the inside or the outside of the knee joint and can lead to knee dysfunctions.
- Foot alignment (genetic or acquired) can also impact knee alignment and function. Pronation (rolling inwards of the foot) and high arches have been associated with knee pain.
- Obesity and being overweight has been linked to knee pain.
- Muscles are the bodyguards of the joints. Overtime, disuse, misuse and overuse of muscles associated with the knee leads to imbalances around the joint. This leads to increased demands and wear and tear on the joint (arthritis), ligament or meniscus stress, abnormal tracking pattern of the knee cap and, ultimately, pain.
Knee Pain Relief
If you are feeling knee pain, then you already have muscle imbalance problems around the knee, ankle and hip. The key to improving the integrity of your knees is to correct the muscle imbalances. The simple stretches and exercises found in The Strong Knees DVD is a good place to start.