The prevalence of knee pain is on the rise. Research shows that one in four adults suffers from chronic knee pain. Generally, women develop knee pain more than men. Contributing factors to this difference could be a wider pelvis, weaker leg muscles, and hormones that decrease ligament strength.
Why is knee pain so common?
The knee is a hinge joint that doesn’t manage rotation well, which makes it vulnerable to the stress of everything from repetitive movements to high-impact activities. Knee injuries are commonly a mix of damage caused by daily wear and tear and athletic injuries. When determining the source of your knee pain, it is essential to consider how intricately connected your spine and pelvis are to your leg muscles and knee joints. An imbalance in the pelvis can impact how the body carries weight from side to side, ultimately affecting how the muscles develop in the legs. Uneven weight distribution can also cause excess wear and tear on the joints that bear more weight. For this reason, it is vital to locate and identify the root cause of your knee pain to manage it appropriately and resolve it quickly.
How Our Knee Pain Treatment Plan Works
1. Be Heard
Quality time with a health professional, so you can be truly heard and understood, isn’t all that common. We understand that. This is why, on your first visit, you will meet with one of our doctors and share your health concerns and struggles so we can understand exactly why you are here and what you want to achieve. The doctor will determine what testing is necessary to find the source of your health concerns and answer the biggest question of all: Can Chiropractic Care Help?
2. Discover How We Can Help You
Every new patient should feel like they are making the right decision for their health. This is why our doctors explain what they are looking for in the testing, so our patients know exactly what is going on, instead of just being a bystander. We will share everything we discover from your testing and exams, including if we can help you. In the unfortunate event that we cannot help, our doctors will provide any additional resources they feel would be appropriate to assist you.
3. Achieve Your Health Goals Together
Whether you just want to be out of pain, or you want to get back to golfing without limitations, or you are desperate to get a restful night’s sleep, we will be with you every step of the way. We’ll achieve your goals
How We Treat Knee Pain in West Omaha, NE
Comprehensive Consultation and Exam
Understanding the root cause of your knee pain is essential to determine the appropriate treatment. While the knee joint can become misaligned, many people suffer from knee pain that can be traced back to a misalignment in the spine or pelvis. In order to determine the cause of knee pain, we thoroughly examine the spine, pelvis, and knee joints.
When you come into our office with knee pain, the doctor will start with a consultation to collect your health history and assess how your knee pain is impacting your life. Along with the consultation, the doctor will perform a series of examinations to help determine the root cause of your knee pain. We’ll assess the movement of your knee, but the doctor will also examine your entire spine to determine if subluxation in your spine is contributing to your knee pain. When a bone is out of place in your spine (subluxation), it can affect how your body moves and functions. If you have a misalignment in your pelvis, even basic walking movements can lead to uneven weight distribution between both legs and therefore impact the stress endured by your knee joints. We assess all these factors with postural analysis, gait analysis, and range of motion testing.
The final test the doctor can utilize to determine the source of your knee pain is a digital X-ray. X-rays of your entire spine, as well as your knees, may be ordered so the doctor can determine exactly what is going on within the joints of your spine and knees.
Specific Chiropractic Care
Based on the findings of all the examinations, the doctor will let you know if chiropractic care is the right fit to address your knee pain. If so, you will start a series of specific chiropractic adjustments.
These adjustments aim to move bones back toward an optimal position, remove excess nerve pressure caused by misalignments, and allow the body to begin healing itself. The doctor may also prescribe some home exercises to strengthen leg muscles and create more balance within your body.
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Common Causes of Knee Pain
An ACL injury is a tear of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), one of the four ligaments that connect your shinbone to your thighbone. An ACL injury is particularly common in people who play basketball, football, baseball, or other sports requiring sudden direction changes.
Signs and symptoms of an ACL injury usually include:
- A loud “popping” in the knee
- Severe pain or tenderness along the outside of the knee
- Rapid swelling of the knee
- Loss of range of motion of the knee joint
- Knee instability, where the knee feels like it will buckle or lock and cannot support your weight
The ACL cannot heal on its own because there is no blood supply to this ligament. Athletes usually require surgery because the ACL is needed to safely perform the sharp movements required in sports. A suspected ACL injury must be checked by a healthcare professional for a correct diagnosis and treatment plan to be put in place.
More than 100 different types of arthritis exist. The varieties most likely to affect the knee include:
- Osteoarthritis. Sometimes called degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It’s a wear-and-tear condition occurring when the cartilage in your knee deteriorates with use and age. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but the condition does not necessarily worsen over time. There are several treatments to relieve the symptoms. The main treatments for the symptoms of osteoarthritis include lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis. The most debilitating form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, is an autoimmune condition that can affect almost any joint in your body, including your knees. Although rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, it tends to vary in severity and may even come and go.
- Gout. This type of arthritis occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joint. While gout most commonly affects the big toe, it can also occur in the knee.
- Pseudogout. Often mistaken for gout, pseudogout is caused by calcium-containing crystals that develop in the joint fluid. The knees are the most common joint affected by pseudogout.
- Septic arthritis. Sometimes your knee joint can become infected, leading to swelling, pain, and redness. Septic arthritis often occurs with a fever, and there’s usually no trauma prior to the onset of pain. Septic arthritis can quickly cause extensive damage to the knee cartilage. If you have knee pain with any of the symptoms of septic arthritis, see your doctor immediately.
The meniscus is the tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone, and it can tear if you suddenly twist your knee while bearing weight on it.
Common symptoms of a torn meniscus include:
- Pain, especially when twisting or rotating your knee
- Difficulty straightening your knee fully
- Feeling as though your knee is locked in place when you try to move it
- The feeling of your knee giving way
Depending on where the tear is, pain can be on the inside, outside, or back of the knee joint.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a general term that refers to pain occurring between the kneecap and the underlying thighbone. This is a common condition in athletes, young adults (especially those whose kneecap does not track properly in its groove), and older adults, who usually develop the condition because of arthritis of the kneecap.
Some knee injuries cause inflammation in the bursae, the small sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of your knee joint so that tendons and ligaments glide smoothly over the joint. Much like patellar tendonitis, knee bursitis is commonly related to the improper alignment of the femur with the tibia and lateral fibula. Sports that result in direct blows or frequent falls on the knee, such as wrestling, football, and volleyball, can increase the risk of knee bursitis. Runners can develop pain and inflammation in the pes anserine bursa, situated on the inner side of the knee below the joint.
Runner’s knee is dull pain around the front of the knee caused by a structural defect or a particular walking or running pattern. Symptoms include knee pain and a rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap. Often, a brace such as a Cho-Pat band is enough to subside the irritation, but proper rest and maintenance are essential for total recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my knee pain is serious?
Call your doctor if:
- You cannot bear weight on your knee, feel as if your knee is unstable, or your knee gives out
- You have apparent or sudden knee swelling
- You are unable to extend or flex your knee fully
- You see an obvious deformity in your leg or knee
- You have a fever, in addition to redness, pain, and swelling in your knee; an immediate healthcare consultation is necessary due to the possibility of septic arthritis
How can I stop my knee pain?
Remember the acronym RICE:
- Rest. Take a break from your normal activities to reduce repetitive strain on your knee, and give the injury time to heal and help prevent further damage.
- Ice. Ice reduces pain and inflammation and should be used for the first 24 hours after the injury or onset of pain. After 24 hours, heat and ice can be alternated.
- Compression. Compression with a flexible bandage wrap will aid in keeping joint stability and reducing inflammation.
- Elevation. Elevation of the knee, especially when combined with rest, ice, and compression, decreases inflammation and knee pain symptoms.
What does arthritis in the knee feel like?
There are many signs and symptoms of arthritis of the knee. These often include creaking, clicking, grinding, or snapping noises (crepitus). People with arthritic knee pain often have trouble walking. Joint pain that changes (feels better or worse) depending on the weather is a sign of arthritis in the knee joint. For instance, if you can tell when it will rain well before it does because of your knee, that indicates arthritis!
When should you see a chiropractor for knee pain?
See a chiropractor for a proper evaluation as soon as you feel pain. They’ll assess for an alignment issue to determine the underlying cause of the pain. Chiropractors can perform a knee adjustment to relieve your knee pain when the source of the pain is a misaligned knee joint. A knee adjustment will affect your overall posture. It can also help reduce joint restrictions. Chiropractic knee adjustments are ideal if your knee pain is associated with mobility issues.
How can I avoid knee surgery?
Proper alignment of the knee bones, including the patella, is the most conservative way of avoiding surgery on your knee over a lifetime. Keeping body weight in a healthy range greatly eases the impact on the knee joints and is one of the most effective methods of avoiding surgery and reducing any knee pain symptoms. When exercising, avoiding activities that cause pounding or other trauma to the knee can better help preserve remaining cartilage. Wearing a brace or support recommended by your chiropractor or other healthcare professional has reduced pain levels in many cases of knee pain.