Knee pain can be tricky – focusing treatment on the knee itself can be a bit short-sighted. Oftentimes, the knee may hurt, but the actual problem is in the hip, thigh, ankle or even the foot. A thorough chiropractic evaluation will determine the true source of the pain in order to fully strengthen the whole body and to prevent the knee pain from reoccurring once it has healed.
The knee is a hinge joint so it really only moves in two directions: back and forth. One either side of the knee is a ball and socket type joint – both the hip and the ankle are able to move in multiple planes of motion.
Therefore, because the knee is rather rigid, any type of biomechanical dysfunction in the hip or the ankle will stress the knee out and cause pain. In these cases, focusing on the knee pain would provide temporary relief. For lasting relief, the problem in the hip or ankle must be addressed. Chiropractic care looks at the whole person, not just the pain.
The knee is also very sensitive to muscle imbalance in the hip and thigh muscles – specifically the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and IT band. If the glutes and quads are weak, but the IT band is tight, there will be abnormal forces around the knee that result in pain. This type of problem is easily treated by chiropractic care – correcting the alignment of the knee, rehabbing weak muscles, and loosening up the IT band.
The issues described above are simple biomechanical problems. Additional causes of knee pain include osteoarthritis and small meniscal tears. These forms of degeneration result in internal damage to the knee. For mild-to-moderate cases, conservative care is very effective. Chiropractic care to correct the alignment of the knee and to strengthen the surrounding musculature can help alleviate the pain of both osteoarthritis and meniscal tears. Exercise – especially walking or bicycling is also great for reducing knee pain. For moderate-to-severe cases, a surgical consultation is recommended.
Anti-inflammatory supplements such as turmeric/curcumin and tart cherry juice concentrate can help to further reduce the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. For mild-to-moderate arthritis, studies have shown that glucosamine sulfate is effective.
Always be sure to consult the physicians who regulate your prescriptions drugs before adding any natural supplement to your regimen.
Finally, let’s talk about weight – the knee is quite sensitive to excess weight on your body. In fact, for every pound lost, 4 pounds of stress are removed from the knee. Losing just 10 pounds can have a profound effect.