Why You Should Never Ignore Your Knee Pain
When you start noticing knee pain, it can be tempting to try to ride it out, especially if you are training for a big event. However, even though some knee problems will remedy themselves, ignoring others can lead to more permanent damage. Plus, because the knee is the largest joint in the body, it must function properly to avoid causing injury to other areas that might work to compensate for the knee pain.
Knee pain should not be confused with general soreness, which may naturally follow a strenuous workout and affect multiple areas of the body. Localized knee pain is an indication that something is wrong. Your first response should be to use the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), along with over-the-counter medications. If the pain does not subside within a few days of using these treatments, it could indicate a torn muscle or cartilage that requires medical intervention. Ligament sprains and tears in particular, which are very common sports injuries, can cause severe pain and do not return to their normal shape and tightness once stretched or sprained. Consequently, these injuries often require surgery.
If you have a history of knee injuries, a reemergence of pain may be even more serious. Prior knee injuries can make you more susceptible to infections in the joints, or septic arthritis. Since this can wear down your joints, it must be properly diagnosed and treated immediately. Injury of the joints and wearing down of cartilage can also cause osteoarthritis, one of the most common forms of arthritis.
Although osteoarthritis is common, there are actually more than one hundred forms of arthritis, an informal term that refers to different types of joint pain or disease. Generally, the symptoms include swelling, pain, and decreased range of motion. Leaving arthritis untreated for too long can lead to joint erosion, chronic pain, and clinical osteoarthritis, which offers limited opportunities for treatment. However, since it develops over a long period of time, an early diagnosis can help prevent joint injury and degeneration.
The wide range of possible causes of knee pain also contribute to the necessity of seeking medical care. The knee is basically comprised of quadrants, so it is important to know what area is affected in order to treat it properly. While you may feel more comfortable with your primary care physician, it may be best to visit a rheumatologist, a physician who specializes in treating diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones. They will be more familiar with the possible causes of the pain and appropriate treatments.
There are also several steps you can take to try to prevent knee pain. Make sure you are using correct form during workouts and switch out your athletic shoes frequently to avoid overuse injuries. Some athletes also enjoy Coolief Radiofrequency Treatment and cross-training to avoid placing too much stress on the knee, or use knee braces to prevent injuries, especially if they have had others in the past. Most importantly, do not overuse the injured leg. Take time to rest and treat it at home, but see a physician immediately if the pain does not improve.