A patient came into the clinic last week limping with knee pain and asked:
“I’ve had this knee pain for a few weeks now, I’m not sure what I’ve done to it but I’ve tried taking Tylenol and that didn’t help.
I was trying to rest it so that it wouldn’t hurt, but whenever I stood up and started moving, it hurt again so I had to sit down.
Now I’m wearing a brace to see if that helps, but I can still feel the pain when I take it off.
Is there anything else I can do to get rid of the pain?”
I know how frustrating it can be when you’re not sure what you’ve done to hurt your knee, and even more frustrating when everything you’re trying to do to get rid of the pain – doesn’t do a thing to make it feel any better.
Everyone always thinks and hopes that there will be a “quick fix” to their problem.
And because we see people confused, fed-up and even skeptical about what can be done to help with their knee pain, I wanted to address this idea of “quick fixes” for your knees – or for any joint problem, whether it’s your knees, back, neck, wherever, and tell you why they’re no good.
With that said here’s the 3 most common “Quick Fixes” that people THINK ease their knee pain, but actually do the opposite:
1. Reaching For Painkillers
When you’re in pain, lets face it, one of the easiest things to do is reach for the painkillers to “kill” the pain, quick.
It’s also unfortunately the first option that your doctor will give you to help your knee pain.
But the thing is painkillers won’t get to the root cause of your problem and actually do anything to fix it – they just mask the pain instead, which doesn’t help anyone.
And at the end of the day, that pain will still be there when the painkillers wear off. So it’s better to do something to fix your pain long-term instead.
When pain strikes, it’s very tempting to do nothing but rest “in case the pain gets worse”, which means many people end up laying on the sofa watching their favorite TV shows…
But when it comes to knee pain, ‘rest’ actually means to not do ‘too much’.
If you rest too much (aka: not move much at all), your joints will become stiff and tight, which can make your knees feel even more achy when you try to move them.
To actually help your knee, you could go swimming, go for a light walk, yoga or go for a cycle – basically any low impact exercise will help keep you moving and not place any added pressure on your knees.
3. Wearing A Support
Things like knee supports should ONLY be used as a last minute resort.
Wearing a support on your knee on a daily basis to try and ease the pain is actually masking the pain and creating an even bigger problem!
The best way I can explain it is to imagine you have a broken leg or arm and you have a cast put on.
After 6 weeks or so, when the cast is taken off, the muscles underneath are weak – it’s exactly the same as wearing a support everyday.
Because it supports your joint, it takes the pressure off your muscles, but doing this everyday will make your muscles lazy which will make them weaker.
Once you take off that support because it’s eased the pain, there’s a very strong chance it could come back quicker and worse than before!
So there you have it, 3 ‘quick fixes’ that people think ease their knee pain, but do the opposite.
Painkillers, rest, and wearing a support.
When it comes to your joints, these quick fixes are not the way forward to fix your problem long-term.
P.S. If you want more information to recover from knee trouble, here are some easy, actionable tips you can use now to start easing your knee pain, click the link below to download my free knee pain guide: https://physiofitpt.com/knee-pain/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.
Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.