How to Manage Chronic Knee Pain?

Chronic knee pain is a persistent, continuous pain for a long period in one or both knees. This results in immense pain, swelling and sensibility. The symptoms and the causes of the pain are interconnected. 

Managing your life with constant pain in your knee can be exhausting and psychologically draining.


Whether the pain is due to injury, surgery, or any chronic disease, it can negatively impact your life. In this blog, we will learn about the causes of knee pain, how to manage knee pain, its symptoms, home remedies, exercises, and more.


Causes of Chronic Knee Pain


Chronic Knee pain Causes


Chronic knee pain can originate from various issues and reasons. Understanding the root cause is the first step toward finding the right treatment. Common causes of chronic knee pain usually depend on the physical condition of the body or diseases. Some of them are as follows:


  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease caused by the breakdown of the cartilage and destruction of joints.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disorder where the immune system of the body causes joint deformity, painful swelling of the joints and erosion of bones.
  • Tendinitis: The inflammation of the tendons around your knee area causes tendinitis. You may have tendinitis whenever you experience a sharp, jolting pain in the knee while climbing stairs or walking on an inclined slope. 
  • Gout: Gout is a certain type of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid in the joints. It causes sudden pain, redness and swelling. 
  • Dislocation: Dislocation of the kneecap happens when a bone is slipped out of a joint. It is mostly caused as a result of physical trauma.


Symptoms of Chronic Knee Pain

Chronic knee pain symptoms manifest and present differently for each person. The cause behind the symptoms of knee pain often contributes to the amount of pain one feels. Some of the common symptoms to consider are:

  • Consistent Pain: The pain in any or both of your knees will be persistent and will restrict physical movement.
  • Swelling and Puffiness: The affected knee will be visibly swollen, and there will be puffiness.
  • Redness and Warmth: The knee may appear red and warm. Any of these indicates inflammation or infection.
  • Instability to walk or fatigue: Maintaining your balance and weight on your affected knee will be difficult. The knee might feel weaker, and you may feel intense fatigue.
  • Limited Mobility: The knee pain will restrict your ability to extend your leg or bend your knees fully. This will result in limited mobility of your body and will affect your daily activities.
  • Insomnia because of Pain: The discomfort and pain elevate at night, resulting in intense pain that disrupts your regular sleep.
  • Tenderness: If you are experiencing sensitivity around the knee joint, specifically your kneecaps, sides or the back of the knee.

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Chronic Knee Pain Diagnosis

Chronic knee pain diagnosis typically involves a bunch of physical examinations, imaging tests like X-rays and MRI, your record of medical history and often some lab tests. Let us look into them briefly:


  • Medical History: Medical history includes records of any previous injuries or surgeries. It also includes the duration, intensity and type of pain. Professionals also check family history of chronic conditions and diseases.
  • Physical Examination: Physical Examination includes checking the intensity of pain, swelling, redness or any joint deformity. Doctors also check the flexibility, strength of muscles and mobility of the knee joint for evaluation.
  • Imaging Tests: Imaging studies include X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound and computed tomography (CT scan). It is used to detect fracture, bone deformity and detailed images of soft tissues and muscles surrounding your knee.


Treatment Options for Knee Pain


Chronic Knee pain Treatment


Medically, there are numerous treatment options for knee pain. It involves a combination of tailored approaches that depend on the cause and severity of the condition of the knee. Here are some effective treatment options which include:


  • Medications such as pain relievers, NSAIDs commonly known as painkillers, creams and gels and prescribed medications.
  • Assistive devices like knee braces, walking aids, custom orthotic inserts, etc.
  • There are multiple alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic care, by professionals. 
  • Injections like corticosteroids help in reducing inflammation and pain in the knee joint and hyaluronic acid injections provide lubrication, which is helpful for osteoarthritis.


The treatment approach should be effective for you, taking into account the cause, symptoms, medical history and overall health.


Exercises and Yoga for Chronic Knee Pain Relief

Engaging in low-impact exercises and yogasanas for chronic knee pain can help strengthen the muscles around your knee, providing better support and reducing pain. Here are some top exercises and yogas for you and how to do them:


Heel and calf stretch

Heel and calf stretch specifically focuses on the muscles of your lower leg. 

Stand upright, facing a wall, and place your hands on the wall. Slowly move one foot backwards as much as you can reach. You do not have to lift your leg. Keep your feet flat on the ground, facing the wall. There will be a slight bend in your knees and a stretch in your back leg. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Change the legs and repeat it twice on each leg.


Quadriceps stretch

Quadriceps stretch focuses on your thigh muscles (quadriceps). This exercise will help you in increasing your flexibility and mobility. 


Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and stand upright, keeping a chair in front for support. Slowly start bending one knee. Your foot should go upwards towards your glutes. Now, hold your ankle and slowly pull it toward your glutes. Hold the position for 30 seconds. Then, change the legs and repeat it two times for each leg.


Sethu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)

Sethu Bandhasana (Bridge pose) is one of the most helpful yoga exercises for knee pain. It focuses on the muscles around the joint of the knee and strengthens it. 


Start by lying down on your back. Keep your hands on their respective sides. Keep breathing at a normal pace and lift your hips and knees together. There should be pressure on your shoulders and hands. Exhale and gradually lower your back to the ground. Rest your hands by your side.


Trikonasana (Triangle pose)

Trikonasana, also known as the Triangle pose, helps refine and strengthen the tissues around the knee. This yoga pose helps improve the alignment of the bones and joints and maintain balance.

Stand upright with your feet wide apart. Your toes should be towards opposite directions. Extend your arms outward by your side. Keep them parallel to the ground. Slowly lean your torso to the right and place your right palm on the ground. Ensure that your left palm is extended towards the sky. Hold this position for 10 seconds. Repeat the same steps for the opposite leg and arm.


Talasana (Palm Tree Pose)

Stand upright with relaxed hands and shoulders at your sides. Place your feet parallelly apart from each other, keeping a small distance. Extend any arm forward and slowly lift it towards the ceiling. Hold your breath and the position for 5 seconds. Slowly lower your arm and circle it backwards and downward. Then, slowly repeat the same steps with your other arm.

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Home Remedies for Managing Chronic Knee Pain

Managing knee pain at home can be possible with some effective home remedies for knee pain. They work wonders when included in your management regime, along with yoga and physiotherapy. 


  • Ice and Heat Therapy: Apply ice pack on the affected knee for 15-20  minutes regularly. This reduces swelling and inflammation of pain. After the swelling subsides, use a heating pad or warm towel to improve blood flow.
  • Compression and Elevation: To reduce swelling of the knee, use a knee sleeve or elastic crepe bandage to compress the knee. For elevation, keep your knees on the pillows while sitting or lying down for improved blood flow.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Losing weight is advisable if you are overweight. The extra weight puts additional pressure on your knees.  Following a healthy diet, with physical activities like walking, exercising, yoga, and swimming, will help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Physiotherapy: For starters, engage in the above-mentioned exercises and yoga specifically for knee pain relief.


Conclusion

Managing chronic knee pain at any point in your life involves a lot of decisions, management and hard work. Severe chronic knee pain often hinders day-to-day activities. By understanding and identifying the symptoms and causes of your knee pain, take the first step to healing the pain. Explore the variety of treatment options, home remedies, and physiotherapy, which will involve tailored exercises and yoga just for you. Do not hesitate to seek professional help. Get in touch with experts to understand and identify the causes and symptoms of your chronic knee pain and learn the necessary exercises and yoga asanas for knee pain relief.

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Dr. Koshal Rathore
Dr. Koshal Rathore

With over 8 years of experience as a Yoga Therapist, I blend ancient Yogic wisdom with contemporary research to manage chronic pain and improve overall well-being. Holding a Master's in Yoga Therapy and currently pursuing a PhD, my expertise extends to areas like weight loss, flexibility, stress, diabetes, and prenatal care.

My research on the effects of Yoga on Musculoskeletal disorders was recognized in the 'UGC Care Journal'. As the Head of Yoga at FlexifyMe, my dedicated approach supports individuals globally, offering specialized online Yoga and Physiotherapy sessions, emphasizing a vision of a pain-free world.

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