When knee joint pain starts, many people are tempted to follow mythical advice rather than see an orthopedic doctor. Some of the advice dispensed by well-meaning family and friends can actually cause more harm to the joint, and most of it will certainly delay healing. Here are some age-old nuggets to ignore when knee pain strikes.
Walk It Off
While muscular twinges can sometimes be soothed by continued activity, this is not usually a good idea with joints. Knee pain can be caused by any number of factors, including damage or irritation to tendons, cartilage and ligaments. The last thing anyone should do is power through pain and try to walk it off. Rest, ice and elevation are crucial for nursing a minor knee injury.
Ignore a Grinding Sensation
While it isn’t always the case, a grinding sensation accompanied by pain in the knee can point to end-stage arthritis. At this point, the cartilage that cushions the knee joint has worn away entirely and the bones of the leg are rubbing together. People with this condition may also notice swelling or a ‘locking up’ of the joint. For those who are experiencing grinding, only an orthopedic surgeon can be helpful. There is no supplement known to man that regrows cartilage, contrary to the claims of some shadier supplement companies. If a knee joint is at this stage, knee replacement is often the only option.
Once again, this is advice usually best heeded for muscular injuries and strains. Pain in a joint should be treated with ice or cold water therapy. This will reduce swelling and keep the area from becoming even more immobile. Cold therapy, in conjunction with some over-the-counter pain medication, can make all the difference for minor knee injuries.
Overuse Other Body Parts
Some runners who are halted by knee pain take to swimming, only to find that their shoulders are also sore and painful within weeks. For those who love to exercise, the temptation to simply switch gears and change activities can be huge. However, an injury should be a signal to dial back on activity, not simply change it. The body needs some time to heal injuries, and creating another by overuse is the worst possible thing to do.
Use Painkillers to Ignore It
Some people gobble ibuprofen, aspirin or even prescription painkillers to power through their knee pain. Instead of seeking knee pain treatment, these individuals are treating their pain and nothing more. Overuse of painkillers can damage the liver and the stomach, as well as create a dangerous dependency.
When faced with knee pain, many people are inundated with old wives’ tales, worthless supplements or plain bad advice. Knowing how to care for a knee injury and being aware of when it’s time to seek professional help are essential to keeping knees healthy and functional.