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Why do my knees hurt?

Have you ever walked up or down the stairs and wondered why your knees ached? Or, have you ever experienced your knees giving way suddenly and caught you off balance? We might just have the answers you’re looking for. Knee pain is one of the most common forms of joint pain where there has been no direct trauma (e.g. a fall).

The knee is known as a hinge joint, meaning it likes to bend and straighten. Pretty simple. However, due to the large amount of movement in our hips, feet and ankles, the knee is often forced to twist and turn in ways it isn’t designed for. This extra movement causes friction between the different bones of the knee, particularly, the kneecap (or patella). Your leg muscles do a good job keeping the kneecap moving smoothly, but sometimes they can actually hinder and add to this stress.

If there is a problem with the knee (especially the kneecap) you may often feel it most going up or down stairs, or towards the end of a long walk. This is due to the amount of force applied through your knees when ascending or descending stairs. The cartilage (a cushioning material) between the kneecap and the thigh (femur) may be stressed and begin to soften. Knee pain caused by irritation to the underside of the kneecap is called patello-femoral pain syndrome. In addition, in some individuals, there may be concurrent wear and tear in the knee joint (arthritis), which can further add to the issues.

Another important structure of the knee are your menisci (or singular, meniscus). They are disc shaped pieces of cartilage that line the middle of your knee, acting as a cushion between the femur and the tibia (lower leg bone). They also help the bones fit together by providing a wider base of contact. For these reasons, damage (e.g. from a twisted fall) or wear and tear to the meniscus can add to pain in and around the knee.

Pain in knees, regardless of age, is common and the vast majority is treatable without the need of injections and/or surgery. So, don’t panic, it isn’t all doom and gloom! Even in cases where x-rays or MRIs show severe degeneration, there can be hope of improvement using chiropractic or manual therapy to avert more invasive interventions.

Firstly, it is important for your Chiropractor to do an in-depth orthopaedic check to help assess whether or not the knee pain can be reduced or stopped entirely. As Chiropractors, we take a biomechanical and holistic approach to treating knee pain. Often, we would look further afield than just the knee. As mentioned earlier, the hip, ankle and foot are commonly aggravating factors in knee pain and can therefore play a key part in successful treatment outcomes.

If you are curious to see if we may be able to help with your knee pain, please contact our clinic reception and arrange a free chat with one of our team. If we think we can help you, we’ll do our best to set you straight!


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