Three Reasons Your Knee Pain Won’t Go Away- And What You Can Do About It

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By David Berman; Physical Therapy Professionals, Inc.- Arvada
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Is your knee pain affecting your quality of life? If so - you are not alone.

  • Knee pain affects over 6% of all adults over age 30 and nearly 10% of all adults over the age of 63-93.1
  • And knee pain is one of the top 5 leading causes of disability in adults.1

Here are three reasons why your knee pain just won’t go away (and some tips on what you can do to change that):

1. You Keep Poking On A Bruise 

Imagine you have a really bad bruise on your leg. This bruise is so bad that the “black and blue” you get is more black than blue. 

Now imagine that I walk up to you and poke your bruise. Besides not being very nice (I apologize for being imaginarily rude!) that poke would be painful.

When the cartilage in your knee is damaged - from wear and tear over time or from an injury - it gets bruised just like the skin on your leg does.

And every time you do something that “compresses” that cartilage (i.e. you move in a way that causes the bruised area to get pushed on) it’s just like poking on a bruise.

In other words - every time you do something that pushes on the damaged cartilage it’s like you’re poking on a bruise.

As you might imagine when you do this it will hurt. But it also sets the healing process back a bit, so it takes longer for the bruise to heal!

The only way the “bruise” can heal is for you to (1) stop poking on it and (2) give it what it needs to heal.

2. You Stop Short Of Optimum Healing

How long does it take for a really bad bruise to go away? In my experience, it can take weeks (or longer) for full healing to happen.

As long as you don’t “poke” on the bruise it will heal over time. The bruise goes from black to a blue-purple color and fades to a yellow over the course of weeks. The sensitivity of the area gets better and better until eventually the pain is gone.

Soon after that the skin color returns to normal. And if you poked the normal looking skin, it would feel like a normal feeling poke. 

If, however, you got impatient and decided to firmly poke the area before it was fully healed, you’d feel some soreness. In fact, if the area wasn’t fully healed and you poked it you could re-bruise the bruise!

That’s just what happens with your knees. When you return to an activity (i.e. going for a jog or even a long walk) before your knee has fully healed you re-injure it. That’s when the pain returns and you have to start all over again.

3. You Keep Fighting A Losing Battle

The bad news is that there are lots of things that put you at risk for having knee pain in the first place.

These risk factors include2:

  • Genetics
  • Gender
  • Being overweight
  • Injuries from work or recreational activities
  • Structural imbalances

Yes... I know. You can’t change your genetics.

But take a close look at that list. You’ll notice that there are several factors that you can do something about...

And that’s great news!

Doing things like losing weight and correcting structural imbalances are powerful ways to help you get and stay out of pain.

Now that you know the 3 reasons your knee pain won’t go away you are empowered to do something about them!

I urge you to take action today and get on the path to getting rid of your knee pain so that you can start living life to its fullest again.

 

References:

1. Guccione AA, Felson DT, Anderson JJ, et al. The effects of specific medical conditions on the functional limitations of elders in the Framingham Study. Am J Pub Health 1994;84(3):351–358.

2. http://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm