Body aches and pains are an unavoidable part of life because, after all, we are all humans and are continuously exposed to various factors that can be taxing to our bodies. It becomes an issue when these health problems begin to interfere with our daily life activities. Let’s discuss in detail all about hip and knee pain and ways to relieve it.
One can avoid unnecessary discomfort and suffering, by leading a healthy lifestyle and learning more about the causes and treatment for this kind of pain.
Causes of Hip and Knee Pain
People of all ages can be a victim of this type of pain and there are various factors responsible for it.
Trauma and Sport Injury
Slipping or falling on the floor may act as a shock to the hip and knee causing damage to tendons, ligaments, muscles, or joints.
Games involving sudden motion changes such as basketball or football or athletic activities such as jogging with pounding effect on knees may result in injury to the knees. In such cases, anterior cruciate ligament injury of the knees is quite common.
Excessive Exercise or Overuse Of Knee And Hip Joints
Overuse of knee or hip muscles and joints puts a lot of strain on them. This repetitive motion causes irritation and inflammation in the hip and knee areas. Overuse and excessive exercise are one of the main reasons for hip tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon in the hip) and iliotibial band syndrome (irritation of iliotibial band due to constant rubbing against hip or knee bones).
Age-Related Degeneration of Joints
Chronic pain in joints, particularly in the knees, is a burden that comes with age. It happens due to thinning of fibrous tissues between the joint bones, increased bone brittleness, and worn-out cartilage, all of which contribute to poor hip and knee health. These changes begin to occur in the early 40s but aren’t noticeable until the age of 50- 60 years.
Obesity And Weight Gain
In the standing position, a person’s body weight is dependent on his lower body frame, mainly hip, and knee joints. In case of obesity or a dramatic increase in weight gain, a lot of strain is put on these joints. This continuous stress wears down the cartilage between the bones and results in chronic knee and hip pain.
Medical Conditions Responsible For Knee And Hip Pain
Hip and knee pain can result from different types of arthritis including osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, pseudogout, and septic arthritis.
Infections such as bursitis, baker cyst, and osteomyelitis, cause inflammation and tenderness which appears as pain in the knee and hip areas.
Symptoms Of Knee And Hip Pain
Your body can signal pain in these areas in a variety of ways. Look out for any below-mentioned indications:
- Disturbed walking patterns.
- Difficulty using stairs.
- Inability to fully extend or flex your leg.
- Tenderness in the area of the knee or hip joint.
- Joint stiffness.
- Swelling or redness in the joint area.
Any of these above-listed symptoms can be present in different types of knee and hip problems.
The most common issue faced due to these symptoms is difficulty performing simple daily tasks. There are a variety of pain alleviation techniques and treatments which may help you with aching joints.
Ways To Get Rid Of Hip And Knee Pain
Minor pains can be managed quite well with self-care and a number of pain-relieving methods. In the case of chronic cases with severe pain issues injectable and surgical options are also available. Here are some suggestions to help you with the hip and knee pain, that is keeping you awake at night.
Hot or Cold Compressions In The Area of Pain
Even though it baffles our minds how two opposite things can be beneficial to the same problem, it is true that hot as well as cold compressions come in handy in case of hip and knee pain. According to the studies, heat and cold therapies are beneficial in the healing of musculoskeletal injuries such as in the case of acute injury and delayed muscle soreness.
Hot compressions with a piece of warm cloth, or a water bottle filled with hot water, provide more blood flow to the affected area, encouraging healing. They also reduce joint stiffness and muscle spasm. Cold compressions in form of ice packs also reduce swelling and inflammation.
Give Your Sore Joints Some Rest
If you try to engage yourself in physical activity with a sore leg it may worsen your pain especially when the pain originated in the first place from overuse of the muscles and joints. In that case, it is always a good idea to take some time off for rest so that the inflammation in the sore area settles down.
Exercises help stabilize the muscles around joints, strengthening them against shock and stress. They also help in improving the range of motion and flexibility as well as reducing inflammation in the affected area.
One such simple yet effective therapy beneficial for both hip and knee is hip flexion exercise. It is quite easy to practice without putting any undue stress on the affected areas.
- Simply sit in a chair having a straight back, with your hands resting on your lap
- lift your left foot about 8 to 10 inches above the ground so that your left knee is raised
- Now put your feet down slowly.
- Repeat the same with your right leg.
Note: It’s a good idea to regularly alternate between both legs even if only one of them is sore.
It is ideal to discuss exercises with a certified physiotherapist so they are well-targeted for the problem that is causing you pain in the knee or hip.
The Counter Pain Relievers
Some problems causing pain in the hip and knee joints go away on their own but you have to be patient with the pain in the due time. To ease the pain you can take non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen. They help reduce the pain as well as swelling in the joints and muscles.
A study revealed, that acupuncture in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, shows marked clinical improvement in these patients.
It is a Chinese medicine technique in which extremely fine needles are used at specific acupoints in the body, resulting in the release of natural pain-killing chemicals.
Acupuncture is known to work particularly well in chronic cases of pain such as osteoarthritis of the knee or hip but it can be used for acute pain as well.
Weight loss and keeping obesity in control
Increased weight on the lower body joints wears down the cartilage around the bones which ends you up with swollen and painful joints.
Relieving the joints from stress and pressure of weight improves the overall health of these weight-bearing joints.
According to an article published in WebMD, one pound of weight loss unloads four pounds of joint stress in people with knee arthritis. It doesn’t repair the damage done but it reduces pain and slows down the progression of the disease, making mobility much easier for patients with chronic joint pain.
Injectable and surgical options
In case of severe pain, injections can be used on the advice of a doctor. Injecting cortisol into the joint capsule helps decrease inflammation which in turn reduces pain. Hyaluronic acid injections are also used to lubricate the joint and alleviate the pain.
In more debilitating cases of knee and hip pain, surgical options such as hip replacement surgery or knee arthroplasty are available, in which a portion of the diseased joint or the entire joint is removed or replaced by a healthy joint.
Being in pain not only exhausts you physically but also takes a toll on your mental health. However, with patience and the right kind of treatment you can regain your gait and mobility.
Being able to walk pain-free is a blessing and we wish you this blessing for the rest of your life!