Keep Weight Down And Save Yourself From Knee Pain

Knee pain, also known as osteoarthritis of the knee affects 15 million women in the United States alone. Being a woman has its advantages but osteoarthritis of the knee is not one of them.

The risks of getting this disease becomes even worse as you get older since it's been found that womem over 65 are more than twice as likely to develop arthritis of the knee.

Why women are more at risk is something of a mystery. It could be a result of weaker cartilage and tendons, or it could have something to do with decreasing levels of estrogen after menopause. Whatever the reason, if you're a woman, you need to be especially careful.

So What Could Be Causing Your Knee Pain?

Arthritis of the Knee

* Osteoarthritis - Arthritis of the knee involves the wear-and-tear condition that occurs when the cartilage in your knee deteriorates with use and age.

* Gout - Gout most commonly affects the big toe, but it can also occur in the knee when uric acid crystals build up in the knee joint.

* Septic Arthritis - Sometimes your knee joint can become infected, leading to swelling, pain and redness. There's usually no trauma before the onset of pain. Septic arthritis often occurs with a fever.

Injuries to the Tendons

Another cause of this pain is injury to the tendons and ligaments, especially from playing sports. Some common knee injuries are:

* Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) - This is the tearing of one of the ligaments that connects from your shinbone to your thighbone. This type is common with people who ski or play basketball.

* Torn Meniscus - The meniscus is the rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the shinbone and thighbone. It can be torn with a sudden twist of the knee.

* Knee Bursitis - When inflammation occurs in the small sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of the knee joints, friction occurs. The tendons and ligaments are not able to glide smoothly over the joint when this area is inflammed.

* Patellar Tendinitis - Tendinitis is the thick, fibrous cords that attach muscles to bones. The tendons can become irritated or inflammed and cause pain in this area. Again the people more prone to this type of knee problem are cyclists, runners and skiers.

Normal Wear and Tear

The wear and tear of life on the knee joints can contribute to osteoarthritis of the knee. Over time, the cushiony substance between the knee tissue called cartilage wears down. Without it, the ends of your bone rub together, causing pain and difficulty during movement.

Excess Weight - Weight is another contributing factor in causing knee pain. Extra weight puts added stress on your knee joints. That additional weight can cause your cartilage to start wearing away, giving way to pain.

Wearing High Heel Shoes - Constant wearing of high heels spell trouble for your knees. They cause twisting force on your knees, causing damage to the ligaments.

Weak Thigh Muscles - Weak quadriceps or thigh muscles can contribute osteoarthritis of the knees. It helps to increase your leg strength to decrease your risk of knee pain.

Recognizing Symptoms Of Knee Pain

Symptoms may vary depending on the exact cause of your knee pain. However, the following are common signs that can accompany this malaise:

Locking of the knee - Inability to fully straighten the knee may be due to meniscal tears. The disks of tissue between the thigh bone and shin bone are the menisci disks.

They provide cushioning and can sometimes get torn from injuries. The pain might be slight or severe depending on the level of damage and becomes excruating when you try to straighten your knee. You may also hear a clicking sound or feel like the knee is stuck.

Swelling and Stiffness - You may feel pain and stiffness, particularly after long periods of sitting. The pain may also be worse from going up or down the stairs.

Instability - The knee joint becomes weak when there is a tear of one of the four ligaments that holds the knee bone together. When this happens, your leg may feel wobbly when you try to put weight on it.

Popping Or Crunching Sound This associated with osteoarthritis. Your knees ache after physical activity and may feel stiff after you get out of bed in the morning or after prolonged periods of sitting. They tend to make a crunchy sound while you walk.

Using Natural Remedies To Treat Knee Pain

Treatments will vary, depending upon what is causing your knee pain. Your first instinct is to reach out for Aspirin or an anti-inflammatory drug.

But remember that they can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and liver damage.

To end the pain without surgery or prescription drugs, follow the remedies below:

* Rest - Easier said than done, considering our busy lifestyles, but if you want to reduce constant strain on your knee, take a break from your normal routine and rest for a day or two - or more depending on the severity of the pain.

* Apply Ice - Ice reduces both inflammation and pain. Make sure to not leave the ice on for more than 20 minutes at a time. You risk damaging your nerves and skin when ice is applied for too long at a given time.

* Use Compression - Use a lightweight compression bandage on the knee. Make sure it is tight enough but not too tight as to interfere with circulation. Compression provides knee alignment and stability. It can also prevent fluid buildup in damaged tissues.

* Analgesic Rub - Rubs like Capsaicin can be applied to ease the the pain.

* Physical Therapy - Massage and exercises can strengthen the muscles around the knee to stabilize the joint.

Strengtening exercises of the muscles on the front and back of the thighs should be your focus.

Research to find out which type of quadriceps and hamstrings exercise will be suitable for you.

* Glucosamine and Chondroitin - This combo supplements are shown to reduce knee pain in nearly 80% of cases and helped prevent wearing away of cartilage.

In a three-year study from Belgium, evidence was presented that subjects who took 1,500 mg of glusamine reported less pain and disalibility throughout the 3 year study period.

However, patience must be exercised if you decide to take glucosamine because it takes about a month to get initial results and about 8 to 12 weeks for the full effect.

* Drink More Milk - Milk is fortified with vitamin D and a deficiency in D is linked to increased joint pain.

* Take A Soft Path - Go on the grass turf or dirt when you take a walk. This is easier on the knees than walking on asphalt or concrete.

* Flatten Your Feet - Keeping your heels on the floor when bending protects knees by tranfering tension to the thigh muscles.

* Lose A Little - If you are overweight, just losing 10% of your body weight can reduce pain by as much as 50%

* Going On The Pill - Of course you have to be a woman to do this. Women who take oral contraceptive are significantly less likely to tear ligaments and hurt knee joints.

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