Bad knees refers to knees that are prone to pain or damage. The knee is the body region where the bones of the upper and lower legs meet.
As one of the largest bones in the body, the knee is flexible, thereby allowing convenient movement.
The knee comprises of three bones including the tibia, patella and the femur. The ends of the bones usually consist of cartilage, which is a thick and elastic material that offers shock absorption benefits.
The knee is one of the main joints that are prone to injury. Since it has a unique, delicate structure and consists of several components, it is often prone to several forms of injury as well.
Common Causes Of Bad Knees
Bad knees can affect various aspects such as the tendons, fluid-filled sacs, and ligaments that are found on the knee joint. Among some of the common injuries associated with bad knees include:
- ACL injury – this refers to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury, which is one of the main components that connect the shinbone to the thighbone. Usually, this type of injury is common among people who play sports and require immense agility.
- Fractures – the bones in the knee such as the kneecap, can become stressed due to high impact forces. People who have weak bones due to conditions such as osteoporosis can also become prone to knee fractures.
- Torn meniscus – the meniscus consists of a tough, and rubbery cartilage that provides shock absorption benefits for the body. The meniscus can become prone to stress issues, which can lead to knee pain and injury.
- Knee bursitis – various types of knee injuries can lead to inflammation in the bursae. These are small collections of fluid that provide shock absorption benefits for the joint for enhanced movement.
There are various types of mechanical issues that can cause knee pain. Among some of the major complications include:
- Loose body – in some cases, injury or years of stress on the knees on the cartilage-bone can compromise its functionality. Such factors can lead to secondary issues such as interference in the knee joint movement.
- Dislocated knee cap – this occurs when the triangular bone that sits over the knee slips or moves out of position. Usually, the kneecap may stay in an unusual position, thereby leading to dislocation.
- Hip or foot pain – if you have any issues with the functionality of the rest of your leg, then you might have to change the way you walk. However, this altered gait can lead to increased stress on the knee joint. Thus, complications in the foot or hips can lead to bad knees.
Diseases and Health Complications
The standard health complication that often leads to bad knees is arthritis. There are various types of well know arthritis. The common ones that are likely to lead to bad knees include:
- Osteoarthritis – otherwise referred to as degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common disease that leads to bad knees. It is caused by regular wear and tear of the cartilage in the knee, as you age or deteriorates due to stress.
- Gout – gout occurs when uric acid crystals accumulate around the joint area. Even though it popularly affects the big toe, it can also affect the performance of the knee.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – the most popular form of arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can affect any aspect of the body. However, this disease tends to vary in regards to the level of severity, and it’s also easy to manage.
- Septic arthritis – in some cases, the knee can become prone to issues such as infections. As such, you might suffer from pain, redness, and even swelling. Septic arthritis can often be associated with issues such as fever and pain trauma.
Various factors increase your likelihood of suffering from bad knees. Among some of these significant factors include:
- Excess body weight – people who are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from bad knees. This occurs mainly due to the increased load on sections of the foot such as knees. More so, the excess body weight also puts one at risk of health complications such as osteoarthritis.
- Lack of muscle fitness – a lack of sufficient muscle flexibility of fitness can increase one`s likelihood of suffering from knee injuries. The strong muscles help to enhance the performance of the joints, while also allowing the knee to engage in a wide range of motion.
- Certain physical activities – some physical activities put increased stress on the knees. For instance, engaging in jogging, running, athletics, the repetitive pounding of the knees all place pressure on the knees.
- Previous knee injury – any past injuries that have occurred on the knees can also increase your likelihood of suffering from knee complications.
NB: Not all bad knees are severe. However, some bad knees and medical complications, such as osteoarthritis can cause great pain and secondary joint damage. More so, having a knee injury also increases your susceptibility to such difficulties in the future.
Top Methods for Treating and Preventing Bad Knees
The process of treating and preventing bad knees requires an all-round approach to ensure the best results. Moreover, since the nature of the problem often relates to various factors, it’s important that you determine the root of the issue first. This way, you can come up with a proper approach to ensure the best outcomes. The following are some solutions to consider for managing bad knees:
Getting a regular physical workout is one of the best ways through which you can maintain the functionality of the knees. Recent medical studies have shown that keeping the quadriceps in shape can a go a long way in mitigating bad knees. More so, regular exercise also helps to reduce secondary issues such as osteoarthritis and its progression. Daily physical activity can also be beneficial for various other problems such as arthritis because it helps improve the strength of the muscles. Among some of the basic exercises for bad knees include:
The clam shells are particularly ideal for young athletes who often have bad knees. For instance, the exercise helps to reduce the stress that occurs around the ankle and the knees. You start by lying flat on the floor on your right side, with the knees in a bent position, and the hips and feet close together. Ensure that the feet are in line with the gluteus maximus muscle, as you lay with the shoulders stacked. Maintain this position as you raise your knee to the side while maintaining the location of the right knee on the floor. Then, hold the knee in the elevated place for a few seconds, and then repeat the process. Change the body sides and then repeat the steps mentioned above.
The quadriceps are specific muscles around the knee that help to maintain the position of the knee cap. As such, it’s vital that you engage these muscles regularly. To perform the quad sets, start by laying on your back, and placing a soft cushion under the bad knee. Engage the thigh muscles to help straighten the knee, and maintain this position for a few seconds. You can engage the quads by pushing the knees down to the ground. Release the knees after a few seconds and repeat the process on each side.
Straight Leg Raises
These are ideal for improving the strength of your quads. Start by lying on your back and stretching both legs entirely on the floor. Raise the right leg just a few inches above the floor, and hold this position for a few seconds. Following this, return the leg gently to the floor and repeat this process on the other section.
The Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) technique is a standard method for addressing the pain that occurs in the joints of the body. The process starts by ensuring that you protect the knee from any further injuries. For instance, this might include taking a break from any strenuous activity that affects the performance of the knee.
Rest helps to reduce the likelihood of getting a further injury and ensures the tissue have adequate healing time. Using ice helps to mitigate the effects of swelling and inflammation in the knee. Consider wrapping the knee in a cloth and applying it several times a day. Avoid placing the ice directly because it can cause further pain.
Compression by using individual knee support helps to improve the comfort levels of the knee. The ideal support bandage should be firm and not too tight around the knee area. Furthermore, elevation and keeping the leg raised will help to improve the circulation of blood and reduce swelling. Generally, the knee should be placed just above the heart.
When conventional treatments do not resolve the pain, many people find it easy to opt for surgery. Usually, these processes might include:
Total joint replacement
The total joint replacement is one of the most popular knee treatment procedures. It’s a process that helps in the removal and replacement of the knee, with different metal and ceramic components. Furthermore, the knee replacement process occurs when the knee experiences irreparable damage that can`t be addressed by conventional therapies.
If the damage to the knee occurs primarily on one section, then the doctor might recommend surgery. The osteotomy is a surgery process whereby the bones are restructured to help control the weight placed on the knees. Using this process helps to reduce pain and improve the performance of the knees. The process is particularly ideal for someone who does not have to undergo a complete joint replacement.
Using massage can go a long way in relieving the pain of bad knees. Massaging the thigh muscles helps to improve the performance of muscles and bones. The following are the recommended massage procedures:
- Close the hands into a light fist. Then tap the lower, upper, and middle sections of the times a few times with your hands. Repeat this process a few times
- Sit flat on the floor, and place your hand on the top section of the thigh. Then glide the hand across the thigh all through to the hips and then release. Repeat this process a few times and do the same for the inner and outer sections of the thigh.
Using natural medications and essential oils can help you to control pain. Several studies have been released showing that massaging with oil contain products such as ginger and aloe vera are beneficial. These products help to soothe the muscles around the affected area and to promote optimal recovery as well. The specific components used in the aromatherapy depends on the particular preferences of the user and the nature of the bad knees. Most of these essential oils for managing bad knees are readily available online and for affordable prices.
Preventing Bad Knees
Most of the same measures used to treat knee complications are also suitable for prevention purposes as well. For instance, staying physically active and maintaining the ideal weight is crucial in the prevention process. Maintaining optimal weight can help you to reduce the issue of knee pain and the risk of getting osteoarthritis. Performing physical activity to improve the strength of the muscles and applying the proper precautions during physical activity is imperative. Some top suggestions to help include:
- Work out and stretch before you engage in physical activity
- Avoid over performing exercises, especially when you come across knee pain
- Wear the correct types of shoes
- Avoid running on irregular surfaces that can affect the body balance
- Avoid twisting the knees to unusual positions
- Use protective sportswear equipment
- Stop engaging in physical activity if you injure the knee
Having bad knees can easily affect the quality of your life. Bad knees can lead to pain and discomfort, thereby affecting your ability to move around. While condition usually affects elderly individuals, it can also affect any other person. The common causes of bad knees are lack of physical activity and poor diets. As such, making tweaks to your lifestyle can play a significant role in preventing the issue of bad knees. Furthermore, managing health complications also relates to your ability to choose the proper treatment methods.
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