“Oh My Aching Knee”


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Knee pain, ouch my knee, inside human body, knee xray, #fitinonlineAthletes of any kind are no stranger to knee pain. Whether it’s due to one traumatic event or years of over use, knee pain is not just uncomfortable it can dictate workouts. It’s on your mind as an athlete, constantly, “Can I go that extra mile today?” “Is this trail too unstable for me?” “Can I squat this much today?” “Can I make that trick shot on the field the way I want to?”

Knee pain affects approximately 19% of the general public and that percentage increases with age. In a survey done with National Ambulatory Medical Care, the CDC found each year approximately 12 million visits to physicians’ offices are made for knee pain alone. As a doctor, I see more knee pain due to traumatic events in men, but overall knee pain due to degeneration is more common in women. Studies confirm this finding with men 60 and older having pain due to degenerative joint disease being at about 18% until 85-90 where 24% of men are affected. Women, on the other hand, reported to be 23% of those affected by degenerative knee pain if they were 60 years or older- a percentage that climbed to 30% when reaching 85-90.

Knee pain is merely the SYMPTOM, it’s not actually the problem. Why is this so important to understand? It will completely altar how you will care for and treat it. Think of someone talking about a stomach ache- while there are common remedies that will help most stomach aches, morning sickness and food poisoning are two completely different causes of stomach aches and need to be treated very differently. So keep this in mind when considering taking blanket advice from a lay person, or putting on a generic compressive sleeve. You need to know what the cause of your knee pain is and what could be making it worse, moreover, what could IT be making worse.

Generally speaking, if and when your knee hurts, rest and ice will help reduce pain and swelling. That is where the generic advice ends. As a chiropractor my job is to play the role of a detective, so the first question I ask is “Where does it hurt?” followed by “How did it happen?” If it happened while you were making the game winning play during a football game I’ll give you a high five and proceed to check the stability of the surrounding joints. If it happened over time because you like to run or enjoy high impact activities, chances are there is some degeneration in the knee that is causing instability. Degeneration is more commonly known as osteoarthritis (OA). Before you get all excited and worried about this, I advise you to first understand that OA can only be diagnosed with imaging of some kind, and secondly do not get attached to the diagnosis. Do not label yourself as having arthritis – it is not a death sentence. OA is simply a sign that you have used a joint a good amount. In fact, I had my first visual finding of OA in my knee at age 25.

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About Dr. Tiffany Kelly

Doctor of Chiropractic

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