Manic Monday: Managing Knee Pain

Posted: August 5, 2013 by By The Numb3rs (BTN LLC) in Healthy Living, Knee pain, Knees, Managing Knee Pain, Managing Pain, Ouch, Weight Loss
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kneepainI have the crappiest knees. They sound like potato chips being smashed in a chip bag when they bend due to barely any cartilage under the knee caps, and because I was obese for so long my leg muscles pulled my kneecaps outward, so they maltrack at 50%. Suffice it to say, I’m in pain on a daily basis – where I land on the pain scale (i.e. 1-10) depends on what activities I do. My doctors have recommended low or non-impact activities. I do some street biking, I’ve given spin a shot (love it, new gym doesn’t offer it). Everyone has suggested the pool – for the record: I do not do public pools (I think mud puddles are safer). My trainer & I modify exercises which impact my knee joints.

That doesn’t mean I don’t try. Seriously, be severely obese your entire adult life and then NOT be obese. It’s a thrill ride to see what I can do!

However, I should know by now not to do impact-type stuff the weekend your trainer has you kick Ralph (heavy bag). But you know what? At least I practice what I preach. Today I’m sporting two very swollen, very painful knees. So while I’m sitting here bonding with some very blue ice packs, thought I’d share a few tips to help you manage knee pain:

Home Treatment (what you do to avoid going to the doctor, urgent care, ortho, raid the pain reliever aisle at CVS):

  • Rest: Seems like a dumb thing to say, but you’d be surprised how many stubborn people (cough-cough) keep going instead of taking a break from activities that cause or irritate knee pain. When you do declare a surrender and wave the white flag, put a small pillow under your knees.
  • Ice: Dumb thing #2. The tissue surrounding the joints are swollen, and in my case the joints have fluid. It’s a lot of pressure and pain. If you’ve torqued your knee (cough-cough), apply ice immediately to prevent or minimize swelling. It’s recommended to do this 10-20 minutes 3 or more times a day. The ice will help reduce the swelling, which will help the pain. I do better with actual bags of ice, versus ice packs.
  • Compression: Wrap the knee with an ace bandage. Use a knee brace with side stabilizers to help prevent more damage (these are helps – not solutions!). You can also use K-Tape (totally amazing). If your knees are super swollen, wait a few days to do these. Otherwise the compression could cause more swelling above or below your injured area, or cut off blood flow.
  • Raise ‘Em: Prop them up on pillows while icing, and while sitting. Put a movie or your favorite show on, or have a good read with you so you don’t get antsy.
  • Reduce Stress: Use a cane, crutches, don’t walk if you don’t have to. Definitely don’t do box jumps for a few days.
  • NSAIDs: Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). Aspirin. NSAIDs are not recommended for persons with ulcers, touchy tummies, or have had weight loss surgery of any kind. DON’T USE NSAIDs 24 hours after an injury. They could cause clotting problems and encourage more bruising from bleeding under the skin.
  • Non-NSAIDs: Tylenol, or see your doctor if you need something stronger.

Web-MD has some exercises you can do, too. They’re for osteoarthritis, but they’re helpful for other knee issues. As always, consult your doctor if you’re not sure, because SPDiaries is not a replacement for sound, clear, logical medical advice!

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