From young athletes to older adults, knee pain seems to be a part of life for many of us. Unfortunately, it can really take the spring out of your step—quite literally. But the worst thing you can do is just accept your knee pain as a fact of life, especially when so many new treatments are available.
Keep reading to explore five common misconceptions about knee pain—and what they may mean for you.
1. I don’t want surgery; so it’s best to ignore my knee pain.
There’s a lot to unpack with this myth. First of all, it’s not even close to true that all knee problems require surgery. A torn meniscus, for example, may begin with conservative treatment first, such as rest, ice, medication and physical therapy. It all depends on the type, size and severity of the tear. Secondly, with most knee surgeries, you’ll be up and walking shortly after the procedure. While complete healing takes a few months, most people are able to resume daily activities much more quickly than that. In other words, knee surgery (even knee replacement surgery) probably isn’t as bad as you think it is.
2. My knee hurts, so my knee is the problem.
Not always the case. Just because your knee hurts doesn’t mean the problem is originating with your knee. It could also be what’s called “referred pain” that actually originates in another area, such as the hips. The only way to know for sure? Get yourself checked out.
3. My knee hurts, so I’m going to take it easy.
The problem with that approach is, if your knee pain is caused by arthritis, limiting your movement will just make you feel worse. In fact, the Arthritis Foundation advises that “even relatively minor increases in the strength of the quadriceps … can help reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis and its progression.”
4. My knee hurts, so I’ll just pop some over-the-counter pain medicine.
You probably already knew this was a bad idea, but it makes you feel better—at least for a little bit. The problem, of course, is that you’re just masking your pain, which can’t be effectively treated until you know the source of it.
5. It’s best to delay my knee replacement as long as possible.
Again, that’s false. When knee replacements were first introduced in the early 1970s, it was advised that the average new knee would last about a decade. However, the materials used in knee replacements have improved dramatically since then. Today, it’s estimated the average new knee replacement will hold up for at least 20 years.
Getting older is a fact of life, but living with knee pain doesn’t have to be. The first step in getting better is finding out what’s wrong. Sure, you may end up benefiting from a procedure such as a partial knee replacement, but it’s just as likely your pain may be due to a condition that can be addressed through physical therapy or other treatments.
The bottom line? You owe it to yourself to find out what’s going on. Learn when it’s time to see a doctor if you’re suffering from chronic knee pain. Check out our guide that will walk you through several different causes and treatment options. Download it today!