Summer is here! Many of us can’t help but picture ourselves soaking up the sunshine while we fully enjoy our favorite activities in the fresh air. We daydream about swimming and surfing at the beach, running and hiking in the sun, and playing games at backyard barbecues. We look towards the next few months with joy and expectation, as long as we’re not bothered by knee pain.

When our knees act up, we wonder if this summer will be full of fun or overshadowed by pain. Many people suffer from knee pain whether it be due to an acute injury or a chronic problem. According to the Arthritis Foundation, 27 million people suffer from Osteoarthritis (a common form of Arthritis) with the knee being one of the most commonly affected areas. It is estimated that one in two adults will experience osteoarthritis symptoms in their life (Svoboda, 2014). In Addition, there are around 700,000 knee replacement surgeries performed each year in the US due to a variety of reasons. Knee problems affect people far and wide.

There needs to be a diagnosis to determine what went wrong in the knee, what was damaged, and what needs to be done for treatment.  Through the needed assessments and possible MRI, a diagnosis can be found and then treatment can begin for recovery. At OrthoIdaho, we use multiple treatments to decrease inflammation and encourage healing.

It is commonly found that a deeper issue causes the knee to be prone to injury. The knee is supported by several muscle groups and ligaments surrounding the joint- medial, lateral, anterior, and posterior. When one or several of the muscle groups become weak, the knee will lose stability. When the integrity of the ligaments is compromised, the knee is prone to injury. One study found that out of all the Universities in the U.S, West Point University has one of the highest rates of knee injuries and ACL tears. Seems strange, right? Well, the issue is related to the lifestyle of the students. They had intense military training and high scholastic pressure leading to high levels of stress and a desire to party on the weekends. Through all of this, they were placing a lot of stress on their adrenals. Not surprisingly, the muscles associated with the adrenals glands are the sartorius and gastrocnemius, which connect to the knee. So as these students were overloading their adrenals, the stress weakened these muscles increasing the risk of knee injury. This is often called Executive Syndrome or ligamentous laxity. When stress increases, the body creates mineralocorticoids and secretes cortisol and the production of these calls for a large number of minerals. If there are not a plethora of minerals in the body, the minerals will be drawn out of the ligaments diminishing their integrity and weakening stability. At this state, the joint is prone to injury and tearing.

Knee pain can also occur due to improper tracking of the knee joint. This pattern is a result of tight muscles and adhesions, which do not allow the muscle to relax completely causing the knee to track incorrectly. This leads to an initial inflammatory response and over time leads to abnormal wear and tear on the meniscus and ligaments. There are several other structural issues that can affect the knee including a lack of movement in the Sacro Iliac joints, loss of arch in the food, poor posture, loss of neck curvature, etc. Applied Kinesiology can be used to determine which muscles and ligaments are weak, which are tight, what is causing abnormal function, and what other structural issues are involved. Once the diagnosis is made as to what is causing the knee pain, a plan of care will be crafted combining structural treatments, physiotherapies, Graston technique, massage therapy, stretching programs and strengthening exercises to correct the problem. Many will also benefit from knee injections of traumeel, sarapin, and lidocaine to promote healing and decrease inflammation.

The most serious form of knee pain occurs when there is degeneration in the joint over time. This is commonly due to Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Post-traumatic Arthritis in the knee. The degeneration causes the cartilage to be worn down causing pain and dysfunction.  In the US, there are around 700,000 knee replacement surgeries each year due to these problems.

No matter the severity or cause of knee pain, Dr. Wathne and OrthoIdaho offer solutions to help a broad spectrum of cases. Don’t let your pain continue; search out relief and find solutions! Before you agree to knee surgery, be sure to have a consultation with a qualified knee specialist. Orthopedic surgeons may hold different opinions about when to operate, what type of surgery to perform and whether surgery is even necessary. If you’re experiencing knee pain or issues, OrthoIdaho is conveniently located at 2240 E Center St, Pocatello, ID 83201. Call for an appointment today: 208-233-2100.

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