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Don’t Kneel To Knee Woes

 

Chronic knee pain creeps up on you slowly. First, you feel it after the workout, then, during the workout. Soon, the pain is there even when you are not exercising, when you climb stairs or sit for long periods. You may even hear a crunching or grating sound under the kneecap.

 

After completing the semifinals of the 400m hurdles at the national trials for the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, I realized that something was wrong with my knee. I was unable to put any weight on it to walk – running was impossible. Unable to figure out what was wrong, a physician suggested that I take pain killers and rest. I failed to make the team.

 

The knee joint is the largest and most complex joint of the body, comprised of three different joints. It is the most susceptible joint to injury because of the incredible amount of load that is placed on it when you walk, jog or play sports. The type of knee injury that is most often seen is the non-traumatic type, brought on by repetitive stresses on an incorrectly functioning joint.

 

The kneecap is supposed to glide smoothly in its groove.  However due to muscular imbalances, the kneecap may be pulled to the outside like a sliding door that has "jumped" its track.  This leads to bones rubbing resulting in wear and tear over time. This deterioration causes pain and ultimately arthritis in the knee.

 

Sometimes the cause of the pain is a blow to the knee resulting in an over-straightening, a sideways shearing or an over-bending of the knee.  These motions may damage the stabilizing ligaments or cartilage leading to bursitis, ligament strains or meniscus tears.

Ice, anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, ultrasound and hot packs may help ease the knee pain initially, but do very little to address the real cause. Pain killers may also lead to a false sense of security; without pain you may think that all is well, while the underlying problem continues to destroy the knee. The bottom line is that any injury to the knee, whether caused by overuse or trauma, may result in arthritis if it is not properly dealt with and the problem corrected.

 

Muscle imbalances and derangement may be corrected conservatively, if the problem is not too severe or the degeneration too advanced. If the problem is allowed to progress for too long, then corrective or replacement surgery might become necessary.

If knee pains are getting you down, then speak to your chiropractor about a possible correction of the underlying cause. Your first knees are the best ones you will ever have, so take care of them.

 

The Gleaner , Wednesday | September 12, 2012

Articles by Dr. Gardner