Pain in the knee and knee joint
Knee joint pain in younger people is mostly traumatic. In older patients, these are mostly degenerative. But problems with the spine, especially in the lumbar region, hip diseases and excessive strain can also result in pain in the knee joint. We show causes, backgrounds and treatments from a conventional and naturopathic point of view.
- Pain in the knee and knee joint
- Brief insight into the anatomy of the knee joint
- Why the knee joint is vulnerable
- Causes of knee joint pain
- Incorrect or excessive loads
- Frequent injuries to the knee joint
- Inflammation and infection
- Cause bursitis
- Knee osteoarthritis with knee pain
- Therapy for knee joint pain
- Avoiding knee problems in everyday life
- Treatment in naturopathy
Brief insight into the anatomy of the knee joint
The knee joint, the largest joint in the human body, is particularly well protected. The femur, tibia, and kneecap are involved in this joint. Cartilaginous structures, such as the two menisci, support the joint function and absorb greater loads. It is secured and supported by band structures that are both inside and outside. Bursa, attached around the joint, ensure that there is not too much friction.
The knee joint is the largest joint in the human body and can be both rotated and flexed. (Image: artstudio_pro / fotolia.com)
Why the knee joint is vulnerable
The knee is a particularly heavily stressed joint that is involved in most movements throughout the day. Standing and running, sitting, crouching or kneeling – everything is needed. In addition, only ligaments and muscles hold the joint together. For this reason, the knee in the absence of muscle, is obesity (obesity) or deformities, such as knock-knees or bow legs , highly charged, often quite congested.
Excessive physical activity can also lead to knee joint disease. In the event of recurring or sudden onset of massive pain, the doctor should definitely be consulted.
Causes of knee joint pain
Due to its complicated structure, the knee joint is relatively prone to injury. Inflammation and infections as well as large or incorrect loads can sometimes cause severe knee pain . However, the most common cause of problems in this area are chronic, degenerative diseases.
Possible injuries to the joint include fractures, dislocations, ligament and meniscus injuries. Viruses, bacteria and fungi can also cause painful joint inflammation. Chronic diseases in particular, such as osteoarthritis, are sometimes associated with severe pain.
Other possible causes are stunted growth, an overmobile knee joint, fibromyalgia (chronic incurable disease with muscle, joint and back pain ) and tumors.
Incorrect or excessive loads
During sport, but also in everyday life, the knee can be exposed to great stress. Running and jumping, carrying heavy loads or being overweight, sooner or later lead to pain in the area of the joint. Wearing the wrong footwear, for example with heels that are too high or soles that do not spring on hard surfaces, can also cause pain.
Runners often struggle with knee joint pain.
Frequent injuries to the knee joint
The most common causes of knee injuries are falls or violence. Both inner and outer ligaments can tear. Injuries to the shock absorbers, the so-called menisci, also contribute to massive knee joint pain. The meniscus can tear, especially when exposed to pressure in connection with a rotary movement. However, this does not have to lead directly to massive restrictions and pain. Many sufferers only report blockages and a feeling of instability.
The kneecap is a common cause of pain. This can, for example, leave its physiological position if the joint is hit or fell. The knee is swollen and the affected person is in massive pain. The injury usually restricts mobility to a greater or lesser extent. In some cases, conservative treatment does not bring the desired result and surgery must be performed.
Inflammation and infection
Inflammation of the knee joint is associated with general signs of inflammation. These are redness, swelling, pain, overheating and restricted mobility. The inflammations arise on the basis of degenerative, traumatic, autoimmune or infectious processes.
In the context of osteoarthritis of the knee (osteoarthritis of the knee), excessive strain or exertion can cause inflammatory irritation of the synovial membrane, which is associated with massive pain in the area of the joint.
Inflammation of the knee joint caused by bacteria is known as gonitis. Usually staphylococci or streptococci are the culprits. These get into the joint, for example, in connection with knee surgery, an injection or open fractures. However, the germs can also reach this via the bloodstream. One example of this is Lyme disease , in which pain in the limbs and joint problems, including those in the knee, can be the first indication of the actual disease.
During knee surgery, bacteria can get into the joint. (Image: edwardolive / fotolia.com)
With bacterial inflammation, people suffer from a fever , possibly with chills . Increased inflammation parameters can be found in the blood. The joint is overheated, swollen and painful.
To confirm the diagnosis, this is punctured and the extracted secretion is examined in the laboratory. Based on this finding, the appropriate antibiotic can then be used. In some cases, the affected joint needs to be cleaned, the affected tissue removed and the wound then thoroughly irrigated. Physiotherapy and muscle rebuilding are required after the operation.
Another inflammation in the knee area that is associated with massive knee joint pain is bursitis. Bursae are located in various places near the joint to protect it from stress, friction and wear. However, these protective cushions can also catch fire. The main reason for this is constant stress, for example in jobs that are mainly performed on the knees, as is the case with tilers.
Soccer players or weight lifters can also be affected by this condition. The patients tell of a “rubbing feeling”. An effusion forms in the joint, sometimes accompanied by severe pain. It must be spared, cooled, immobilized and stored high. In addition, the patient is given pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. In the case of heavy effusions, the liquid is punctured. In the case of recurring bursitis, surgical removal of the affected bursa may be necessary.
Knee osteoarthritis with knee pain
Knee arthrosis, also known as osteoarthritis of the knee, is a degenerative disease in which the joint cartilage is progressively destroyed and an inflammation of the synovium also forms. This leads to movement restrictions and even complete stiffening. Primary osteoarthritis usually occurs from the age of sixty.
There are various causes for secondary osteoarthritis. This degenerative disease can be the result of deformities and the resulting improper stress on the joint. Previous inflammations and injuries can also promote the development. The pain initially manifests itself as so-called “start-up pain”, that is, at the beginning of the load, whereby most of them feel better again when the joint has “run in”.
In the further course of the disease, movement-dependent pain or even permanent pain are added. The symptoms are usually worsened by a change in weather, but above all by cold and wet conditions.
With osteoarthritis, the knee joint is increasingly destroyed and its function is impaired. Chronic pain is the result. (Image: designua / fotolia.com)
Therapy for knee joint pain
The therapy for pain depends on the causes of the disease. Initially, anti-inflammatory drugs (drugs with anti-inflammatory effects) and / or analgesics (drugs with pain-relieving effects) are usually prescribed. But cortisone is also used, which also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Many knee joint diseases can be examined by means of a so-called arthroscopy (knee joint mirroring) and also operated on. In an osteotomy, which can be used in the presence of osteoarthritis, bone tissue is severed and also removed in order to correct the existing joint deformity. In worse cases, especially if all treatments are unsuccessful and the symptoms have a massive impact on life, the use of an artificial knee joint is considered.
Treatment of pain includes forms of therapy such as physiotherapy, cold and heat therapy, targeted muscle building training, balneotherapy (water and bath therapy), electrical and ultrasound therapy.
Avoiding knee problems in everyday life
Switching between a desk and a standing desk would be beneficial in preventing knee problems. Standing mainly trains the leg muscles, which is not the case when sitting. Stretching exercises should be integrated into everyday life, especially to stretch the muscles of the legs. The stairs should replace the elevator, as this is the easiest way to activate the leg muscles and also train the circulatory system.
Kneeling and squatting put a strain on the knee joints. Getting up from a kneeling position should not be jerky but gentle. Jogging on hard surfaces puts strain on the knee joint, especially if you also wear the wrong footwear.
Treatment in naturopathy
If the knee joint problems are related to osteoarthritis, drainage procedures are used in most naturopathic practices . Baunscheidtieren and cupping have a positive influence here.
The autologous blood therapy has a pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effect, while at the same time the defense is strengthened. Wheal treatments around the knee joint, carried out with suitable means from anthroposophic medicine, can also provide relief.
All in all, a healthy diet that is rich in fresh fruit and vegetables and has a low proportion of animal products is important to counteract over- acidification of the organism. If you are obese, you should aim for weight regulation.
Phytotherapy has analgesic and metabolism stimulating plants in its portfolio. Devil’s claw, field horsetail and nettle are used in connection with knee joint pain.
With the versatile medicinal plant frankincense, joint pain can be relieved in a natural way. (Photo: Madeleine Steinbach / fotolia.com)
Frankincense , known from the Church, has been used to treat diseases since ancient times. In the Middle Ages it was supposed to drive away the plague. This old remedy has meanwhile found its way into many naturopathic practices. The dry extract of frankincense resin can be found in oils, plasters and powders, and can be taken in the form of a capsule or in homeopathic form. Frankincense can help relieve complaints in the musculoskeletal system, both acute and degenerative.
In the case of acute inflammation, cooling quark compresses or compresses with healing earth provide relief.
Even in the acute stage, Baunscheidtherapy and so-called wheals are indicated to relieve knee joint pain.
In the case of purulent inflammation, Silicea from homeopathy and salts No. 1 Calcium fluoratum, No. 3 Ferrum phosphoricum and No. 11 Silicea from Schüssler’s salt therapy are used.
Enzyme preparations have an anti-inflammatory effect and help reduce the swelling. The exotic fruits pineapple, papaya and mango are very rich in enzymes. Their consumption helps the body fight inflammation more quickly. For example, if you have a chronic inflammatory disease, it is advisable to enrich your diet daily with the fruits mentioned