When Knee Pain Gets Worse

Often the result of overuse or injury, knee pain is common for people of all ages. Some people get experience occasional pain after a long day standing. Other individuals have chronic, debilitating pain that limits even the simplest activities. While doctors can manage knee pain with medication and physical therapy (PT), certain factors can worsen a patient’s pain. Becoming familiar with 4 reasons that make knee pain worse can help patients take the next steps for long-term relief, including a total knee replacement.

1. Overuse of the knee joint

A common cause of knee pain is overuse of the knee joint. This occurs when the knee is subjected to repetitive stress or strain. For example, overuse can happen in athletes who engage in high-impact activities such as running, jumping, twisting, and turning. Overuse can also occur in individuals who have jobs or participate in activities requiring prolonged standing, walking, or lifting. An overused knee joint can cause inflammation, pain, and swelling. If left untreated, this can lead to further damage to the joint, including cartilage and ligament damage.

2. Extra pounds, extra problems

Any excess weight puts additional stress on the knee joint, thus worsening the knee pain. This can lead to swelling and inflammation. In addition, studies show the more weight an individual carries, the more pressure is placed on the knee joint, which can cause the joint to wear down faster. Therefore, maintaining a healthy weight is essential to prevent knee pain. Eating a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and avoiding high-calorie, high-fat foods all help. Additionally, losing weight can also reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis, which causes joint pain and stiffness.

3. Sit up straight

Poor posture is another factor that can make knee pain worse. An individual with poor posture can cause knee joint misalignment, leading to joint pain and discomfort. Poor posture can also cause muscle imbalances, affecting the knee joint’s alignment. To prevent knee pain caused by poor posture, maintain good posture throughout the day. Start by sitting straight, keeping the shoulders back, and avoiding slouching. Additionally, regular stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve posture and alignment of the knee joint.

4. Wear and tear

Osteoarthritis is a common condition affecting the knee joint, which occurs when the cartilage that cushions the knee joint wears down over time. This can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee joint. Various factors, including age, genetics, and injury, can all cause osteoarthritis. To prevent knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, maintain a healthy weight, engage in regular physical activity, and avoid activities that put excessive stress on the knee joint. Non-surgical treatments such as medication, PT, and bracing can also effectively manage knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. However, if these treatments are ineffective, total knee replacement surgery may be necessary.

Time for a replacement?

Ongoing knee pain can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. If the pain is worsening due to the conditions mentioned above, and other treatments have been ineffective, the patient may consider a total knee replacement. This surgery is a last resort for individuals with severe knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, weight, or other conditions. Total knee replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged knee joint with an artificial joint made of metal and plastic. When knee pain is too much, this surgical treatment can relieve discomfort and improve mobility and quality of life.