Knee pain is one of the most common musculoskeletal problems that people face. It is the second most common cause of chronic pain (pain lasting longer than 3 months), and it is estimated that 1 in 3 Americans will experience knee pain at some point in their lives. Women are more likely than men to experience knee pain, and other risk factors such as age, weight, overexertion, and tobacco use can all contribute to the growing population of people who experience this potentially debilitating condition. In fact, for every pound you are overweight, it adds an extra 4 pounds of stress to the knee joints. This incredible amount of stress on these joints is a key indicator of whether someone will experience knee pain at some point in time.
The knee is a joint where the femur bone in the thigh meets the tibia bone in the leg. It is a hinge joint, meaning most of its movement occurs back and forth in the same plane of motion. This is largely due to the muscles and ligaments that provide a lot of stability to this joint. Within the knee joint are 2 strong ligaments that cross over one another. These are known as the cruciate ligaments, of which the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is commonly heard in relation to sports injuries. There are also ligaments along the sides of the knee called the collateral ligaments, which keep the knee from rotating too much. The menisci (singular: meniscus) are pads of cartilage that line the knee joint and provide extra protection from the forces of both weight and gravity. Finally, there are many muscles such as the quadricep muscles that surround, support, and move the knee joint through its range of motions. These soft tissues all have a vital role to play, but are also susceptible to their own unique injuries.
In 2017 alone, there were 966,000 knee replacement surgeries done. Replacement surgery is performed when the knee joint has eroded to the point where there is “bone on bone” and is absent of any joint spacing. However, there are other treatments available that are more natural, less risky, and just as effective in reducing knee pain and improving knee function. For example, chiropractic adjustments to the knee can help correct misalignment that can wear down the joint more rapidly. Proper alignment and improved motion can help decrease pain in the knee joint. Other treatments such as stretching can improve posture, Prolotherapy and knee traction (decompression) can get to the heart of the issue and have a lasting effect on the function of your knee. Because ultimately, it is about finding the root cause of your knee pain and working to correct it. That is where the best results exist.