With the arrival of cooler weather comes winter sports activities such as skiing, football, and holiday shopping (yes, this a sport!), which all lead to us being more active. Of course, being active is good, but these activities could also cause or aggravate an already existing injury to the knee or hip, which is bad.
Hip and knee pain can be the result of a variety of causes, including a ligament tear or muscle strain from a direct impact to osteoarthritis or other diseases that cause wear and tear of the joint over time.
Common symptoms of knee pain include:
- increased pain when the knee is bent or extended
- limited range of motion
- buckling of the knee
- inability to put your full weight on the knee
Common symptoms of hip pain include:
- joint pain
- stiffness of the hip joint after sitting for long periods of time
- swelling and tenderness
- difficulty sleeping on your hip
Utilize these top 10 ways to relieve your hip or knee pain:
- Rest – Intense activity can increase hip or knee pain, so give it a rest for a day or two to reduce pain and inflammation.
- … but don’t rest too much! – Inactivity for long stretches of time weakens the muscles that help support the hip and knee joints. Exercise can improve the health of cartilage tissue and strengthen the muscles that support the joint. Rest when the pain is bad, but then get back to moderate activity and strength training exercises to reduce pain and help prevent further injury.
- Ice it – To reduce pain and swelling, ice your knee or hip for 15 to 20 minutes every couple of hours. Continue this for a few days or until the pain has passed.
- Compress – (Knee). Wrapping your knee joint with an elastic bandage or straps will help keep the swelling down and provide additional support.
- Elevate – (Knee). Keep your knee elevated by placing a pillow or cushion underneath it while sitting or lying down to reduce swelling.
- Stretch and Strengthen– Practice physical therapy exercises that will stretch and strengthen the knee and hip joint to improve range of motion, make supporting muscles stronger, and reduce inflammation and pain. Here are some good strengthening exercises for the knee and hip.
- Weight Management – Carrying a lot of excess weight not only increases inflammation in your body but also puts a lot of strain and pressure on your joints. Losing weight can significantly reduce joint pain, particularly in the knee.
- Medication – Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen and naproxen are effective in relieving mild to moderate joint pain.
- Injections – In some cases, injections directly into your joint of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid are effective in reducing inflammation and pain.
- Surgery– If none of the above treatments help, then surgery may be required to eliminate your knee or hip pain. There are several surgical options available depending on the extent of damage to your joint, such as:
- Arthroscopic surgery – a minimally invasive surgery that repairs problems in the joint.
- Partial knee or hip replacement surgery – severely damaged parts of the joint are replaced with plastic or metal parts.
- Total knee or hip replacement surgery – the entire joint is replaced with an artificial joint made of high-grade plastics and metal alloys.
Once your knee or hip pain has been eliminated, it’s important to practice preventative measures to reduce your chances of incurring a repeat injury and pain.
- Gradually increase your workout routine to the intensity level you desire.
- Stretch your legs and hips before and after performing physical activity.
- Wear proper-fitting shoes that offer plenty of support.
- Drop some pounds if you’re overweight to lessen the stress on all of your joints.
- If you feel pain in your knee or hip while exercising, stop, and apply a cold pack if desired.
Don’t let pain prevent you from enjoying the holidays!
If you are experiencing constant knee or hip pain, see an orthopedic specialist today. The orthopedic experts at Coastal Orthopedics can help guide you to a pain-free life through pain management or joint replacement therapy. Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today! Call 941-792-1404 or request an appointment online.