Ease your knees – how to deal with knee pain

Knee pain affects around one in five Australians and is one of the most common reasons we end up at the physio.

You know the feeling – that dull aching pain in or around the knee cap that is impossible to ignore.

As Feel Good Physio Anna-Louise Bouvier explains, it’s a common complaint from runners, cyclists, netballers and other sportspeople. But it can also affect those of us who sit down most of the day.

“It can also impact kids as young as 12 and can stop them playing sport,” Anna-Louise says.

“Knee pain gets in the way of everyday things like going up and down stairs, walking, bending and even sitting at the movies or a car for any length of time.”

What causes knee pain?

Our knobbly knees are made up of the joint between two long bones in our legs – the femur and the tibia – and a floating bone, the kneecap, known as the patella.

“The knee cap should ideally slide beautifully in its groove but often because of our biomechanics, or the type of sport or exercise we are doing, this joint gets irritated. That triggers inflammation, which can lead to pain and swelling,” Anna-Louise says.

“Typically a person with knee pain will say they have started doing some new sport or have increased their training or changed their exercise pattern in some way.”

What can you do about knee pain?

Anna-Louise says ice is a great way to reduce the swelling, while a physio can provide specific exercises to take the load off the joint.

And if you suffer knee pain, you should probably back off sport and/or walking too far until the pain recedes.

“Thanks to landmark research by Australian physiotherapist Dr Jenny McConnell, we also know taping can help keep the knee in its groove and can be really helpful for taking the load off and getting you back to the things you want to do as the knee settles,” Anna-Louise says.

The Feel Good Physio’s top three tips for managing knee pain are:

  1. Use ice when it’s really sore.
  2. See a physio for specific exercises.
  3. Taping may be a great way to take the load off.

Catch up on the full episode of The House of Wellness TV show to see more from Zoe, Ed, and the team.