Whenever you feel pain in a particular part of your body, it’s really your body’s way of saying that you’ve either injured yourself (without necessarily realizing it), you are overdoing it in some activity or another, or something else is going on and you need to start paying attention. Knee pain is no exception. In some cases, the pain can go away or at least diminish once your body’s natural healing process kicks in but more often than not, it won’t unless you take some sort of action. Want to know why your knee pain won’t go away? Keep reading.
Why Your Knee Pain Will Not Go Away
- You are not giving it enough time to heal – When you’re used to being an active person, you hate the idea of being laid up for even a day, let alone weeks. It’s normal, but when it comes to knee injuries and what it could mean for you long-term, proper rest and recuperation is important. Most athletes follow what is called the RICE method. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, and this kind of treatment plan is well known to help people recover from many common injuries. But, if you do that for only a day or two, then you are almost guaranteeing yourself a failure when it comes to recovery. It’s extremely important to allow your knee to fully recover (and to allow the swelling to go down) and then you can ease your way back into your activities or sports. It might be over-said, but realistically speaking, it’s true: slow and steady wins the race.
Take action – Start by implementing the R.I.C.E principle as soon as possible (see video below). While you are at it, track your pain levels, on a daily basis and when you do certain physical activities, and monitor them until you are satisfied that you are ready for more serious physical activities. (It could be as simple as a scale of 1 to 10).
- You aren’t getting enough sleep – This one is often overlooked, but if you aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep, then that could explain why your knee pain is not going away. When you sleep, your body puts a lot of energy into healing itself naturally. This means that you are giving your body extra time and capacity to heal itself. If you are not sleeping properly, or enough, then your body is not able to recover or rest like it needs to. When recovering from an injury, giving focus and effort to your sleep schedule is extremely important.
Action Item – Keep a log of the amount of sleep you are getting every night and then try to increase it as much as your schedule can handle it. Even one hour more a night can make a big difference.
- You’re eating the wrong kinds of food – While a busted knee may seem like the perfect excuse to avoid the kitchen and order in a pizza or Chinese food, that’s the wrong way to go. Eating the right foods is a critical part of your recovery plan, just like sleep. You should eat three square meals a day and make sure that you keep hydrated as well. Also, it’s important that you eat the right kinds of healthy foods. Focus on finding healthy kinds of protein and also try to eat food that has a lot of vitamins and minerals in it as well as iron and magnesium. Skip out on the takeout food, soda and processed foods as much as possible and focus on healthy wholesome food that is going to offer your body lots of nutrition and energy to get back to the action faster.
Action item – Keep a log of all the food you eat throughout the day, then at the end of each day, analyze the results against the recommended list of foods for injury recovery.
- Your knee isn’t the root cause – In some cases, your knee injury & pain may be caused by something other than an obvious injury, which makes it tricky to identify on its own. Some examples include (but are not limited to):
- Weakness or imbalance in the muscles surrounding your knees (i.e.: hamstring, glutes, quads and calves.). When one is overdeveloped compared to the rest, it can put a strain on your knee which can cause pain over a long period of time. A good physiotherapist can measure and compare muscle strength to determine if this is an issue.
- Irritation/strain with the IT band – A strained or damaged IT band has been known to cause significant pain in your knee. Often, the issues can be resolved by foam rolling your IT band on a regular basis.
- Genetics – Does arthritis run in your family? Arthritis can cause your knee joint to deteriorate over time, which could be causing your knee pain. If you aren’t sure, ask your family members if they have ever been diagnosed with arthritis. Whether they have been or not, it wouldn’t hurt to get checked out yourself, just to rule it out.
- It’s more serious than you think – Whether it’s stubbornness, a lack of knowledge, or maybe not getting it diagnosed when you should have, a knee injury can be more serious than you may have thought. If you find that your knee pain will not go away, it could be due to the fact that the injury itself is more serious, for example, a damaged meniscus, cartilage damage, strained ligament, arthritis, etc. The only accurate way to find out is to get it diagnosed as soon as you realize that the pain is staying around longer than it should. One way to tell is when the RICE method is not working and you’ve actually been resting your knee.
Action item – if RICE isn’t helping enough, book an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible so you can discuss your symptoms further with them and get a proper diagnosis.
Action item – If your knee pain isn’t related to something obvious, like a specific injury to your knee, then the best course of action is to get it diagnosed by a professional. Talk to your doctor and let them know what’s going on. They should be able to diagnose what’s causing your knee pain and if not, at least refer you to the proper specialist.
Knee pain is something that can make your life screech to a halt if you ignore it long enough. The reality is that you need to focus on understanding where your pain is coming from and why it’s hanging around longer than you think it should. The worst thing you can do is ignore it. If you have experience with knee pain, we’d love to hear from you. What is causing your knee pain? Were you able to get relief? If so, how? Just leave a comment below. Until next time, we’ll leave you with the following quote (which has motivated us into not ignoring our pain):
“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”
Disclaimer – We are not doctors or health care practitioners here at SimplyJnJ. We simply gather information, such as “Why Your Knee Pain Will Not Go Away” that we feel will be useful to our readers. Always consult your doctor when it comes to pain.