5 minute read to know your knee better !!
Many patients varying in age present with knee pains and associated clicks. The sounds are often the first symptoms often noticed by patients. The pain usually starts on and off with increase/change in routine activity. It is therefore a frequently incurred question by patients coming with knee problems.
The most common reason of generation of this click is an abnormal tracking between the knee cap and the thigh bone. This can be represented as shown in the image (2a,2b). If the tracking is right in the center because of a balanced muscle force from both sides, the tracking is correct(2a). As the muscles go into disuse/overuse, the fatigued muscle tracks the knee cap abnormally (more towards one side) leading to a sound with flexion and extension of the knee. (2b)
This tracking needs to be corrected for correction of the pain. The mal-tracking leads to abrasion of one surface more than the other on the undersurface of the knee cap. This in the long term leads to a patellar crepitus or crackling sound if ignored. This may convert into a patello-femoral arthritis also with due course of time.
It is essential to keep in mind the following things to avoid knee pains and clicks:
1. Avoid weighted squats for beginners
2. Avoid excessive exercises
3. Don’t compare yourself with others on exercise scales.
4. Don’t use stairs repeatedly in a short duration
5. Take adequate rest after exercises to help body heal itself
6. Overuse is as big an issue as underuse.
7. Always stretch your muscles before exercises.
8. Marathons, treks and hiking should be trained for before indulging.
9. Sports injuries become worse on the second day of injury.
10. Never overlook a small symptom and get treated early.
These all measures indicate that one should know their elastic limits and should exercise in accordance to the same. Clicking at the knee may be incidental finding & asymptomatic. Clicks in isolation are not regarded as a symptom to be afraid of. The patient usually complaining of pain or crepitus/grating sensation inside the knee is considered symptomatic.
The most common disturbance leading to such symptoms, as discussed before, can be treated on with simple exercises for the knee and the hip of the affected side. Most patients in initial stages do extremely well only with exercises and life style modification. Few others who have relatively severe symptoms might need medical treatment to start with but as pain relief is achieved, their course of treatment shifts to exercises and precautions too. Majority population sticking to their laptops most time during the day have no or little time to maintain their physical being. This article tries to focus on the importance of Physical exercises and basic stretches for avoiding knee problems in the long term.
5 Simple exercises to help prevent and stop knee pains are illustrated as below.