The knee is one of the largest and most important joints in the human body. It carries most of the body weight in standing and movement. Its role is straightening and bending the leg and thus assists in necessary daily activities.
Knee pain is among the most common orthopedic complaints.
Studies indicate that more than 60% of the population over the age of 50 suffer or will suffer from knee pain, young people and even children often seek treatment for knee problems.
Athletes suffer from knee problems due to strenuous exercise that causes strain on the knee joint or as a result of a sports injury. Chinese medicine offers acupuncture for knee pain and proves very effective in the subject.
The delicate texture of the knee joint consists of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, blood vessels and cartilage, which work in wonderful and sensitive harmony. It connects the tibia with the femur and patella (the bony structures of the upper and lower leg). To prevent friction between the bones in motion and to absorb shocks with effort, there are two meniscuses, internal and external, made of cartilage.
The stability of the knee joint is maintained by two lateral straps, which stabilise side movements, and two cross-straps, located inside the joint, which stabilise forward and backward movements. The strong muscles and delicate nerve fibres in the joint are responsible for stabilising it and ensuring coordinated and smooth movement of all its parts.
What are the most common issues relating to the knees?
The most common complaints relate to injury to the meniscus, rupture or stretching of the ligaments and various inflammations in the knee joint.
The causes of knee pain can be divided into two main types:
Trauma or injury: such as a fall or sports injury accident, this may result in partial or complete rupture of the meniscus or ligaments.
Wear and tear (osteoarthritis): Common among adults engaged in strenuous sports activities or due to incorrect posture or use of inappropriate footwear, such as cartilage erosion for example.
In both types there will most likely be inflammation (possible swelling), pain and restriction of movement.
The reason for these pains vary and can include:
Injury to the meniscus; a tear in the meniscus, partial or complete, is caused as a result of rotation of the knee joint. The symptoms depend on the intensity of the injury and can be manifested in the locking of the knees, pain especially when straightening the knee and sometimes there may also be swelling in the knee joint.
Damage to the knee ligaments; most common injury is to the inner ligament, as the load is heavier there. The damage can range from stretching, inflammation to complete rupture.
Injury to the quadriceps muscle; the tendon connects the patella to the femur and stretches with the help of the quadriceps muscle, exerting a great deal of load. The pain usually appears during the activity and in the area where the tendon connects to the bone.
Bursitis is a condition of inflammation in the joint tissue which functions as a pad in pressure areas. The swelling in the knee is caused due to the secretion of synovial fluid (fluid that nourishes and masks the joint) into the cavity of the knee joint, following an injury in the area.
Baker cyst- Injury to the knee joint can cause the appearance of a "sac" full of fluid in the fold behind the knee and symptoms such as local pain and a feeling of swelling behind the knee and calf.
Post surgical treatment- if a knee issue had been addressed with surgery, acupuncture can be an effective treatment in reducing post surgical inflammation and help restore range of motion.
How are knee problems treated?
In Western medicine, the treatment of knee pain combines anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy, but in many cases ends up on the operating table.
According to CM, the source of all pain is in the blockage of the supply of substances that nourish the knee joint, and especially Blood and Qi. The Liver organ sphere is responsible, among other things, for ensuring the flexibility of the tendons and ligaments.
Chinese medicine also connects the knees to the Kidneys energetic function, hence Kidney weakness, as perceived in Chinese medicine, is one of the causes of knee problems, which explains the high incidence of knee pain in older people.
Treatment of knee pain in Chinese medicine.
The goal of treatment is to drive the blockages in the knee joint using acupuncture. Sometimes the therapist will also incorporate custom Chinese herbs, which will help rehabilitate the tendons, ligaments and cartilage.
The treatment is very effective in relieving the symptoms, rehabilitating the injured joint and helps prevent further injuries. The number of treatments varies from patient to patient and depends on the severity of the condition.
Early diagnosis and treatment will shorten the healing time and help you get back on your feet. Don’t wait for the pain to overwhelm you and bring you to your knees, book in for a treatment today.