Why do my knees crack and hurt? What to do and how to treat?

The joints of a person's lower extremities are responsible for the free and active movement of the body in space. Therefore, the appearance of minor leg problems leads to a noticeable loss of mobility.

More than half of all joint diseases occur in the knees as one of the largest joint joints that can bear the load of the entire human body.

Main causes of knee pain

All diseases in which the knees hurt can be divided into several groups depending on the predominant mechanism of joint damage:

  1. Inflammatory processes in the joint (arthritis) and periarticular bursa (bursitis). With arthritis, the knee joints increase in size, break when bent. General well-being worsens, body temperature rises. Bursitis is characterized by the presence of a rounded bump in the joint area, which is an accumulation of fluid. The cause of inflammatory diseases lies in the penetration of infection into the joint (through wounds, cuts, foci of internal infection).
  2. Degenerative lesions of the joint - arthrosis. In this case, for a long time, there is a gradual destruction of the internal joint surfaces, excessive growth of bone tissue. As the load on the knee continues to exist, the destroyed joint does not have time to recover and collapses further. Osteoarthritis is characterized by initial pain, that is, in the morning or after a long rest, the knees hurt when bending and walking. The pain goes away after squats or other stress on the joint. Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee joints in advanced stages note difficulty going up and down stairs, onset of pain even at rest.
  3. Traumatic consequences - intra-articular fractures, bruises, dislocations and sprains. For any type of joint injury, it is advisable to contact a specialist who will decide what to do - immobilize the joint or, conversely, give it a functional load.

Causes of knee joint pain in pregnant women

Knee pain during pregnancy is explained by a sharp increase in load on the joints of the lower extremities due to weight gain due to the uterus, fetus and amniotic fluid. Also, in the last trimester, many people experience abnormal fluid retention (edema) and weight gain, which also creates excessive pressure on the legs and makes it difficult for the knee joints to function normally.

In the last weeks of pregnancy and during childbirth, there is a powerful production of relaxin substances that soften the joint ligaments. Thanks to relaxins, the ligaments of the pelvic joints are mainly stretched, but other joints, including the knee, can also be affected.

With all these conditions, pregnant women have knee joint pain even at rest and at night. Within a few weeks after giving birth, a woman leaves the body with excess water, the production of relaxins stops, the weight decreases, so the discomfort in the knees disappears.

Causes of pain during sport

When running and playing sports "on the feet" (volleyball, tennis, football), the knee joint undergoes much more stress than when walking. The fluid produced in the joint for its normal functioning does not have time to form in sufficient quantity and therefore increases the friction of the joint surfaces.

knee pain when squatting

In the presence of past knee injuries, joint degradation under the influence of sport can progress rapidly. If after a workout (especially after running or jumping) there is pain in your knee joint, this does not mean that you need to give up the sport altogether. You just need to reconsider options for loading your knees and replacing the sport or exercise set with one that is gentler on your legs.

Causes of knee pain in children

The most common cause of knee pain in a child is an injury that occurs due to excessive physical activity. Bruising can be suspected by the appearance of the knee - there are bruises and abrasions on the skin, swelling on the side of the blow.

If a child complains of knee pain, infectious arthritis must be excluded, which usually occurs some time after an exacerbation of another bacterial (tonsillitis, otitis media, bronchitis) or viral infection. With such arthritis, the joint appears red, swollen, the general condition of the child worsens - the body temperature rises, lethargy, drowsiness appear.

Another cause of knee disease in children can be autoimmune arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis). In this case, in addition to the knees, the child will be included in the inflammatory process, and the elbows, as well as the small joints of the fingers. This type of arthritis is characterized by the "volatility" of the lesion - in a short time, the inflammation passes from one joint to another.

Treatment and prevention of knee pain

The appointment of treatment for the knee joint must be done by a specialist who, after the examination, will find out why the knee hurts and how to treat this case. The treatment of knee joint pain aims to reduce inflammation and degenerative processes. To do this, all patients with knee pathology are recommended:

  • limiting the physical load on the joint (including refusing to carry weights, climbing stairs); women are advised not to wear heels, because due to improper redistribution of body weight, pressure on the joints increases. In some cases (complex dislocations), it is necessary to completely immobilize the knee with the help of a splint or cast;
  • take a course of chondroprotectors - preparations containing the substances necessary for the structure of joints (chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine). Chondroprotectors are prescribed both for oral use in the form of tablets and externally as part of ointments and gels. In a hospital, it is also possible to introduce these substances directly into the knee joint;
  • use analgesics, anti-inflammatories (corticosteroid hormones and non-steroidal drugs) and antibacterial agents;
  • outside the exacerbation stage, undergo a course of physiotherapeutic procedures (sludge applications, ultrasound and electrophoresis treatment);
  • load the affected joint correctly - with the help of therapeutic exercises. One of the best of these exercises is the "bicycle" - in the supine position, mimic the travel of a bicycle's pedals.
  • in extremely advanced degenerative processes in the joint, surgical knee arthroplasty is preferable.
knee joint pain

Joint treatment with folk remedies

In addition to traditional methods of treating sore knees, folk remedies for relieving inflammation are also effective in many cases:

Lotions with ammonia-camphor solution

Mix half a glass of ammonia (10% solution) with 10 g of camphor alcohol, add 1 liter of salt water (this requires 1 tablespoon of salt per liter), shake until the sediment disappears. Heat the solution to a lukewarm temperature in a water bath, moisten the gauze and apply to the painful knee. Top with polyethylene. Keep up to half an hour, 2-3 times a day.

cabbage leaf compress

Hit a fresh cabbage leaf with a hammer, sprinkle lightly with salt so that the cabbage starts to juice. Apply to knees for several hours, securing with a bandage. Another variation of this compress is to apply a thin layer of honey to a cabbage leaf, otherwise the procedure is the same.

cinquefoil dye

100 g of dry stems insist for 3 weeks per 1 liter of vodka. Take orally half an hour before a meal, 1 tbsp. l. , diluted in 50 ml of water. The tincture can be rubbed into a sore knee or made into lotions.

beeswax ointment

A piece of wax the size of a matchbox, yolk and honey (1 tbsp. L) Mix everything in a water bath, apply with a cotton swab to the painful joint overnight.

Folk methods, as well as therapeutic exercises, must be agreed with the attending physician, because through ignorance a person can easily harm himself (for example, when using bee products externally on a patient with allergic diseases or when trying to develop a joint displaced with physical exercise).

The prevention of diseases of the knee joints is aimed at preventing the entry of infections (timely treatment of chronic inflammatory foci), reducing the load (fighting excess weight, using fixation bandages) and strengthening the ligament apparatus of the joint and bones (gymnastics , swimming, cycling, eating calcium-rich foods).

Remember that good and timely treatment of the knees, as well as the prevention of injury and recurrence of joint diseases, will allow you to maintain active mobility for many years to come.