• Bernard P. Kemker, MD

Common causes of Hip and Knee pain

Updated: Feb 8

Hip or knee pain is often caused by an over-use injury from a repetitive motion, which leads to wear and tear of cartilage causing arthritis. Surprisingly, even a less strenuous activity like gardening can cause pain.

Hip and Knee Pain | Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

The most common cause of pain in the hip and knee or any other joint is arthritis. Of course, there are other causes of hip and knee pain such as bursitis, injury, fracture, dislocation, etc., but the common cause in most of the U.S. population is arthritis.


Why Arthritis?

The knees are the most commonly affected joints by arthritis. Your lower body joints work very hard to keep you upright and balance your body. Gaining extra weight makes your hip and knees work harder to balance the body weight, which leads to stress and pain in your hip and knee joints that damage your cartilage.


There is also rheumatoid arthritis, which is probably the second most common cause of joint pain, which is getting better with the bunch of anti-biologicals and there are advanced treatment options available based on the conditions.


Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) causes joint inflammation and pain. It happens when the immune system doesn’t work properly and attacks the lining of the joints, called the synovium. The disease commonly affects the hands, knees, or ankles, and usually the same joint on both sides of the body, such as both hands or both knees. But sometimes RA causes problems in other parts of the body as well, such as eyes, heart, and circulatory system, and/or lungs.


Other causes:

Other than arthritis, there are other factors that cause hip and knee pain such as:

1. Overweight

2. Sports injury

3. Fracture or dislocation

4. Muscle weakness or tightness

5. Sitting or standing for prolonged hours, etc.

6. Improper posture

7. Prolonged load-bearing/weight-bearing


Treatment Methods

First, let’s see the self-treatment options for hip and knee joint pain that can be helpful to some extent:

1. Hot and cold compress

2. Elevation

3. Decreasing repetitive motion activities that aggravate pain

4. Muscle relaxant spray/pills

5. Herbals such as turmeric

6. Omega – 3

7. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories


If you still do not see progressive results after trying the options above, then consulting a doctor is very important, delaying may cause further progression.


Today, there are several conservative measures available to effectively manage hip and knee pain such as:

1. Topical creams

2. Anti-inflammatories

3. NSAID medications

4. Steroid injections

5. Viscosupplementation

6. Braces

7. Assistive devices such as cane, walker, wheelchair, etc.

8. Physical therapy

9. Regenerative medicine

10. Nerve blocks

11. Nerve ablations


Even though we are orthopedic surgeons, we primarily recommend conservative measures, unless the condition is severe and requires definitive treatment such as surgical intervention.


Nowadays, surgical techniques have evolved and improved a lot. People leave the hospital in less than 2 days after the surgery is performed, even if it is a complex surgery such as knee joint replacement.


Preventive Measures

Physical activity, a balanced diet, avoiding injuries, and getting plenty of sleep will help you stay healthy and keep your joints healthy too.


Food Habits

Supplementing your diet with a multivitamin is a good way to get the nutrients you may lack in your diet. Strong joints and overall joint health will benefit from bone-building calcium and vitamin K, tissue-repairing vitamin C, pain-relieving vitamin E, folic acid and more.


Weight loss

If you have weight-induced joint pain, losing pounds and taking stress off your joints may ease your symptoms. Research has shown us that a 5% to 10% reduction of body weight can dramatically reduce joint pain and improve exercise tolerance.


Exercises

Regular exercise can help ease joint pain and other rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Swimming is great to stretch your muscles and soothe your joints, so hit the pool for an aerobic workout or even aquatic therapy. Yoga and tai chi are examples of exercises that improve body awareness, which can increase coordination and balance, and relaxation. Plus, they include flexibility and range-of-motion moves, which boost joint flexibility and function.


Pilates focuses on strengthening and improving control of muscles, giving you a low-impact workout that may ease pressure on your hips and other joints.


Takeaway

Regardless of the multiple causes (discussed above) of hip and knee pain, you can lead a healthy life by just adapting a simple lifestyle and dietary modifications. If you are in pain, living with it is definitely not an option and I would strongly recommend you seek help from nearby family care or orthopedic physician. I hope this article was useful to you.I will see you in my next article.


Carolina Regional Orthopaedics

Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.

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