A while back I read a statistic somewhere stating that a quarter of forty five year olds in the UK have knee pain, and that for a quarter of these people it is debilitating. I didn’t check the sourcing of the statistic, but if it’s anywhere near true then it’s pretty shocking. Why is chronic knee pain so common? I wonder if that question is asked enough. I think health practitioners often fall into the trap of just identifying the condition (the label) – osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, chondromalacia etc. – and treating it with painkillers, injections, orthotics, general strengthening exercises and surgery, rather than asking what are the root causes of this condition and pain in this individual (of course I’m not talking about an acute injury from an accident such as getting hit by a car). A frequent explanation I hear from health practitioners and from people with knee pain is that in some people the knees are just weak, or it’s just one of those things that happens as we age, or that they’ve over-used their knees. In this video, I explain why I think this is rarely the case and suggest one of the common causes I see with clients who come to see me.
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The reasons for having chronic knee pain can be varied and complicated, but there are several explanations which seem a little silly. First, that it’s just normal wear and tear that occurs with age. This doesn’t make much sense to me. If it was primarily age related then shouldn’t everyone in your age bracket have knee pain? Furthermore, many of the clients I work with have pain in just one knee. If it was primarily age related then shouldn’t both knees hurt, as they should be the same age? Second, that the knees are just weak. In the video I use a model knee joint to show you how beautifully it is designed. It’s a work of genius. You have fibrocartilage pads, fat pads, tendons, ligaments and powerful muscles all trying to stabilise and protect the joint. It’s the result of millions of years of evolution. Did nature really produce a knee joint that is so weak? I don’t think so, but I do think that in some people their knees are more susceptible to injury and pain because something has gone a little wrong with how it’s working due to their body alignment – I explain more in the video. Third, that you just used your knees too much such as from running too much or playing too much sport. This also doesn’t make much sense to me. Aren’t there people who play your sport and have used their knees much more than you, and don’t have knee pain? Furthermore, I’ve had clients come into clinic with knee pain in their twenties and thirties who have hardly played any sports in their entire lives. In the so-called western world aren’t we using our bodies less than ever before with modern day inventions and cars and trains and sofas and offices etc.?
So why am I banging on so much about finding the root cause(s) of the pain? It’s because this will help you to find the right solution to hopefully stop the pain. I feel sad and often angry about all the people who have been given and all the people who are continuing to be given expensive and invasive treatments which either don’t help at all, help temporarily or make things worse – I see examples of this every week in clinic and it’s just terrible.
I hope you find the video beneficial, and if you have knee pain then please don’t give up! Keep looking for answers and solutions.
Ameet Bhakta BSc, DipHE – I’m a posture correction specialist certified by the Egoscue Institute, and founder of Health Through Posture.