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Tips for managing knee pain

Experiencing knee pain can negatively affect your quality of life. When it is painful to climb stairs, walk or even stand, daily activities become a struggle. The National Institutes of Health report that frequent knee pain affects approximately 25 percent of adults with osteoarthritis as the most common cause of knee pain in people 50 years or older. Finding relief from knee pain differs from person to person.

Here are some suggestions to help reduce knee pain.

Exercise as therapy
There are several stretching and strengthening exercises that can help reduce knee pain. When muscles moving the knee are operating properly, they can help reduce wear and pain. Consider low-impact exercises like swimming or bicycling instead of activities that can strain the knees like running. Walk instead of run down hills and stick to paved surfaces when you are out walking. If you are starting an exercise regime after being inactive, start slow and take breaks to build up strength in your knees. Be sure to wear shoes with proper support when being active to reduce wear on your knees.

Try a change of temperature
When there is swelling, try applying ice or a cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes. When the swelling is gone, try heat to ease the pain and soreness. It is important to remember that heat and cold should be used for short periods of time. It is better to apply the treatment, stop and if there is still pain, try it again later. Falling asleep with a heating pad can cause an injury.

Wrap it up
Use an elastic bandage to wrap your knee to help decrease the swelling. Do not wrap the knee too tightly because this will cause it to swell more and increase the pain. If you feel numbness, tingling or a cold feeling, you have got the elastic bandage wrapped too tight. The elastic bandage can’t really protect or stabilize your knee. It is mainly to reduce swelling. Avoid wrapping the knee for more than 48 to 72 hours. If the pain hasn’t gone away by that time, talk with your doctor to make sure there isn’t a more serious problem.

Rest and elevate
When your knee is sore, take a break and elevate the knee on a pillow. Ideally, lift the knee so that it is at the same level or higher than your heart to reduce swelling. Sometimes it is helpful to massage the area to encourage blood flow. If massage is painful, however, discontinue it.

Add some support
If movement is necessary but painful, try reducing the strain on the knee by using a crutch or a cane. Hold the crutch or cane in the hand opposite the painful knee and use it as support when you step on the painful knee. Two crutches can also be used but if relief does not come quickly, see a doctor.

Over-the-counter relief
There are several over-the-counter medications that can help relieve knee pain. Acetaminophen like Tylenol is commonly used but non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also effective. These drugs would include ibuprofen like Advil or Naproxen like Aleve. Carefully read the instructions for dosage. Some medications instructions call for taking just one pill instead of two. Some last four hours while others last eight hours. Any medication taken incorrectly can seriously damage organs in the body.

When there is no relief
Non-invasive pain relief may not work after a period of time so your doctor may suggest knee replacement to improve your quality of life. This surgical procedure has successfully brought relief to countless numbers of people. Though successful and effective, there is a period of recovery and physical therapy required for knee replacement. This post-surgery time can determine the success level of the procedure so it is important to make sure to get the best care possible. For many, this means recovering in a short-term rehabilitation center where everything from therapy to meals is provided. One of the most respected options on the North Shore for this care is Whitehall of Deerfield.

Experts in rehabilitation
The Elective Orthopedic Pavilion at Whitehall of Deerfield was designed exclusively for those recovering from elective orthopedic surgery such as a knee replacement. Whitehall of Deerfield’s Elective Orthopedic Pavilion offers a full range of therapies targeted to meet each guest’s individual needs. A clinical nurse liaison completes an assessment to discover areas that need attention. Then the area’s top physical and occupational therapists work one-on-one with guests seven days a week. State-of-the-art rehabilitation gyms provide all the equipment needed to reach your highest level of independence and functioning. This consistent, attentive and compassionate care is provided by everyone from the concierge team to the nursing staff.

Whitehall of Deerfield’s Elective Orthopedic Pavilion guests also enjoy their own private rooms complete with attentive concierge service; an iPad or laptop computer available for personal use; daily newspaper, gourmet coffee and delicious snacks delivered to guest rooms each day; in-room dining with a wide range of menu choices; in-room massages available and many more world-class amenities.

What’s more, Whitehall of Deerfield has consistently received Medicare‘s highest rating in Medicare’s five-star rating system of nursing and rehabilitation centers.

There are few short-term rehabilitation centers that can come close to matching the luxury and level of expertise of Whitehall of Deerfield’s Elective Orthopedic Pavilion. To arrange a tour or to learn more, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.

Copyright © 2018, Chicago Tribune

300 Waukegan Road Deerfield, IL 60015 | 847.945.4600