When you’ve been a doctor in the orthopedic field for as long as I have, you hear some incredible things from patients about the pain they’re experiencing in their knees. Mostly, the public believes knee pain myths that are generally harmless and quickly dispelled with a quick chat about biology, orthopedic medicine, and scientific research.
However, problems arise when people in pain believe the myths they hear or read, preventing them from seeking the care they might need sooner. In some cases, a delay in care means they were in pain for longer and perhaps missed out on some enjoyable parts of life. But in other more severe cases, care delays due to believing in knee pain myths can result in life-threatening disability. So, I’m here with five myths and the simple truths to dispel them – hoping this might help even one person get the facts they need to make informed decisions about their knee and overall health.
- The #1 cure for knee pain? Moving LESS. Moving less is a recipe for MORE PAIN unless the knee pain experienced results in disability, instability, or unbearable pain. Volumes of research indicate that gentle movement of achy knees (think walking, cycling, and swimming) are all fantastic ways to keep knee joints limber, lubricated, and functioning properly
- Eat THIS or Take THAT “all natural” cure for knee pain.
No clinically or scientifically proven “magic” food can cure knee conditions. While some people who experience arthritic knees might benefit from some supplementation and avoiding certain potentially inflammatory foods, one cannot eat their way to pain-free knees.
- When cartilage in the knee deteriorates, surgery is the ONLY fix.
Modern advances in orthopedic medicine have made this one of the most exciting times for people affected by various knee conditions. Plenty of therapeutics today can help doctors treat their patients successfully while keeping surgery as a last resort. In plenty of cases, modalities such as orthobiologics (platelet-rich plasma, for example) are helping patients with knee issues stave off surgery for YEARS.
- Knee pain ALWAYS means there’s a problem IN the knee.
As the largest joints in the human body, the knees shoulder loads of bodily burdens. From being overweight to a lack of strength in other areas of the body, the knees are sometimes the fire alarm of the body – not the fire itself. Problems in the lower back, hips, thighs, and even the ankle, can cause pain to radiate to the knee.
- If you’re over the age of 65, knee pain is INEVITABLE.
While degeneration of specific knee structures can be common with age, there is no human, no matter how old they are, that should believe pain to be a side effect of life. There is no scenario in which pain, even in the knees, should be seen as something to lie down and take. If you are experiencing knee pain and it’s keeping you from living an otherwise active and high-quality life, please see an orthopedic specialist for an immediate evaluation.