How can I cure my knee pain?
May 29, 2007 12:06 AM   Subscribe

Can you offer advice or techniques to help me with my worsening knee pain?

For several years now, I have been experiencing pain in my right knee (and occasionally in my left), which has gradually been growing worse. These days, I usually have knee pain so bad that it is difficult for me to walk more than short distances – I seriously doubt I could walk a mile right now. I am a bellydancer, and this is a very big problem for me.

I have been diagnosed with both IT-band syndrome and patellofemoral pain syndrome. Most often, the pain manifests in my IT band, often going up all the way into my piriformis. However, I have also frequently experienced lateral pain and medial pain (i.e., on both sides of the knee), sometimes had tendon pain below the knee, occasionally had pain all the way up on the right side of my lower back, and very occasionally felt pain under the kneecap. I do not appear to have arthritis or any other degenerative joint disease.

I have been through three stints of physical therapy, with two different physical therapists, to little or no effect. For the last year or so, I have been seeing a chiropractor who does Active Release Technique, which seems to have helped somewhat. I stretch and exercise regularly (which means swimming these days due to the aforementioned issues), and have been doing VMO inner quad strengthening exercises and lots of IT band stretching, which have also helped somewhat but not nearly enough to solve the problem.

I have not yet tried acupuncture, prolotherapy, or any kind of surgery (such as lateral release). Can anyone tell me whether they think any of these might help me? Can anyone share their own experiences with physical therapy, acupuncture, prolotherapy, or knee surgery, or other methods as they relate to similar problems? Can anyone diagnose exactly what the heck has gone wrong in my body? Can anyone offer any advice? Help!
posted by kyrademon to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've started a pretty rigourous training regiment after a lifetime of inactivity. Needless to say, 3 years later I'm still battling an unbalanced body. My hamstrings are too tight, my hip flexors are too strong, blah blah blah. The worst thing is that nobody really knows how to fix it. It's lame..

Anyway, I've had some knee pain, basically due to lack of flexibility. One of the techniques I tried was myofacial release, which is basically a specific type of massage. You can read more about it here, on testosterone nation. Read the explanation, it's pretty good. If your knee pain is caused by short(ened) knotted muscles then this technique may work for you (it definitely helps me).
posted by aeighty at 12:38 AM on May 29, 2007

aeighty beat me too it, but foam rolling can be a very effective way of massage on the IT band. You could foam roll in both the morning and evening to see if it relieves the pain.
posted by Hates_ at 3:32 AM on May 29, 2007

Pelvic drops work really well for me - I dont know if they are in your stretching routing but here goes:

Stand on a stair sideways with one leg on the stair and the other suspended above the floor. Without overarching your back (don't stick your rear end out) and without bending the supporting leg, lower the unsupported leg a couple of inches below the level of the stair and lift it back to the starting position. The action will come from tilting your pelvis laterally. Do the exercise slowly through the range of motion concentrating on isolating the gluteus medius of the supporting leg to lift the leg back to level. Work up to three sets of 15 repetitions and add repetitions, as you are able.
posted by neilkod at 9:59 AM on May 29, 2007

In a previous AskMe thread, this book, Yoga for Healthy Knees, was recommended. I can't vouch for it, but I thought it looked like it might be helpful.
posted by daisyace at 11:50 AM on May 29, 2007

Yoga was the first thing I thought of, as some of the poses are supposed to improve circulation and flexibility in the knees, but it could backfire on you if you don't get the right instruction.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:46 PM on May 29, 2007

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