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Millions of people around the world enjoy running as it is easily accessible and easy to practise. While running is highly effective as a cardiovascular exercise, it is a high-impact sport that puts a lot of stress on your joints (knee, hip, ankle) and muscles (thigh, shin, calf).

Is pain preventing you from running as often as you would like to?
Click on the button that best describes your situation:
 
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In order for us to understand how to treat knee pain, we first need to have a basic understanding of the knee anatomy.

Joints in the body comprise 3 components:

  • Ligament - tissue connecting one bone to another

  • Knee ligaments connect the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone) and include:

    • ACL

    • PCL

    • MCL

    • LCL

  • Tendon - tissue connecting muscle to bone

    • Patellar tendon (patellar ligament)

  • Cartilage - thin layer of specialised connective tissue that provides a smooth surface for joints to glide over each other

    • Articular cartilage

    • Meniscus

Knee Pain
Knee pain can be broadly split into 4 categories

Ligament Injuries & Tears

  • Tear or sprain of the ligaments that help connect your femur (thigh bone) to your tibia (shin bone) - ACL, MCL, PCL, LCL injuries

  • Symptoms: 

    • Popping sensation in the knee

    • Severe knee pain and inability to continue activity

    • Swelling in the knee

    • Pain in knee or a feeling of instability when bearing weight

    • Loss of range of motion

  • Common causes: 

    • Sports that involve sudden stops or changes in direction, jumping and landing

  • People at high-risk

    • Football players

    • Basketball players

    • Skiers

Meniscus Tears

  • When the meniscus, the cartilage between your femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) bones suffers from injury or trauma

  • Symptoms: 

    • Popping sensation in knees

    • Swelling or stiffness in knees

    • Knee pain when twisting or rotating knee

    • Difficulty straightening the knee

    • Feeling of knee locking in place or giving way

  • Common causes: 

    • Activities that cause you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee

  • People at high-risk

    • Football players

    • Basketball players

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (Runner's Knee)

  • Refers to any condition that causes pain around the kneecap (patella)

  • Symptoms: 

    • Pain in and around the kneecap when you are active

    • Rubbing, grinding or clicking sound of the kneecap when bending/straightening the knee

    • Kneecap that is tender to touch

  • Common causes: 

    • Overuse

    • Trauma to the kneecap

    • Misalignment of the kneecap

  • People at high-risk

    • Athletes, runners

    • Obese people (more weight on the knee joints)

    • Women (wider hips, different knee alignment than men)

Patellar Tendinitis (Jumper's Knee)

  • Injury or inflammation of the patellar tendon

  • Symptoms: 

    • Pain and tenderness at the base of the kneecap

    • Swelling/burning feeling in the kneecap

  • Common causes: 

    • Overuse in sports or exercise

    • Obesity

    • Shoes without enough padding, hard playing surfaces

  • People at high risk

    • Athletes (volleyball and other jumping spots) - running, jumping and squatting puts a lot of stress on the patellar tendons

    • Men (jump higher and thus bear more force when they land on their patellar tendon)

Commonly thought to be an inflammatory disease, OA is actually a degenerative disease that develops when the cartilage in weight-bearing joints (e.g. knees) breaks down, and is generally an age-related condition.

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Do you experience these symptoms?

  • Pain in knees

  • Stiffness

  • Tenderness

  • Bone spurs

  • Grating sensation when moving the joint

If you are overweight, have had previous knee injuries or osteoarthritis runs in your family, you might be at increased risk.

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While there have been promising developments in treatment, osteoarthritis currently has no cure. Treatments typically focus on physiotherapy and pain management—for example, exercise, corticosteroid or hyaluronic injections. But do they actually work?

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Here’s the shocker. A meta-analysis published in BMJ by the British Medical Association of 169 individual clinical trials showed that these injections are no better than placebos. Worse, they can even have side effects.

What about NSAIDs? Sorry, those aren’t effective either. OA is a non-inflammatory disease, but a degenerative one. That means anti-inflammatory drugs are not going to relieve your OA knee pains.

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So what can you do to treat your knee OA pain? Here are some promising science-backed treatments that don’t involve undergoing knee replacement surgery.

Heat therapy:

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In 2013 a study was conducted on 45 participants with knee osteoarthritis. They were split into three groups: control, far-infrared heating and carbon surface heating. The results showed significant decrease of pain and improved knee function in both the infrared ray and carbon surface heating groups.

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Another study that examined the effects of heat therapy and aromatherapy on pain, flexibility, sleep and depression in elderly women with OA found significant improvement in knee pain, flexibility, quality of sleep and depression in groups that used heat therapy and aromatherapy.

Vibration therapy:

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A 2017 randomized, controlled, single-blind study was conducted on thirty patients with knee OA. They were split into two groups: vibration and electrical stimulation. The results showed significant performance improvement in patients who were treated with localized vibration on several physical tests.

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Another study conducted on 30 participants using heating and cooling therapy together with vibration therapy showed a reduction in muscle spasms, pain and improved range of motion.

These are just a few cases that show heat and vibration therapy as an effective treatment solution for OA. And medical professionals have been using it as a pain relief tool for people with OA for decades.

The best part is, technology has now developed to the point where you can get both heat and vibration therapy in one convenient and simple device.

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No more having to book an appointment once a week to see your doctor or therapist and pay hundreds of dollars every session, or set up huge clunky machines at home.

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All you have to do is strap it on, sit back and relax while it applies heat and vibration directly to your aching knee.

Introducing the HeatPulse

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A knee massager that delivers soothing heat and steady vibrative pulses to relieve osteoarthritic knee pain.

Here's how the HeatPulse changed these people's lives...