Acupuncutre Treatments For Knee Pain

Acupuncture Treatments for Knee Pain

You use your knees probably more than you realize. From sitting to standing and walking to maintaining your balance, they are an important part of your life. So, it's no wonder that knees are the most commonly injured joints in the human body. Approximately 20 million Americans seek treatment each year for painful knee conditions that are due to injury, overuse, or arthritis. Acupuncture treatments offer an alternative treatment option for those suffering from knee pain.

What Causes Knee Pain?

Knee pain can be caused by injuries, mechanical problems, or types of arthritis. Thus, the location and severity of knee pain will vary and include the following symptoms:

  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Redness and warmth to the touch
  • Weakness or instability
  • Popping or crunching noises
  • Inability to fully straighten the knee

The most common cause of knee pain is an injury, which can affect the ligaments, tendons, or fluid-filled sacs that surround your knee joint. You may experience knee pain caused by:

knee model patella labeled
  • An ACL injury. This is a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is one of four ligaments that connects the shin bone to the thigh bone. An ACL injury is common in individuals who play sports that require sudden changes in movement.
  • Fractures. The bones of the knee can be broken during things like a car crash or a fall. If your bones have been weakened by osteoporosis, you may be prone to fractures simply be stepping wrong.
  • Torn meniscus. Suddenly twisting your knee while bearing weight on it can tear your meniscus and cause knee pain.
  • Knee bursitis. Inflammation in the bursae can cause knee and ligament pain.
  • Patellar tendinitis. Skiers, runners, and individuals involved in jumping sports are more likely to develop inflammation in the patellar tendon (this connects the quad muscles on the front of the thigh to the shinbone.)

Arthritis is also a likely cause of knee pain and affects millions of individuals each year. With over 100 different types of arthritis, the varieties most likely to cause knee pain include:

  • Osteoarthritis. This wear-and-tear condition occurs when the cartilage in your knee deteriorates with use and age.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. An autoimmune condition, rheumatoid arthritis affects almost every joint in your body. It tends to vary in severity and has the ability to come and go.

Will I Develop Knee Pain?

knee model lateral view labeled

There are several factors that can increase your risk of developing knee pain and problems:

  • Weight. Excess weight can put stress on your knees, even during activities such as walking. Being overweight also puts you at higher risk of osteoarthritis due to an accelerated breakdown of joint cartilage.
  • Lack of muscle flexibility or strength. Weak muscles offer less support for your knee which often leads to knee injuries.
  • Sports. Certain sports put greater stress on your knee than others.
  • Previous injuries. If you have a previous knee injury, you are more likely to injure your knee again.

The Knee Anatomy

The knee is the largest and most complex joint in the body. It joins the thigh bone to the shin bone. The knee joint is also made up of the fibula (the smaller bone that runs alongside the tibia) and the kneecap.

Tendons connect the knee bones to the leg muscles. Ligaments provide stability to the knee and join the knee bones. There are three ligaments that are found in the knee:

  • The anterior cruciate ligament prevents the femur from sliding backward on the tibia.
  • The posterior cruciate ligament prevents the femur from sliding forward on the tibia.
  • The medial and lateral collateral ligaments prevent the femur from sliding side to side.

There are also two pieces of cartilage called the medial and lateral menisci, which act as shock absorbers between the tibia and femur. Several bursae help the knee move smoothly.

knee model posterior labeled

Diagnosing Knee Pain

During a physical exam, your physician will:

  • Inspect your knee for pain, swelling, tenderness, warmth, and visible bruising.
  • See how far you can move your lower leg in different directions.
  • Push on or pull the joint to evaluate the structures in your knee.

In some cases, your physician may suggest imaging tests such as an X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound, or an MRI to detect things such as fractures, injuries, and joint disease.

If your physician suspects an infection or gout, they will order a blood test and sometimes an arthrocentesis, which is a procedure that removes a small amount of fluid from within your knee joint and is analyzed in a laboratory.

Video: Conservative Treatment Before Knee Surgery

Home Treatments for Knee Pain

Your first line of defense is the acronym PRICE. It's important to protect your knee from developing any further pain. Rest and avoid any activities that aggravate your knee pain. Use a cold compress to help alleviate your pain. Wrap your knee with a compression bandage to prevent swelling. And while you are resting, keep your foot elevated.

For some people, daily exercise to keep the joint moving helps reduce knee pain. If you are suffering from arthritis, keeping your leg stationary or reducing the range of motion to avoid pain can actually stiffen the joint and make it worse.

You may also find using a heating pad to rest your knee can help to keep the joint from stiffening up. Your physician may suggest alternating between heat and cold the alleviate symptoms.

Medical Treatments for Knee Pain

In some cases, your physician may suggest injection medications or other substances directly into your joint:

  • Corticosteroids. This may help reduce the symptoms of an arthritis flare and provide pain relief.
  • Hyaluronic acid. Similar to the fluid that naturally lubricates joints, hyaluronic acid can be used to improve mobility and ease the pain.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP). Knee PRP contains several growth factors that help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

For severe cases, surgery might be the only option to relieve your knee pain. There are several knee surgery options, including arthroscopic surgery, partial knee replacement surgery, and total knee replacement.

Click Here to Receive a $40 Certificate for your 1st Acupuncture Treatment and Evaluation.

Acupuncture for Knee Pain

Acupuncture has been shown to be highly effective in treating symptoms of knee pain. This holistic treatment works in three primary ways:

  • It helps increase circulation to the injured area and helps to heal in a couple of ways. When blood flow increases, the toxins and fluids that build up as a result of inflammation can be removed quickly. This means swelling will decrease rapidly and speed up the tissue repair process.
  • Acupuncture relaxes and loosens painful "trigger points" or "knots" that develop in the muscles and that tissue that surrounds them. This treatment can help relax the unnatural tension that can develop in the muscle fibers due to an injury.
  • This treatment works with the body's own healing and pain mediation process to resolve the underlying injury naturally.

A component of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles through your skin at various points on your body. It is a technique for balancing the flow of energy ("Qi") that flows through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points, acupuncture practitioners believe your energy flow will re-balance.

medical treatments for foot and ankle pain

Conservative Treatments Combined with Acupuncture

Therapeutic treatments for addressing knee pain involve Graston Technique, Chiropractic care, and Cold Lasers.

Graston Technique is used to detect and effectively treat soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. It is especially useful for conditions like knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as it reduces the need for medication and enhances rehabilitation.

Chiropractic care can be used to address the underlying issues that are causing knee pain and use a combination of techniques to alleviate pain.

When combined with acupuncture, Cold Laser Therapy can provide anti-inflammatory and pain relief benefits to those experiencing knee pain. It also increases nerve functional activity and improves regeneration of the injured nerve.


GT therapy

Unlike some joints that pivot and swivel, the knee joint is designed to bend and flex in a single plane. Because its range of motion is restricted, a single misplaced step can cause the knee to twist or overextend, resulting in pain and inflammation. Acupuncture treatments have been shown to be highly effective in treating knee pain.

Our Chandler Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Clinic treats patients with a variety of knee muscle, tendon, joint, and ligament injuries. The clinic provides treatment for runners, tri-athletes, and weekend warriors in addition to common headache, neck, and back patients traditionally seen in Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy clinics. We work with all ages and abilities of the residents in Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, and Chandler AZ.

Click Here to Receive a $40 Certificate for your 1st Acupuncture Treatment and Evaluation.