Is your job causing knee pain?

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Building trades and construction workers have roughly three times the risk

Knee replacements are becoming more common, and now researchers have identified jobs that may lead to one.

Based on a review of 71 studies that included nearly one million workers, the riskiest occupations include agriculture, construction, mining, service jobs and housekeeping. And jobs that demand excessive kneeling, squatting, standing, lifting and climbing stairs all increase your odds.

A team of researchers found that:

  • Building trades and construction workers have roughly three times the risk for knee osteoarthritis, compared with sedentary workers.
  • Farm workers have 64 percent higher odds for the condition, slightly higher than the 63 percent for builders and construction workers.
  • Housekeeping also carries a risk – with unpaid houseworkers facing up to 93 percent increased odds for knee osteoarthritis.

Some jobs were kinder to the knees, however. Workers in commerce, forestry, fishing, machinists, plumbers, electricians, technicians and postal workers did not have a statistically significant risk for knee osteoarthritis, the study found.

MANAGING KNEE PAIN
If you have knee pain, you can often relieve your discomfort at home. But more serious cases (like sudden injuries that damage tendons and ligaments, or severe joint degeneration) need medical attention and sometimes surgery.

Knee pain can occur for many reasons, most commonly because of overuse, injuries or arthritis. You can experience knee pain at any age, but older people are more likely to develop it due to degeneration of the joint, a condition known as osteoarthritis.

Depending on what’s causing your pain, you may feel better with rest, anti-inflammatory medication and ice. If you have a more severe injury, you may need a procedure or a surgery.

Surgeons often use minimally invasive types of surgery (arthroscopic surgery) to repair damage to the knee like torn tendons or ligaments. These types of injuries can cause knee instability and pain. In cases when the damage is severe, your healthcare provider may recommend knee replacement surgery.

TREATMENT
Treatment for knee pain depends on what’s causing it and how uncomfortable it makes you.

  • Mild knee injuries often improve with rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications. Wearing a brace can stabilize your knee while it recovers.
  • If arthritis is causing knee pain, your treatment may include medication and physical therapy.
  • Doctors can usually repair tendon and ligament tears with minimally invasive surgery, if necessary.
  • More serious knee pain may require knee replacement surgery.

No matter what caused your knee pain, physical therapy exercises can strengthen the muscles supporting your knee to help relieve discomfort.

EASING KNEE PAIN AT HOME
Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend home care to relieve knee pain. These may include:

  • Applying heat or ice packs.
  • Modifying activities to avoid causing pain.
  • Practicing gentle stretches or exercises.
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • Topical treatments such as muscle creams or rubs.
  • Wearing a brace to support the knee.

See your doctor right away if you have severe knee pain after a fall or accident, or if your knee is too painful or unstable to support your weight. You should also see your doctor if your knee is swollen or you can’t extend it all the way. Call your doctor if you have pain that keeps bothering you longer than a few days.


 


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