Females are real-life superheroes, and there’s nothing that they can’t do. Mothers, wives, and daughters successfully run the home, family, business, and society. But even the greatest warriors get injured and need some healing time too. Many women will agree that there seems to be a gender bias regarding knee problems. As husbands and sons inspect, get in and out of the crawlspace effortlessly, they suffer knee discomfort and pain during cold conditions.
Self-diagnosis and medication may only worsen one’s condition. Consulting a knee surgeon will guarantee your safety and fast recovery. Here are the seven situations that women need to see a knee surgeon:
When Should You Need to See a Knee Surgeon
1. Weather-Related Joint Pain
Weather-related joint pains have been a problem among women. Good days are the sunny ones where they come out to the backyard and play with the children; however, bad days are the rainy, snowy, and cold ones where they cover themselves with blankets, stay beside the fireplace with a cup of tea in their hands.
This condition is frequently underrated due to the populace’s lack of proper knowledge. However, researchers have found their correlation.
There is a decrease in temperature and pressure of air’s weight from warm to cold surroundings. Together with the estrogen fluctuation of women, joint fluids thicken, thus making joints and adjacent structures stiffen, swell, and become more painful.
It is suitable for women of older age to stay inside the house during bad and cold weather. The sudden drop in temperature may stiffen and trigger pain in joints – preventing slips and falls are a must.
2. Knee Pain that Hinders Movements
The pain origin is various structures such as ligaments, tendons, meniscus, knee cap, fluid sac, muscle, bone, or nerve. Affectations to one or a group of them may result in incapability to walk, climb stairs or get in and out of the chair.
Immobilizing the knee due to pain may lead to severe effects such as decreased muscle mass and strength. The entire leg might shrink and become irreversible. Thus, it is very wise to see a knee surgeon right away.
3. Knee Pain That Interferes Sleep Or Rest
Most knee pain conditions get triggered in prolonged standing or sitting and strenuous activities. They usually subside when at sleep or rest. However, when deeper structures are involved, such as an impinged nerve or fracture, it may continue to elicit pain even in an immobile state.
Especially in the cold season at night, it will lead to a pulsating pain on the knee and a sleepless night. Such a situation needs immediate consultation with a specialist, proper medical diagnosis, and intervention to improve sleep and reduce stress.
4. Inability To Cope With Side Effects of Pain Relief Medication
Pain relief medications might have harmful side effects on the brain, liver, lungs, kidneys, and stomach, especially those with pre-existing and life-threatening diseases.
Drug medication must be put on hold, and immediate medical consultation is needed. The patient will be thoroughly assessed if he is qualified for surgery. In some cases, the patient’s age, prognosis, and post-surgery quality of life are weighed before pursuing.
Women who take analgesics for knee pain relief must take note of this list of comorbidities:
- Chronic lung disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Liver cirrhosis
- Cardiovascular diseases
5. Knee Swelling That Does Not Respond To Treatment
Knee swelling is commonly caused by inflammation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac. The knee has thirteen bursae that may be affected; they act as the lubricant to decrease friction on the largest joint of the body. One, in particular, is pre-patellar bursitis which is most common in women. Due to household chores such as carpet and floor cleaning, stress and tension may injure the bursa and form a swelling.
Bursitis may cause restrictions in bending or straightening the knee. It will affect day-to-day life and may cause falls and slips. When icing and rest do not reduce the swelling, it is time to see a knee surgeon.
6. Significant Bowing In and Out of Knees
The bowing in of the knee is called genu valgum or knocked-knee. It compromises the posture and balance of an individual by creating a farther distance between two ankles and flat-foot condition.
On the other hand, the bowing out of the knee is called genu varum or bow-legged. It creates a wider gap between the two knees. This condition is linked to osteoarthritis, and knee deformity may worsen.
The decrease in estrogen due to aging may result in these conditions. Stiffness and pain on the knees may worsen during cold conditions due to losing bone minerals, calcium, and integrity. The bones and supporting structures in the knee become fragile and susceptible to fracture or injuries.
7. Popping and Cracking of Knees
Women over 45 years old are prone to degenerative meniscal tears. A meniscus is a rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber for internal and external stress and pressure. Once aging, they tend to fray and might get invade the joint.
Some meniscal tears do not manifest pain but produce popping or cracking of the knees. However, they may have swelling and incapacitating pain later on when left untreated.
These two non-modifiable factors contribute to women’s vulnerabilities to various knee conditions. Here are the following:
Women and girls’ muscles are built and developed differently from males. The presence of a wider pelvis and the angle from the anterior hip to the knee leads to a weaker and less stable knee. Their knees are slightly closer to each other than males. Thus, it creates more tension and stress on the knee joint.
Females rely significantly on the thigh muscles; thus, when they land from a jump or hop, their legs stiffen and end up in a more straight-legged position. The force in the impact is distributed unevenly, and with continuous stress and tension, it may create a severe knee problem.
Physical therapy may be recommended to women to re-educate their muscles and teach them the proper way to perform the activities of daily living (ADL) without compensatory movements.
Females possess the hormone estrogen produced by the ovaries. It plays a vital role in the growth and development of girls as they mature, especially in the bones, muscles, and calcium storage.
During their monthly menstrual period, an increase in estrogen makes the muscles weaker and increases the laxity of ligaments and tendons. It leads to increase susceptibility to musculoskeletal injuries such as with the knee.
When females age and reach the menopausal stage, there is a progressive drop in estrogen production level. This results to increase risks of fractures on the neck, back, arms, legs, and knees.
Weather-related joint pain is common both in men and women. So, whenever the air turns crisp, rain starts pouring, and winter approaches, make sure to dress warmly and avoid staying outside for too long. Women are prone to different knee problems due to unique structural anatomy and hormones. Supposedly, prevention is better than cure, but aging, deformities, and injuries are inevitable. Thus, women must be well-informed whenever they encounter these situations. Consult a knee surgeon to ensure you get the appropriate treatment and guarantee a speedy recovery.
Patricia Smith is a celebrated physical fitness trainer. She is doing vlogs on living an active, healthy lifestyle and conducts live streaming on practical exercises to strengthen the body. Distinguished professionals consult her expertise on various fitness aspects for middle-aged and senior individuals. She’s a volunteer in local charity organizations and enjoys rock mountain climbing every weekend.