Is a numb-feeling knee normal – could it be growing pains or a grown-up problem?

Q: For almost a month, my knee has been feeling strange — it feels numb. It has a feeling of heaviness, and feels full. It just feels funny all over. It’s at the top of my knee, and it continued for a couple weeks. The other day, it hurt whenever I walked. Now, it hurts for a couple minutes then stops, but the funny feeling is still there. My grandma said it’s probably growing pains, but I stopped growing two years ago. I did gymnastics from age of 8 until 10, karate from ages 10 to 12, volleyball from 12 to 14 and tumbling from 13 to about 16. I recently walked about two miles to a destination, then two miles back. I hadn’t exercised like that since I quit tumbling, and I had no knee issues until recently.

A: This orthopedic Chicago podiatrist located in the West Loop 60661, Roscoe Village 60618, Ukranian Village 60622, Elmhurst 60126 and Bartlett 60103 says…
Your knee pain sounds like mild capsulitis or bursitis (fluid in the knee). You may have stretched the muscles around the knee, possibly by wearing the wrong footwear or walking on uneven terrain.
While your grandmother has good intentions, be warned that there’s no such thing as growing pains — pain of any kind isn’t normal.
In the past, when kids would over-exercise, use the wrong gear and techniques, or were not the right physical build for the activity they were doing, they would injure growth areas. Many kids were fortunate to recover — but not all.
The best advice I can give is to go see your local podiatrist – such as one of the doctors at Ankle N Foot Center — to see if the problems with your knee are due to your shoes.
In the meantime, practice PRICE:

Protect: Limit the movements that aggravate your knee.
Rest: This speaks for itself – give your knee a break.
Ice: This will help if the knee is painful and it should help ease any swelling.
Compress: Wrap the knee that’s bothering you in an Ace wrap or a knee sleeve
Elevate: This will help if the knee throbs or swells.

Remember to continue with gentle range of motion. Also, keep in mind that improvement will likely be slow because the knee is used daily in all weight-bearing activities.

I hope this helps. Good Luck!

Ankle N Foot Center docs & staff

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