Knee Pain: The Causes and the Power of Acupuncture

old man with knee pain

Knee pain is a common ailment affecting people of all ages and activity levels in Canada. This type of pain can be challenging to manage, as it often impacts one’s ability to walk, run, and perform daily activities. Fortunately, acupuncture is emerging as a promising treatment option for those suffering from knee pain.

That said, let’s explore the common causes of knee pain and discuss how acupuncture may help alleviate this discomfort for Canadians:

Common Causes of Knee Pain

1. Osteoarthritis

This is the most common cause of knee pain among Canadians, particularly in individuals over the age of 50. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that results in the breakdown of cartilage in the knee joint, leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness.

2. Tendinitis

Tendinitis is the inflammation of a tendon, which is the fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone. In the knee, the most commonly affected tendon is the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shinbone. That said, activities that involve repetitive strain on the knee, such as running, can lead to tendinitis.

3. Bursitis

Inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that cushions the knee joint, can cause pain and discomfort. This issue can be triggered by repetitive motions, prolonged kneeling, or a direct blow to the knee.

4. Ligament Injuries

The knee joint is supported by four main ligaments, which can be injured during activities that involve sudden changes in direction or forceful impacts, such as sports. Such injuries can range from mild sprains to complete tears, resulting in varying degrees of pain, swelling, and instability.

5. Meniscal Tears

The menisci are two crescent-shaped pieces of cartilage that cushion the knee joint. Tears in the menisci can occur due to a sudden twist or impact, as well as degeneration over time. Regardless, meniscal tears can cause pain, swelling, and a sense of the knee “catching” or “locking.”

6. Fractures

A direct blow or forceful impact to the knee can result in a fracture of one or more of the bones that make up the joint, including the kneecap, femur, or tibia. This problem typically causes severe pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the affected leg.

Can Acupuncture Help?

If you’ve never heard of acupuncture before, acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. That being said, research suggests that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for knee pain, particularly when it comes to reducing pain and improving function in individuals with osteoarthritis.

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that acupuncture significantly reduced pain and improved function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee when compared to a control group receiving sham acupuncture or no treatment at all. The participants who received acupuncture reported significantly decreased pain and improved ability to perform daily activities.

Another study published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine found that acupuncture, when combined with exercise and traditional Chinese medicine, was more effective at reducing pain and improving knee function in individuals with chronic knee pain than exercise and traditional Chinese medicine alone.

So, how does acupuncture work to relieve knee pain? While the exact mechanisms are not fully understood, it is believed that acupuncture may reduce pain by stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals. Additionally, acupuncture may help alleviate inflammation in the knee joint, which is a common cause of pain and discomfort.


Knee pain is a common issue faced by many Canadians, with a variety of causes ranging from osteoarthritis to injuries. Fortunately, acupuncture is showing promise as an effective treatment option for knee pain, particularly when it comes to reducing pain and improving function in those with osteoarthritis. So, if you are experiencing knee pain and are interested in exploring acupuncture as a treatment option, consult with a registered acupuncturist to discuss your specific needs and develop a personalized treatment plan!

Your Pickering Chiropractors is a chiro and massage clinic that offers back and neck pain treatments. If you are interested in acupuncture in Pickering, be sure to contact us today and book an appointment!

Why do I need orthotics?

Why do I need orthotics? What are orthotics used for anyway? Why would a chiropractor recommend orthotics?
There are a number of questions, let’s start with what orthotics are and what they’re used for.

Orthotics are custom made insoles for your shoes, designed to correct imbalances in your foot structures, muscles of the lower leg, protect against the forces of hard flooring on your feet.

Symptoms one might experience if orthotics are necessary aren’t limited to the feet, but include; foot, arch or heel pain, leg or knee pain, leg length inequality, hip or back pain even neck pain.

Foot orthotics work similar to braces for the teeth, or glasses for your eyes, they slowly and consistently place your foot structures in the correct position. We use orthotics in all kinds of footwear, even skates and ski boots!

I think I need orthotics what’s next?
During an orthotic examination I perform a static ( not moving) postural assessment, both weight bearing and non-weight bearing, to see how your foot reacts to supporting your body. I assess any mobility issues in the ankle or foot, check to see wear the forces stress the foot as shown in any calluses you may have. Next I have you walk several times in bare feet to assess your dynamic posture, do the toes point in or out, does the ankle roll in with walking?

Next I make a mold of your foot in special foam with you sitting, having your foot kept in the optimal position. The mold is then sent to the orthotic lab and analyzed. The orthotics are then ready in about a week or two.

I have my orthotics now what?
Initially you wear the orthotics an hour or two each day slowly increasing the time you wear them.

Wear them as much as you can , the more consistently you wear them, the better the benefit will be. Often we need to make 2 pair of orthotics to accommodate different kinds of foot wear, i.e. dress shoes vs. running shoes.

How does this fit with chiropractic?
Why as a chiropractor would I recommend orthotics?

Typically the answer is to either be reactive or proactive. If you are already having pain and there are structural or muscular imbalances that are contributing to your pain, orthotics may be part of the recovery process. If during our assessment process I discover some issues that may not be contributing to a pain process but have the potential to, I may suggest the orthotics as a preventative measure.

For more information go to https://yourpickeringchiropractors.cablog/

Running shoes, running, running injuries and chiropractic care

Running shoes, running, running injuries and chiropractic care.
I need new running shoes. At my family’s request to add more fitness options we purchased a treadmill to extend the running season as no one in my family ( sheepishly I include myself here) are too keen to be running outside in the snow, snow shoeing is an altogether different activity.

So the giant box arrives and my son and I assemble the beast. This was made more difficult than it needed to be by two Lego lovers who should follow instructions better.
That aside, I needed new running shoes. This for me is about as appealing as Christmas shopping, there are too many choices, too many features, most of which are not suitable for many people.

There had been a trend to minimalist running shoes, shoes that were barely there to benefit people who wanted to get in on the barefoot or toe running trend that had been prevalent of late. I am not one of those people, at 190+ pounds minimalist shoes are not for me and I have not trained myself to be a forefoot running person.
If in the market for new running shoes for the purpose of running I would recommend you visit a running specialty store at least to have a discussion of what type shoe or even brand of shoe works for you, also bring your old shoes with you for the sales associate to look at.

Simple tips that you can apply if you’re shoe shopping.
Arches- Do the arches of your feet rest on the floor when you’re weight bearing, i.e you have flat feet? Then a shoe that has more support on the inside of the shoe are better, how can you tell if a shoe has more support for the arch? Grab a shoe and try to wring it out like a dish rag, can you? This is probably not a shoe for you. More supportive shoes often have an insert of some other material in the arch area. Second squeeze the heel, can you squeeze the sides together or are they stiff? Stiffer shoes won’t allow your ankle to roll in as much keeping a more neutral position.

Weight-Are you like me and are a heavier runner, you might want a more cushioned shoe, when you run you are landing with a force usually 2.5 times your weight again and again, in a mile you make approximately 2000 of those impacts, so you can see how cushioning might play a role. Also keep in mind that the foam will deteriorate with time and impact so you probably need to replace those shoes more often, as often as every 3 months depending on mileage.

Try before you buy- Before you shell out big bucks, try the shoes out, go for a short jog in the store, wear them for a bit. If they’re uncomfortable in a few minutes they’re not for you.

Size-Get sized, just like women’s clothes, a size 10 from one manufacturer may not be the same as another.

Don’t shop by fashion, colour, brand or price.

What does this have to do with chiropractic? As I mentioned running puts a lot of force through your joints, from your feet all the way up the legs to the knees, hips and eventually your spine. Starting to run is a big change for your body. Injuries to runners occur when you make a change of more than 10% to any running parameter, distance, speed, stride length etc. As a chiropractor I can help your body manage this change and the forces inherent with running.
For my other blogs in this series or other topics visit here

Girls and Knee Injuries

As the spring finally arrives, many of your girls will be returning to the field to participate in soccer programs.

If your daughter is like mine and is going through puberty, or about 12 or more, they are at a much greater risk of injuring their ACL ( anterior cruciate ligament) of the knee than boys of a similar age in a similar sport. The reasons for this are not yet clear but may relate to hormone changes, physical growth changes, body mass , most research is now focussed on differences between boys and girls and the neurological control they have of their bodies.

The ACL is a primary stabilizer of the knee, its main function is to prevent excess forward motion of the tibia or your lower leg and if damaged increases instability of the knee joint and seriously limits activity and may require surgical repair and long periods of rehabilitation.

Most commonly these injuries occur during soccer and basketball, the motions most likely to cause the injury are landing from a jump and cutting or changing direction quickly.

What can be done to help prevent this injury in our girls?

Warm up and training exercises that focus on strengthening muscles of the thighs and lower legs, exercises called plyometrics that focus on jumping and landing from jumps.

Girls using these exercises in training can significantly reduce their risk of suffering these injuries.

Teachers, coaches and parents can learn more about how to prevent these injuries by completing a program on line called KIPP, here