How to Stop a Knee or Shoulder Injury from Limiting Your Life

How to Stop a Knee or Shoulder Injury from Limiting Your Life

Joint pain can seriously limit the things you love to do in life. From being unable to perform your daily tasks to not being able to play with your kids, joint pain is a hard condition to deal with. No one should have to limit their life due to pain in the shoulder or knee. In particular, the shoulder and knee are two of the most used joints in the body. Not being able to lift or bend stops you from doing simple things that used to seem easy, like taking out the trash or bending down to pick up your grandkids. Many patients come into our office feeling there is no hope, but there are many things you can do to stop joint pain from limiting your life.

Shoulder Pain

Pain in the shoulder can be from conditions like arthritis or a rotator cuff tear. Since the shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body, it is at a higher risk of injury or degeneration. Symptoms of joint pain in the shoulder include:

- Stiffness

- Swelling

- Pain when lifting or raising the arm

Knee Pain

The knee is a common joint to experience pain due to how often it is used. Overuse injuries like patellofemoral pain syndrome can lead to arthritis and pain in the future. Other past injuries like ACL or MCL tears can certainly lead to arthritis or other degeneration condition in the future as well. Common knee pain symptoms include:

- Swelling

- Pain when bending the knee

- Stiffness 

- Instability

Tips to Stop Joint Pain from Limiting Your Life

Physical Therapy

The first line of treatment by almost all orthopedic doctors is physical therapy. Shoulder and knee physical therapy will help strengthen the muscles and tendons that support your joints, which helps with pain in the shoulder or knee. A physical therapist will help create the best treatment plan for you and work with you to get back to doing the things you love! Setting short-term goals with your physical therapist will help keep you motivated and make the process more enjoyable. 

Find the Root Cause

Knowing what is causing your knee pain is crucial. As mentioned, there are a host of potential causes like arthritis, patellofemoral, tendon tears like an ACL / MCL, and more. From there, your knee doctor can find the best treatment plan for the injury.

Find What Workout Works Best for You

Many of our patients are pressured to get back to doing the same exercises they were doing before their pain started. The truth is your workout routine may need to change. Taking up a new exercise routine may seem unmotivating, but you never know how much you may love something until you try it! Yoga, resistance training, swimming, and cycling have been great options for our patients who have chronic knee pain.

Try a New or “Alternative” Treatment

Treatments like dry needling, gel shots, or PRP are considered an alternative form of medicine. Though the research to back it up is vague, there is no doubt that patients get relief from these treatment methods.

Dry Needling: dry needling is a treatment that uses a thin or dry needle and inserts it into your trigger points, which stimulates your muscles and causes them to twitch. By inserting the needle into a trigger point, draws normal blood supply back to the area and is thought to trigger a healing process to the injury.

PRP: platelet-rich plasma uses the patient's own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons.

Gel Shots: for certain knee injuries like patellofemoral syndrome, your knee doctor may recommend a gel shot behind your kneecap. This gel shot is the same “gel” that is used in cosmetic lip filler injections. This gel helps to reduce the grinding of the kneecap on the bone.

See a Doctor Before It Gets Worse 

The most helpful thing you can do to get back to the things you love is to seek professional medical help. An orthopedic doctor near you can help create the best road to recovery. We encourage patients to see an orthopedic shoulder specialist or an orthopedic knee specialist who has extensive knowledge of their specific condition! The specialists added training and expertise will help you get back to doing the things you love in no time!

Make Being Active a Part of Your Daily Life Instead of a Chore

Find an activity you love to do and stick with it! Once you have recovered from your injury, it is important to maintain the exercises you do in physical therapy throughout your life. What you learn in physical therapy can be a helpful tool for any future pain or discomfort you may feel.

Maintaining Your Weight

We know this is a complex issue and much easier said than done, but it truly is one of the biggest causes of chronic pain and inflammation. The more weight you have on you, the more pressure it puts on your joints. Being overweight puts you at risk of decreasing the longevity of your joints. If you struggle with your weight, talk to a doctor you can trust about weight management.

Who Treats Shoulder Pain at Elite?

At Elite, we have 7 doctors who not only treat shoulder pain but specialize in it! Each of these doctors has extensive training in treating shoulder pain and can perform surgery if needed. Drs. Elrod, Moore, Dovan, Price, Crosby, Martin and Dierckman all treat patients who have chronic shoulder pain.

Who Treats Knee Pain at Elite?

We have 5 doctors at Elite who specialize in knee injuries. These orthopedic surgeons have extensive training in treating knee pain and performing surgery if needed. Those doctors include Dr. Elrod, Dr. Moore, Dr. Martin, Dr. Price, and Dr. Dierckman.


In conclusion, getting ahead of your pain is the best way to live a joint pain-free life. Listen to the advice of your doctors, do everything you are told in physical therapy, and absorb what you learn while you are working with them! This will help you understand how to manage your knee or shoulder pain throughout your life.

Cassie Whittaker Cassie is the Communications Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2020.

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