Knee pain is a prevalent condition that affects people of all ages. Knee discomfort can be caused by an injury, such as a burst ligament or torn cartilage. Knee discomfort can also be caused by medical disorders such as arthritis, gout, or infections.
Many types of minor knee discomfort respond nicely to self-care techniques. Physical therapy and knee braces can also assist ease pain. In some circumstances, though, your knee may require surgical repair.
Knee Pain Symptoms
Depending on the origin of the condition, the location and degree of knee pain may vary. The following are some of the signs and symptoms that might occur in conjunction with knee pain:
- Swelling and stiffness
- Redness and warmth to the touch
- Weakness or instability
- Popping or crunching noises
- Inability to fully straighten the knee
When to see a doctor
Call your doctor if you:
- You can’t bear weight on your knee, and it feels unstable or gives out.
- Have significant knee edema
- You can’t fully extend or flex your knee.
- Do you have a visible abnormality in your leg or knee?
- You have a fever, as well as redness, soreness, and swelling in your knee.
- Have severe knee pain as a result of an injury
Knee Pain Causes
Knee discomfort can be caused by traumas, mechanical issues, various types of arthritis, and other issues.
A knee injury can harm any of the ligaments, tendons, or fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that surround your knee joint, as well as the bones, cartilage, and ligaments that make up the joint itself. The following are some of the most prevalent knee injuries:
- ACL injury. An ACL injury is a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is one of four ligaments that connect the shinbone to the thighbone. ACL injuries are more common in athletes who play basketball, soccer, or other sports that require quick changes in direction.
- Fractures. During falls or car accidents, the bones of the knee, including the kneecap (patella), can be fractured. Furthermore, those whose bones have been compromised by osteoporosis might sometimes experience a knee fracture merely by taking an incorrect step.
- Torn meniscus. The meniscus is thick, rubbery cartilage that sits between your shinbone and thighbone and works as a stress absorber. It can be ripped if you twist your knee rapidly while bearing weight on it.
- Knee bursitis. Some knee injuries produce inflammation in the bursae, which are tiny sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of the knee joint and allow tendons and ligaments to glide easily over it.
- Patellar tendinitis. Tendinitis is characterized by irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons, which are the thick, fibrous fibers that connect muscles to bones. This inflammation can occur when the patellar tendon, which goes from the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone and allows you to kick, run, and leap, is injured. Patellar tendinitis can occur in runners, skiers, cyclists, and individuals participating in jumping sports and activities.
Here are some examples of mechanical issues that might cause knee pain:
- Loose body. A fragment of bone or cartilage may break off and float in the joint space as a result of injury or deterioration of the bone or cartilage. This may not cause any issues unless the loose body interferes with knee joint mobility, in which case the effect is similar to a pencil stuck in a door hinge.
- Iliotibial band syndrome. This happens when the iliotibial band (a tough band of tissue that runs from the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee) becomes so tight that it scrapes against the outer portion of your thighbone. Long-distance runners and cyclists are particularly vulnerable to iliotibial band syndrome.
- Dislocated kneecap. This happens when the patella (the triangular bone that covers the front of your knee) moves out of place, usually to the outside of your knee. In certain circumstances, the kneecap may remain dislocated, and the dislocation will be visible.
- Hip or foot pain. If you experience hip or foot pain, you can alter your walking style to protect your problematic joint. However, this altered walk can put greater strain on your knee joint, resulting in knee pain.
Types of arthritis
There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. The following are the most likely to impact the knee:
- Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis, often known as degenerative arthritis, is the most frequent type of arthritis. It’s a wear-and-tear issue that arises as your knee’s cartilage deteriorates with use and age.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis, the most severe form of arthritis, is an autoimmune disease that can damage practically every joint in your body, including your knees. Although rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition, its severity varies, and it can even come and go.
- Gout. When uric acid crystals accumulate in the joint, this kind of arthritis develops. While gout is most usually associated with the big toe, it can also affect the knee.
- Pseudogout. Pseudogout, which is frequently confused with gout, is characterized by calcium-containing crystals that form in the joint fluid. The most common joint afflicted by pseudogout is the knee.
- Septic arthritis. Swelling, discomfort, and redness can occur when your knee joint becomes infected. Septic arthritis is frequently associated with a fever, and there is typically no trauma prior to the onset of pain. Septic arthritis can quickly wreak havoc on the knee cartilage. Consult your doctor straight immediately if you experience knee pain and any of the signs of septic arthritis.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a broad term for discomfort that occurs between the kneecap and the underlying thighbone. It is frequent in sports, young adults, particularly those whose kneecap does not track well in its groove, and elderly persons, who typically develop the syndrome as a result of kneecap arthritis.
A variety of variables can raise your chances of developing knee difficulties, including:
- Excess weight. Being overweight or obese puts more strain on your knee joints, even during everyday tasks like walking or stair climbing. It also increases your risk of osteoarthritis by hastening the degradation of joint cartilage.
- Lack of muscle flexibility or strength. Knee ailments can be exacerbated by a lack of strength and flexibility. Muscle strength helps to secure and protect your joints, while muscle flexibility allows you to attain a complete range of motion.
- Certain sports or occupations. Some sports place more strain on your knees than others. Alpine skiing, with its rigid ski boots and possibility for falls, basketball hops and pivots, and the frequent pounding your knees receive when running or jogging all raise your risk of knee damage. Construction and farming jobs that require repetitive stress on the knees can also raise your risk.
- Previous injury. A past knee injury increases your chances of injuring your knee again.
Knee Pain Complications
Knee pain is not always serious. However, if left untreated, some knee injuries and medical disorders, such as osteoarthritis, can cause growing pain, joint deterioration, and disability. And having a knee injury, no matter how mild, increases your chances of having similar ailments in the future.
Knee Pain Prevention
Although it is not always possible to avoid knee pain, the following tips may help you avoid accidents and joint deterioration:
- Keep extra pounds off. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your knees. Every pound you gain puts more strain on your joints, increasing your risk of injury and osteoarthritis.
- Be in shape to play your sport. Make time for conditioning to prepare your muscles for the rigors of sports activity.
- Practice perfectly. Make sure your technique and movement patterns in your sport or activity are as good as they can be. Professional lessons can be really beneficial.
- Get strong, stay flexible. Muscle weakness is a common cause of knee injury. Building up your quadriceps and hamstrings, the muscles on the front and rear of your legs that assist support your knees will benefit you. Balance and stability training improves the coordination of the muscles around your knees.
Stretching is also crucial since tight muscles can contribute to injury. Incorporate flexibility exercises into your workouts.
- Be smart about exercise. If you have osteoarthritis, chronic knee pain, or recurrent injuries, you may need to modify your workout routine. Consider moving to swim, water aerobics, or other low-impact exercises a few days each week. Limiting high-impact activities might sometimes bring relief.
Stop the pain and suffering with professional Buffalo Grove knee pain physical therapy. Book your appointment now.