Did you know that nearly 50 million Americans suffer from knee pain?
The knee is the largest joint in our body and one of the most complex. We rely on our knees to stand, walk, run and even sit. They ensure our movement and mobility.
Looking after our knees is very important, but many people simply do not consider this until it is too late. Did you know that nearly 50 million Americans suffer from knee pain?
Knees are highly susceptible to injury due to their intricate mechanics and many things can go wrong. Whether you are young or old, fit or not, man or woman… knee problems can affect you.
If you would like more information on knee pain, please read End Chronic Joint Pain Forever.
Symptoms of knee pain
Problems usually originate in the bony structures of the knee which comprises of ligaments, cartilage, kneecap and joint.
Symptoms of knee pain can include:
- Swelling of the knee
- Difficulty walking
- Inability to stretch the knee
- Inability to bend the knee
The severity of pain will vary depending on the structures involved.
Causes of knee pain
Knee pain is a common problem which can occur due to injury, arthritis, infection, degeneration and bone tumors.
Risk factors for knee pain includes:
A knee injury may affect any of the ligaments, tendons or fluid sacs which surround the knee joint as well as the bones, cartilage and ligaments that form the joint itself.
Some of the more common knee injuries can include:
An ACL injury occurs when the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.
It is one of four ligaments which connect the shinbone to the thighbone.
ACL injuries are particularly prevalent in basketball, soccer or other sports that require sudden changes of direction.
The meniscus is made of a resilient, rubbery cartilage.
This acts as a shock absorber between the shinbone and thighbone.
It can be torn if the knee is suddenly twisted while carrying weight.
Certain knee injuries will cause inflammation in the bursae.
These are small sacs of fluid which cushion the outside of your knee joint and allow tendons and ligaments to glide smoothly over the joint.
Tendinitis is an irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons.
Skiers, cyclists, runners and those involved in jumping activities are more prone to develop inflammation in the patellar tendon.
Sometimes injury or degeneration can cause a piece of bone or cartilage to break off in the joint space.
This may not create any problems unless the loose body interferes with knee joint movement.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
This is when the ligament which extends from the outside of the pelvic bone to the outside of the tibia (iliotibial band) becomes tight and rubs against the outer portion of the femur.
Distance runners are most susceptible to iliotibial band syndrome.
When the triangular bone (patella) that covers the front of the knee slips out of place, usually to the outside of the knee, it is regarded as dislocated.
Sometimes the kneecap may stay displaced, making the dislocation visible.
Hip And Foot Pain
Hip or foot pain may alter your walking style in order to spare yourself from the painful joints.
This change of groove can place more stress on your knee joint.
Sometimes, problems in the hip or foot can refer to pain in the knee.
Arthritis In The Knee
There exists over 100 different types of arthritis. The most common type of arthritis in the knee is osteoarthritis, whereby the cartilage in the knee gradually wears away. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the knee at any age.
Arthritis can also develop after an injury, referred to as post-traumatic arthritis. Arthritis in the knee is most likely to develop slowly and get progressively worse if not addressed.
If knee pain wakes you up in the middle of the night, you may be suffering from arthritis in the knee.
Please read Osteoarthritis Explained if you would like more information on osteoarthritis.
This occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joint. Gout most commonly affects the big toe, it can also occur in the knee.
Often mistaken for gout, pseudogout is caused by calcium crystals which develop in the joint fluid. Knees are the most common joint affected by pseudogout.
Sometimes the knee joint can become infected, leading to swelling, pain and redness. Septic arthritis often occurs with a fever.
Also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, it is a general term which refers to pain arising between your patella and the underlying thighbone (femur).
It is common in athletes, young adults, and especially those with a slight kneecap misalignment. Older adults usually develop the condition as a result of arthritis of the kneecap.
Treating Knee Pain
Knee pain can be avoided, to a certain extent, with treatment.
Diagnosing knee pain
Knee problems are diagnosed through multiple tests such as bone scans, x-rays, biopsy and CAT scans, as well as examination by a doctor or physiotherapist.
A doctor will do a physical examination, taking into account the medical history of the patient for a precise diagnosis. A physiotherapist will also do a physical examination, focusing more on the range of movement, as well as muscle, tendon and ligament pain levels,
Exercises for knee pain
While exercise can be very beneficial for those with a knee condition, those trying to prevent injury need to be careful.
High-impact exercise can make knee pain worse.
Stretching and low-impact activities can strengthen the muscles around the knee, relieving pain.
If your knees are giving you problems, try stretching and strength training 3-4 times a week.
When you feel more comfortable you can increase your exercise time.
In order to prevent knee problems, follow these basic steps below.
- Always wear comfortable shoes
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Warm up before doing any kind of physical activity
Our knees are vulnerable joints and need to be looked after. Make sure to treat your knees with the care they deserve.
While not all knee problems can be prevented, most complication can be avoided.
For more information on treating chronic knee pain, please read Joint Pain Remedies.