Knee pain is an extremely common complaint, because there are a lot of different causes which can encourage knee pain from tolerable to intolerable. Anyway, it is very important to make an accurate diagnosis of the cause of your knee pain, so it can be cured by certain treatment program. If you are a victim of constant knee pain, but you do not know the cause of it, we will introduce you with most common causes of knee pain and, what is more significant, ways how to prevent the knee pain.
Arthritis is the most common cause of knee pain, because it has several forms, but generally there are three main types of knee arthritis – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a slow and degenerative disease that causes the erosion of cartilage (the cushion layer between bones), but without the protective cartilage bones begin to rub together, causing deformity, mobility and severe pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory-based disease which reduces the cartilage layer of the joints and causes painful swelling and can lead to joint worsening over time. Post-traumatic arthritis is the result of previously injured knee – it can develop even years after some tear, injury or fracture. Common symptoms of knee arthritis are gradually developing or sudden knee pain, joint stiffness, swelling, weakness of knee, weather-sensitive degrees of pain.
Ligaments are short bands of tough and flexible tissue which is made of lots of individual fibres and which connect the bones together. Knees have four different types of ligaments – anterior cruicate ligament (ACL), posterior cruicate ligament (PCL), medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL). All of these ligaments can be damaged in a number of ways, but always through a forceful impact, for example, during direct blows, twists or hyper-extension. There are four different grades in which injuries of ligaments can be classified – mild ligament tear (I grade), moderate ligament tear (II grade) and severe (ruptured) ligament tear (III grade). These injuries cause such symptoms as intense pain, swelling, stiffness, difficulty walking and loss of knee stability.
Meniscus tear, also known as torn cartilage, restricts the knee from performing such essential functions as cushioning, maintaining balance and distributing weight across the knee joint. Symptoms of meniscus tear, depending on the severity of the tear, typically are swelling, slight pain, knee locking, popping or catching, sharp pain in the center or side of the knee, stiffness and inability to straighten the knee.
Patellar tendonitis (tendinitis)
Patellar tendinitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is inflammation or injury of the patellar tendon (the tissue which connects the patella (kneecap) and the tibia (shinbone). Patellar tendonitis can be called as overuse injury which is caused by repetitive movements to the patellar region. Jumper’s knee is known with symptoms such as pain while bending or straightening the leg, tenderness around the patella and patellar tendon, swelling of knee joint and restrictive movement.
Chondromalacia patellae, also known as patellofemoral syndrome or runner’s knee, generally affects those who put heavy stress on theirs knees, for example, runners and footballers. This disease is connected with pain on the front of the knee, therefore, sometimes it is called as patellofemoral pain. Chondromalacia patellae has symptoms as pain around the patella, pain while bending the knee during different physical activities, swelling and grinding or popping sensation around the injury.
Dislocating kneecap, also known as patellar dislocation, is an injury of the knee which is typically caused by sudden twist of leg or direct blow. This injury occurs when the kneecap or, in other words, patella slips out of its normal position in the patellofemoral groove, causing intense pain and swelling.
A baker’s cyst, also known as popliteal cyst, is a pocket of fluid that forms a lump behind the knee. Baker’s cyst is forming from excess joint fluid when it is pushed into sac of tissue behind the knee – when this sac is filled with fluid and bulges out, it becomes a cyst. Excess fluid is caused by injuries or diseases such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms of baker’s knee are stiffness or tightness behind the knee, swelling behind the knee which may get worse while standing, slight pain behind the knee and into upper calf, but often this cyst causes no pain.
Bursitis, also known as housemaid’s knee, is the inflammation or irritation of the bursa. Bursa is a sac which is located between body tissues and which is filled with lubricating fluid for decreasing rubbing, friction and irritation of tissues. Bursitis can be caused by different factors, for example, by age, overuses, repetitive impacts, sudden injuries, incorrect postures, poor warm-up and stretching, abnormal bones or joints, diseases, medications and infections. Most common symptoms of bursitis are pain which may build up gradually or be sudden and severe, and immobility.
Plica syndrome, also known as synovial plica syndrome, is an irritation of the membrane in the knee joint which keeps the knee joint lubricated. When this tissue becomes irritated, it results in knee pain and tenderness to touch. Plica syndrome can be caused by overuse of direct-hit injury.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is one of the most common causes of knee pain for children. This disease is widespread among youngsters who partake in high impact sports, therefore, it is always characterized by activity-related pain which occurs few inches below the kneecap or on the front of the knee. Symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease are knee pain, swelling, tenderness below the kneecap, limping and tightness of quadriceps and hamstring muscles.
Osteochondritis is a joint condition in which the bone underneath the cartilage dies due lack of blood flow, causing pain and possibly hindering joint motion over time. Most common symptoms of osteochondritis are swelling, sore or painful knee joint, grinding or locking sensation, limping and stiffness after inactivity.
Gout, also known as podagra, is a disease which can be characterized by abnormal metabolism of uric acid which results in an excess of uric acid in tissues and blood. Gout has symptoms such as intense joint pain, lingering discomfort, inflammation and redness of joint, limited range of motion. It should be mentioned, that knees mostly are affected by pseudogout.
Iliotibial band syndrome
This disorder occurs when the ligament which extends from the outsize of the pelvic bone to the outside of the tibia becomes so tight that it rubs against the outer part of the femur.
Hip or foot pain
If you have constant hip or foot pain, you may change the way you walk to save these painful joints, because this incorrect gait can put more stress on your knee joints, causing knee pain.
Sometimes a knee injury can break off fragments from the cartilage or bone which can stuck in the joint, causing pain, swelling and immobility.
Bleeding in the knee joint
This knee injury is also called hemarthrosis and it affects blood vessels around the knee ligaments, causing sense of warmth, stiff, bruises and swelling.
How to prevent knee pain?
- Rest your joints sufficiently;
- Get enough sleep for body recovery;
- Maintain a healthy weight to relieve the stress on knee joints;
- Apply ice and / or heat applications such as ice packs and heat pads;
- Stretch your muscles and tendons which surround the joint;
- Find a low-impact exercises you enjoy;
- Provide yourself a physical therapy;
- Take anti-inflammatory medications;
- Consider cortisone injections for treating an inflammation;
- Talk to your doctor!