Common Causes of Knee Pain
Knee pain can be frustrating and life altering. It is however important to quickly address knee pain. The knee is a complex joint between the bones of the upper and lower leg. It allows the leg to bend and provides stability to support the weight of the body. The knee supports motions such as walking, running, jumping, hopping, squatting and turning. The knee joint is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Any of these parts can lead to injury and cause knee pain.
Common symptoms of knee pain:
- Swelling and stiffness
- Redness and warmth to the touch
- Weakness or instability
- Popping or grinding noises
- Inability to fully straighten the knee
Common causes of knee pain:
- ACL injury. An ACL injury is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). An ACL injury is particularly common in people who play basketball, soccer or other sports that require sudden changes in direction.
- Fractures. The bones of the knee, including the kneecap (patella), can be broken during motor vehicle collisions or falls.
- Torn meniscus. The meniscus is formed of tough, rubbery cartilage and acts as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone. It can be torn if you suddenly twist your knee while bearing weight on it.
- Knee bursitis. Some knee injuries cause inflammation in the bursae, the small sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of your knee joint so that tendons and ligaments glide smoothly over the joint.
- Patellar tendonitis. Tendonitis is irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons (the thick, fibrous tissues that attach muscles to bones). Runners, skiers, cyclists, and those involved in jumping sports and activities may develop inflammation in the patellar tendon, which connects the quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh to the shinbone.
- Mechanical problems:
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome. The patellofemoral joint is the area of the Patella (knee cap) where the Patella sits in a groove in the Femur (tight bone).The Patella (knee cap) has an underlying surface covered with articular cartilage that allows it to glide smoothly in the knee. The Patella shifts within this groove during active movement of the knee.When this mechanism (tracking of the Patella in femoral groove) does not work properly, the cartilage becomes irritated/worn leading to maltracking or excessive shifting of Patella, resulting in pain. This process is referred to as dysfunctional patellar tracking, patellar maltracking, or patellofemoral pain syndrome.
- Loose body. Sometimes injury or degeneration of bone or cartilage can cause a piece of bone or cartilage to break off and float in the joint space. This may not create any problems unless the loose body interferes with knee joint movement, in which case the effect is something like a pencil caught in a door hinge.
- Iliotibial band syndrome. This occurs when the tough band of tissue that extends from the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee (iliotibial band) becomes so tight that it rubs against the outer portion of your femur. Distance runners and cyclists are especially susceptible to iliotibial band syndrome.
- Dislocated kneecap. This occurs when the triangular bone (patella) that covers the front of your knee slips out of place, usually to the outside of your knee. In some cases, the kneecap may stay displaced and you’ll be able to see the dislocation.
- Hip or foot pain. If you have hip or foot pain, you may change the way you walk to spare these painful joints. But this altered gait can place more stress on your knee joint. In some cases, problems in the hip or foot can cause knee pain.
- Arthritis types:
- Oesteoarthritis. Sometimes called degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It’s a wear-and-tear condition that occurs when the cartilage in your knee deteriorates with use and age.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. The most debilitating form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can affect almost any joint in your body, including your knees. Although rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, it tends to vary in severity and may even come and go.
- Gout. This type of arthritis occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joint. While gout most commonly affects the big toe, it can also occur in the knee.
- Pseudogout. Often mistaken for gout, pseudogout is caused by calcium-containing crystals that develop in the joint fluid. Knees are the most common joint affected by pseudogout.
Your knees are vital joints and knee pain should not be ignored as further damage could result. Elite Physical Therapy and Balance can quickly evaluate and either begin treatment or refer you on the appropriate path to help you Feel Better Faster.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is intended to be informational only, and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical care. Consult a doctor or a physical therapist before attempting treatment on your own.
If you are having regular knee pain or instability, come see us for a free consultation. To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:
Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022