What is knee pain?

Knee pain is among the second most common ache after back pain. But ever wondered why do so many of us suffer from it?

An Overview:

Knee pain is a common form of knee problem that affects people of all ages. Knee pain can be localised to a specific area of the knee or be diffused throughout the knee, depending upon the severity of damage caused to the knee joint. Even though the reasons for knee pain may vary, but the result is always the same- mild to extreme pain & discomfort in the knee area.
Knee pain is often accompanied by physical restrictions and if not treated in time, can further make everyday activities like walking, climbing the stairs, getting up after prolonged sitting, driving or climbing up an incline really painful and difficult. While minor or mild to moderate kind of knee problems can easily be treated with the help of physiotherapy and other forms of treatments like acupuncture and massage therapy etc., the extreme or chronic kinds may require surgery to heal.
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ANATOMY OF THE KNEE >>

ANATOMY OF THE KNEE

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What causes knee pain or knee problems?

Knee pain reasons can be plenty and so it would not be correct to pin point at that one particular thing that can result in knee pain or knee problems.

However, some of the most common knee pain causes can be further categorised as various forms of injuries, mechanical problems in the joint and arthritis among others.

  • Knee injuries

    Any form of trauma or injury to the knee can cause serious damage to the bones, ligaments, tendons and fluid that make up the entire knee joint. As a result, one might experience moderate to extreme pain in the area and require immediate medical attention to ascertain the cause as well as the course of treatment for healing and recovery purposes. Knee injuries can range from fractures to torn meniscus (a rubbery cartilage that gets torn as a result of heavy lifting of weight) and from knee bursitis (inflammation of the joints) to patellar tendonitis (injury caused when the tendon is overstressed).

  • Mechanical problems

    Mechanical knee pain reasons could be a result of a direct blow or sudden movement that strains the knee and causes discomfort in the area. Other knee pain reasons can be due to dislocated kneecap, iliotibial band syndrome (this usually happens when the extreme band of tissue gets so tight that it rubs against the external bit of the femur) or presence of loose bodies in the knees which prevent the joint movement by getting captured in flexion and extension movements.

  • Knee arthritis

    While there are different kinds of arthritis that can cause knee problems, but the most common among them are:

    • Knee osteoarthritis: Knee osteoarthritis occurs as a result of years of wear and tear of the cartilage in the knee and is more common among people aged 50 and above. The pain in the case of knee osteoarthritis, often starts to escalate gradually and worsens with time.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis: This form of arthritis is also considered to be a kind of autoimmune disease in which a person’s immune system attacks multiple joints in the body. Unlike knee osteoarthritis, the pain in the case of rheumatoid arthritis gets better with physical activities and exercises.
Knee Pain CausesCauses Type
InjuriesKnee ligament injury, collateral ligament injury, cruciate ligament injury, Torn knee cartilage or Meniscus, Patellar tendonitis & tear, Patellofemoral pain syndrome, Chondromalacia patella, Prepatellar bursitis, Plica syndrome
Knee arthritisKnee osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Gout, Septic arthritis
Mechanical knee problemsKnee joint infection, Bone tumour, Iliotibial band syndrome, Dislocated kneecap, Presence of loose bodies around knee joint, Hip or foot pain, Baker’s cyst
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Knee Pain CausesCauses Type
InjuriesKnee ligament injury, collateral ligament injury, cruciate ligament injury, Torn knee cartilage or Meniscus, Patellar tendonitis & tear, Patellofemoral pain syndrome, Chondromalacia patella, Prepatellar bursitis, Plica syndrome
Knee arthritisKnee osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Gout, Septic arthritis
Mechanical knee problemsKnee joint infection, Bone tumour, Iliotibial band syndrome, Dislocated kneecap, Presence of loose bodies around knee joint, Hip or foot pain, Baker’s cyst

Types of knee pain

Acute knee pain

Mainly occurs due to external factors like twisting, strain due to overextension of the muscles and ruptured or torn muscle tendons. The pain in such cases occur often immediately. Patient can opt for pain killers for immediate pain relief and gradually move to other forms of pain management like physiotherapy, massages, acupuncture etc. Read More >>

Chronic knee pain

It is a form of pain that is caused by degeneration or inflammation of the joint. The pain in such cases develops continuously and its intensity increases over a passage of time. While physiotherapy is a great way to manage pain and to prevent further damage to the knee joint, but in few cases, where the pain refuses to subside, knee replacement surgery might be recommended. Read More >>

Who is most likely to be at risk of knee pain?

Athletes or sports people

People who have suffered from knee injuries or trauma, previously

People who indulge in too much physical activity like excess of running, cycling and gymming etc.

People who are obese or overweight

Elderly people (mostly 60+)

People who have had past history of osteoporosis, arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis People with lack of muscle flexibility & strength

When to see a Kneeologist?

If you have any or all of the below given knee pain symptoms, you must pay a visit to your doctor.

  • Swelling and stiffness in the joints
  • Constant pain
  • Sharp, shooting pain when the knee is in use
  • Popping or crunching noises while sitting or getting up
  • Inability to straighten, bend or flex the knees
  • Weakness or instability in the knees
  • Deformity around the joints
  • Knee pain that occurs at night or while resting

Any other unusual symptom that is making it difficult to walk, bend or do any other physical activity

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Common Misconceptions about Knee Pain >>

Common Misconceptions about Knee Pain

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Treatment for knee pain:

The treatment course for knee pain totally depends upon the severity of the damage done to the knee and the final diagnosis. However some of the most commonly known treatments include:

  • Physiotherapy: It is aimed at providing maximum flexibility and mobility to the knee joints. In addition to this, physiotherapy also helps in managing knee pain, strengthen the muscles around the knee joints, reverse the damage and prevent further episodes of pain and injury.
  • Medication: Pain relievers and other analgesics are often recommended to subside pain and provide instant relief to the patient. However, for long term relief, one must opt for treatments like physiotherapy, massages and acupuncture as they have no side effects.
  • Surgery: In case of chronic knee pain or severe wear and tear of the joints, knee replacement or knee correction surgeries are recommended. Post-surgery physiotherapy help patients recover and heal faster and with ease.
  • Injections: Corticosteroids injections are administered to help in knee inflammation. Other injections administered for knee pain include – hyaluronic acid supplements and arthocentesis among others.

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