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Home > Symptom > Knee Pain

Knee Pain

Knee Pain

Overview of Knee Pain

Frequent knee pain is common, but it’s not usually a sign of anything serious. There are many possible causes, which can range from a simple muscle strain or tendonitis, to some type of arthritis. If the pain doesn’t go away within a few days or continues to worsen over time, you should have your physician examine your knee. Knee pain may become more frequent as you age. You’re also more at risk if you are overweight and active in sports or other physical activities. Knee pain may sometimes be the result of a sports or other injury.

What is knee pain?

Knee pain is a painful complication that affects many people. You may feel this pain as a result of an injury, such as stretching or tearing your ligaments or cartilage. Medical conditions, like arthritis and gout, can also cause knee pain in the long term.

There are several different types of minor knee problems that don't require surgery. Sometimes, just physical therapy and a brace will help alleviate the pain. But if that doesn't work, surgery may be your only option.

Injury is one of the most common causes of knee pain. The knee is a complex joint with many different structures, including bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. This makes it susceptible to a wide range of injuries.

Causes of Knee Pain

There are many potential causes of knee pain, and the specific cause can often be difficult to determine. Some common causes of knee pain include:

  • Arthritis: Arthritis is a common cause of knee pain, particularly in older adults. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected joint.
  • Bursitis: Bursitis is an inflammation of the small sacs (bursae) that lubricate and cushion the joints. When these sacs become inflamed, they can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the affected joint.
  • Tendinitis: Tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons — the strong cords that attach muscle to bone. When tendons become inflamed, they can cause pain and stiffness in the affected joint.
  • Injury or trauma: A fall or other injury that results in a direct blow to the knee can cause bruising, swelling, and pain. In more serious cases, such as a dislocation or fracture, surgery may be required to repair the damage.

Treatments for Knee Pain

There are many different treatments for knee pain, depending on the underlying cause. Pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help reduce inflammation and pain. If your pain is due to arthritis, your doctor may prescribe medication to help reduce inflammation and slow the progression of the disease.

Physical therapy can also be helpful in treating knee pain. Exercises that strengthen the muscles around the knee can help support the joint and reduce stress on the area. Your physical therapist may also recommend using heat or cold therapy to help relieve pain.

If your knee pain is severe, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair damaged tissue or remove debris from the joint. In some cases, joint replacement surgery may be necessary.

Symptoms of Knee Pain

There are a few different ways to describe knee pain. The first is the location of the pain. For example, you may feel pain in the front of your knee, known as “anterior knee pain.” Pain behind the knee is called “posterior knee pain.” You may also feel pain on the outside of your knee (lateral knee pain) or on the inside of your knee (medial knee pain).

- Swelling or Stiffness: One of the most common symptom of knee pain is swelling and stiffness. This is usually caused by inflammation or injury to the joint. It can be accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, warmth, and tenderness. Swelling and stiffness are often worse in the morning or after periods of rest. Treatment for swelling and stiffness will depend on the underlying cause. Often, rest, ice, and over-the-counter medications will help to reduce symptoms. If the pain persists or gets worse, it is important to see a doctor so that they can rule out any serious underlying conditions.

- Redness and warmth to the touch: If you have knee pain, you may also notice that the area around your knee is red and warm to the touch. This is usually a sign of inflammation, which can be caused by a number of different things. If you notice that your knee is red and warm to the touch, it's important to see a doctor so they can determine the cause of the inflammation. Once the cause is determined, they can provide you with treatment options to help relieve your pain and swelling.

- Weakness or instability: One of the most common knee pain symptoms is weak or unstable knees. Weak or unstable knees can make it difficult to perform everyday activities, such as walking or going up and down stairs. If you experience this symptom, it's important to seek medical help so that the underlying cause can be diagnosed and treated.

- Inability to fully straighten the knee: One type of knee pain is caused by problems with the patellofemoral joint, which is the joint between the kneecap (patella) and the thighbone (femur). The patellofemoral joint is a “rolling” type of joint, and when it isn’t working properly, it can cause a condition called patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS).

PFPS is a broad term used to describe pain in the front of the knee and around the kneecap.

Prevention of Knee Pain

Knee pain is a very common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors. The good news is that there are many things you can do to prevent knee pain.

Here are some tips to help prevent knee pain:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts extra stress on your knees and can lead to pain.
  • Exercise regularly. Strong muscles around your knees help protect them from injury.
  • Wear supportive shoes. Proper footwear helps reduce the stress on your knees and can prevent pain.
  • Avoid high-impact activities if you have joint problems. Running or playing tennis may aggravate existing knee pain or lead to new pain. Swimming or biking are low-impact alternatives that won’t put as much strain on your knees.
  • Don’t overdo it when you’re working out. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to injuries, including knee pain. Ease into new activities gradually to give your body time to adjust and avoid injury.

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