Knee Pain Overview – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
The most common cause of this pain is not a violent injury, as one might think, but processes of wear and tear that are naturally occurring, combined with repetitive movement. Due to its position, the knee joint is under an incredible amount of stress daily, whether we are walking, jogging, playing sports etc. we are putting the pressure of our entire body to these two joints.
For this reason, knee joint is the biggest and strongest joint in our body, built up of three bones: femur, tibia and fibula, surrounded by massive ligaments and separated by two discs called menisci.
Correct diagnosis is a vital step in the process of any recovery and knee pain is no different. In order to treat pain properly, we need to know its location, symptoms and intensity, among other things. Answering these questions will help your doctor make the right diagnosis:
- How and when it started – you need to be as specific as possible and try to think of the exact date your pain started and remember what might have caused it in order to help your doctor make the right diagnosis
- Symptoms – try to explain your symptoms as best as you can, also, you need to be as specific as you can
- Location – pinpointing the exact location of the pain can sometimes be difficult, but try to be as precise as you can
Knee Pain Causes
As I`ve said before, the most common causes of knee pain are wear and tear and repetitive motion, but it can also be caused by injuries, mechanical problems, congenital anomalies, some types of arthritis, sudden, twisting motion etc. Injuries can affect muscles, ligaments, tendons or joints, knee is built up of.
There is one injury I`m sure you`ve heard of, it`s called torn meniscus. Meniscus is actually cartilage found between the bones in the joint and it serves as a shock absorber for the knee. It can be torn by sudden, violent twists in the knee joint (usually when playing sport).
Another common injury is ACL injury. ACL stands for anterior cruciate ligament which is holding the bones in place. Top athletes often tear this ligament when they change direction suddenly.
Knee joint can also be inflamed and cause localized swelling and pain. Since this joint is built up of many tendons, it is not uncommon that any one of them gets irritated and cause inflammation. When this happens, you need to rest and apply ice.
We`ve briefly touched on the symptoms in the previous paragraphs, but now we are going to look more into them:
- Pain – of course, pain is the most common symptom, but your doctor must put in some effort in finding out the exact location of the pain and estimate the level of its intensity
- Swelling and mobility – localized swelling is a sure indicator that something is wrong, but people sometimes ignore this symptom, thinking it will go away on its own. It usually does go away on its own but sometimes the knee can swell up so much that it affects the mobility of the joint itself. If this happens, call the doctor immediately
- Change in coloration and temperature – again, we are talking about localized changes in temperature and color – they usually mean that some inflammatory processes are going on in your knee, and that you should seek medical help
- Weakness – in some more severe cases, patients complain about the weakness in the knee and instability when walking, not to mention running
- Popping noises – popping and crunching noises can normally occur, even in the healthy joints, but if you notice that they started to get more frequent and/or painful, you should seek help
Types Of Knee Pain
Most common types of KP are:
Back Of The Knee Pain
or pain behind the knee, is more common in elderly population – people over 50 years of age (sorry if I offended anyone ). It is usually related to arthritis, posterior meniscus tear, ligament tear and/or hamstring injuries. As you can see, these are all serious conditions, so you should consult your doctor.
Front Knee Pain
This is the most common type of knee pain people complain about. It can have various causes that can be linked to:
- Patellar problems/kneecap problems
- Ligament tear
- Tendon tear or
- Cardiovascular problems
Medial(Inner) and later knee pain is very common and usually caused by problems with the ligaments. It usually happens when you change direction rapidly and shift weight, like when playing soccer, football, basketball etc…
Wearing Proper Shoes
If you are experiencing knee pain, there is a good chance it can be linked to the shoes you wear. Shoes are a foundation of your body and must provide you with proper support.
I`m not going to sit here and tell you how bad high-heel shoes are for you and your posture, since I know they make you feel more feminine, but I can advise you to wear them only on very special occasions.
Also, if you are a runner, you need to pay good attention to shoes selection and consult professionals.
If you are experiencing pain while running, or even walking, you need to go back to the beginning of this article and go over the symptoms, since there are a lot of things that might be causing it. Your safest bet would be to seek medical help and get to the root of your problem.
Relief And Treatment
When confronted with knee pain, you should go with the RICE method, it will relieve pain, reduce swelling and improve the mobility. So what is RICE method? RICE method stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Note that you should not rest for long period of time since it can interfere with your rehabilitation process and make it longer than usual. Ice should be applied 15-20 minutes, up to three times a day, and compression and elevation should be conducted in consultation with your doctor.