Knee Pain

knee pain causes

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview of knee pain

Environmental stress factors or degeneration of muscles and skeletal structures with age trigger multiple symptoms within a human body. The part of the body that degenerates the most with age is “knee”. This results from several athological conditions or external injuries.

Pain in the knee can cause a permanent damage to the body by causing degeneration of joints, leading to immobility. In the recent years, knee pain symptoms have become common in age groups less than 40.This will inevitably sum up to a socio-economic burden in the near future.It is necessary to address knee pain problems on priority.

 

What is knee pain?

knee pain symptomsKnee pain refers to the pain and inflammation of the knee caused by external injuries (damaged ligament or cartilage) or chronic diseases like arthritis or gout.

The disease does not have any specific vulnerable group. It can attack people belonging to any age group or ethnicity.

But it is definitely true that knee pain issues are a major problem in low and middle-income countries due to lack of awareness and proper medications.

 

What are the causes of knee pain?

Pain in the knee may result due to existing clinical conditions (diseases) or mechanical trauma due to external agents. The most commonly studied causes are as follows-

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury

Damage to any of the four ligaments joining shinbone and thighbone can cause pain in the knee. It is usually observed in athletes.

Fracture

The most important bones of the knee, especially the patellar bone may get damaged due to accidental collisions or falls.

Damaged meniscus

The meniscus normally acts as a protective buffer between shinbone and thighbone. So any mechanical damage to the meniscus can cause knee injury and pain.

Knee bursitis

Bursae refer to tiny sacs of fluid that act as lubricants to facilitate smooth movements of tendons and ligaments. Any injury or damage to the bursae causes inflammation and pain in the knee.

Patellar tendinitis

Damage or injury to any tendon causes inflammation of the patellar tendon causing acute pain in the knee.

Broken cartilage

Often a damaged or degenerated fragment of a cartilage breaks free and floats in the joint fluid. Gradually it interferes with the movement of joints and causes pain in the knee.

Iliotibial band syndrome

The iliotibial band is the band of tissues that extend from the outer pelvic region to the outer region of the knee. Extreme tightness or roughness of this band causes friction with the femur. This condition is common in athletes.

Hip or foot pain

This may arise due to incorrect walking postures or defective footwear and can cause pain in the knee.

Obesity

An abnormal weight gain can exert pressure on the knee joints, causing degeneration of joint cartilage, leading to pain in the knee.

Loss of muscular flexibility

Degenerated and stiffened muscles (due to age) can cause pain in the knee due to decreased tolerance to external shocks and pressures.

Physical activities

Rigorous physical activities during work-outs or few sports like skiing or surfing can cause joint erosion and pain in the knee.

Arthritis

Knee pain may be a result of different arthritic conditions especially osteoarthritis and gout.

 

What are the common symptoms of knee pain?

The very common myth regarding the relationship between knee problems and old age often results in negligence of mild knee pain symptoms, which thereby get the chance to grow severe. The following symptoms of should be identified at an early stage to prevent future complications-

  • Acute inflammation of the knee
  • Constant itching
  • Presence of dry skin or dead cells (appearing as minute white flakes)
  • Extreme tenderness and touch sensitivity
  • Lack of free movement of knee joints
  • Stiffness and loss of strength of knee joints and leg muscles
  • Crunching noises during knee movements
  • Difficulty flexing and straightening the knee after keeping it folded for a long time
  • Difficulty standing up or sitting, walking or running
  • Frequent occurrence of fall (due to fumbling footsteps)
  • Deformity of the knee joint
  • Feeling of crashing of the knee due to excessive weight
  • Shooting pain at night (arthritic conditions)

 

Types of knee pain

Pain in the knee may be classified into different categories based on the exact region of occurrence or intensity of pain. Based on the region of occurrence, these pains are of the following types-

Anterior knee pain: It occurs in the middle-front portion of the knee and can be caused by various factors like Patellar Tendinitis or Chondromalacia (softening and degeneration of cartilage tissue).

Medial knee pain: It is caused due to medial collateral ligament injury (MCL) on the inner portion of the knee due to wear and tear of the ligament.

Lateral knee pain: It occurs due to inflammation of the Iliotibial band

Posterior knee pain: It occurs due to musculotendinous injuries, such as damage to the posterior cruciate ligament.

Based on the intensity of pain, knee pains can be categorized into the following types-

  • Acute knee pain: It is usually caused by external injuries and leads to temporary damage of ligaments. This type of pain is not very severe in nature and heals within 3-4 weeks or less.
  • Chronic knee pain: It is usually caused due to rheumatoid or osteoarthritis and is persistent in nature. It develops with age and might not heal at all.

 

Diagnosis, Treatment, & Prevention

The most effective diagnostic techniques for pain in the knee include arthroscopy (for the clear view of bones and cartilages), UltraSound techniques and functional MRI.

The most easy and effective way to get relief from knee pain is to practice RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  This helps in reducing the inflammation, which if left untreated can turn chronic in nature. It is important to provide proper support and padding to the knee to prevent further trauma or injury. Icing should be done 2-3 times a day for roughly 20-30 minutes. The knee should be kept elevated at a height higher than the level of heart. Painkiller medications such as NSAIDs can be used if the patient doesn’t have stomach ulcers or any renal issues. You should refer to a doctor if the knee pain persists for more than a week, even after following the RICE techniques.

There are many ways through which you can avoid knee injuries and pain. You should maintain healthy body weight, being overweight puts more strain on your knee joints.  Always wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes. Never forget to warm up and stretch before doing exercises. If you are suffering from knee pain, it is best to refrain from high-impact exercises. Don’t resort to complete bed-rest but keep a limit on physical movement.

According to American Academy of Pain Medicine, knee pain accounts for 19.5% of all types of pain in an adult’s body. World Health Organization estimated the socio-economic impact that can occur due to knee pain, a disease that can lead to complete immobility. People of developed countries are resorting to knee transplant techniques in critical cases, which is very expensive. Hence health organizations in different nations are emphasizing on a healthy lifestyle to avoid knee problems.

 

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Complete rest will do more harm than good to your knees. Including some low-impact exercises such as swimming and cycling is important in keeping knee pain at a bay.
  • Consult the doctor/physiotherapist before starting out any physical exercise or taking up a sport.
  • The best way to combat knee pain is RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Don'ts
  • Stop exercising. Indulge in light exercises and walking instead of high-impact exercises
  • Wear uncomfortable or ill-fitting footwear. This will increase the strain on your knees.
  • Using a heating pad during the first 3 days of a knee injury. Only apply only cold packs.

 

 

 

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Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test CEA or carcinoembryonic test detects the presence of CEA antigen in your blood mainly & determines the effectiveness…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the vagus nerve and…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
angiography
Angiography Angiography is a diagnostic tool used to determine the narrowing or blockage in the arteries and veins supplying…
Ultrasound
Abdominal Ultrasound An abdominal ultrasound is used to visualize the organs inside your abdominal cavity including the liver, spleen, gall…
Bromelain: 11 reasons why you should start adding pineapple to your pizza! If you didn't love pineapples already, here are some of the top health benefits that bromelain can bring…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and high cholesterol; the…
leptospira Igm test
Leptospira-IgM Test A Leptospira-IgM test is a blood test which is carried out to detect anti-Leptospira IgM antibody. Leptospirosis is…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
Inhale oxygen, exhale worries: The top breathing exercises and how to perform them Performing the breathing exercise is like becoming mindful of how you breathe.  Here is a list of breathing…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
Rheumatoid Arthritis xray
Arthritis Profile Arthritis profile is a panel of primarily blood tests used to detect the presence of arthritis or check…
Vaginoplasty - Post-op care
Vaginoplasty Know more about vaginoplasty, the procedure, post-operative care, best options for treatment, cost, and possible risks. %%sitename%% %
Sputum test Sputum test is a commonly used diagnostic tool that is used to examine the presence of pathogens in…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
cystoscopy
Cystoscopy Cystoscopy is a procedure to check the health of the urethra and the bladder. The procedure is also…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
APL IgM Test
Antiphospholipid Antibody(APL)-IgM test The antiphospholipid antibodies are specific protein in the body directed against the phospholipids. It is used to detect…
lipoprotein A
Lipoprotein (A) Test Lipoprotein (A) test is used to measure and monitor the levels of LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) in the bloodstream in…
stain blood
Blood in your stool Know the reason for blood in your stool, toilet bowl or tissue and the important steps to take…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
Is bronchitis contagious? And how to prevent this infection? It is acute bronchitis that is contagious which means you can contract it from another person or you…
fitness routine fun
10 fantastic ways to make your fitness routine more fun! Are you too bored to exercise? Do you avoid gym cause it's too monotonous? Looking for fun and…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
cystatin C
Cystatin C Test Cystatin C is a specific single-chain protein that is found in body fluids and is a biomarker for…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
Anti-Inflammatory foods: 18 foods to a disease-free you Anti-inflammatory foods are the foods which are known to reduce the inflammation as well as the pain from…
Pelvic_ultrasound
Pelvic Ultrasound Pelvic ultrasound is a process where sound waves are used to create image of your pelvic region organs…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…

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