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.

 

Facts

  • Amongst the 27 million people affected by osteoarthritis, a majority experience intense knee pains.
  • Roughly 130,000 knee replacement surgeries are performed every year in the USA. Individuals undergoing this surgery tend to show healthy knee movements for at least 20 years.

Facts

  • Knee pain caused by post-traumatic arthritis can render swollen and immovable knees. Such a pain is described by patients as being “locking” in nature.
  • Knee replacement surgeries have increased by 120% in the past decade.

Facts

  • Around 6.6 million Americans suffered knee injuries between the years 1999-2008.
  • In the USA, 1 out of every 5 cases of chronic pain is localized in the knee.

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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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Vagus nerve: 7 health benefits of stimulating the “gut-brain” connection As a matter of fact, there are two vagus nerves namely the left and the right but is…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Vitamin-D-blood-test
25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
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…
Strep throat pain
Anti-Streptolysin-O Test The ASO or Anti-Streptolysin-O is a blood test designed to check for the presence of streptococcus bacterial infection…
Unbelievable health benefits of gooseberries (and a few tasty recipes) Gooseberries are antioxidant-rich tasty fruits that can be easily added in daily diet to improve overall health and…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Valerian Root: The best way to achieve tranquil sleep every night Valerian root is probably one of the oldest and safest way to cure your insomnia. Find out how…
Did you know drinking alkaline water could be the healthier choice for you? Ever wondered how safe is your drinking water in terms of pH? Recent studies have revealed that Alkaline…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
free psa test
Free PSA Test The free PSA test is used to detect the level or percentage of free PSA in the body…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
DHEA wrinkles
DHEA: Now get unbelievable age defiance with this wonder hormone! DHEA is known popularly as the age-defying hormone. This supplement is widely used to slow down aging and…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
asab antisperm antibody test
Antisperm Antibody Test The ASAB or anti-sperm antibody test is a blood/semen test that analyzes the level of sperm-killing antibody protein…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
AHBC Igm
Anti-Hepatitis B Core Antigen (AHBc) IgM Anti-hepatitis B core antigen (AHBC) IgM is an investigative procedure to detect the presence of IgM antibodies in…
AUTOIMMUNE HEPATITIS liver
Hepatitis Profile A hepatitis profile or a hepatitis panel is a blood test that checks for markers of hepatitis infection…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
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…