It is hard dealing with any type of pain. Knee pain can have adverse effects since it can limit your ability to bend or move around like you used to. It causes a lot of discomforts. You will not be even in a position to do what seemed to look like small chores because they will seem like heavy-duty tasks as a result of the discomfort. Research shows that approximately 30 percent of people who visit doctors every year usually have knee pain.
- 1 Knee Pain Causes
- 1.1 ACL Injury
- 1.2 PCL Injury
- 1.3 MCL Injury
- 1.4 LCL Injury
- 1.5 Torn Meniscus
- 1.6 Osgood-Schlatter Disease
- 1.7 Adolescent Anterior Knee Pain
Knee Pain Causes
Knee injuries cause knee pain, especially for athletes. There are four major ligaments of the knee:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL).
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL).
Also, the meniscus is commonly injured, resulting in knee pain. Other causes of knee pain include Osgood-Schlatter Disease and Adolescent Anterior Knee Pain.
The ACL extends from the front of the tibia and inserts on the back of the femur. This structure prevents excessive posterior movement of the femur on the tibia. The ACL is often torn when an athlete changes direction rapidly, slows down from running or lands wrong from a jump.
These types of injuries are common for athletes who ski, play basketball, or play football. The pain associated with a torn ACL is rated as moderate to severe and is typically described as sharp at first, and then throbbing or achy as the knee begins to swell. Most people report increased pain with bending or straightening of the knee.
PCL injuries are much less common compared to ACL injuries. The PCL is often injured when an athlete receives a blow to the front of the lower leg, just below the knee, or makes a simple misstep on the playing field. The PCL prevents the tibia from sliding backward and works with the ACL to prevent pivoting of the knee. The symptoms of a PCL tear include knee pain, decreased motion, and swelling.
Most injuries to the MCL are the result of a direct blow to the outside of the knee. Athletes who play soccer or football are at increased risk for this type of injury. The MCL spans the distance from the top of the tibia to the end of the femur on the inside of the knee. This structure prevents widening of the inside of the joint. A torn MCL causes swelling over the ligament, bruising, and feeling that the knee will give out or buckle.
The LCL connects the end of the femur to the top of the fibula (the smaller shin bone). It is located on the outer aspect of the knee. The LCL helps to prevent unnecessary side-to-side movement of the knee joint. The LCL is usually torn from traumatic falls, motor vehicle accidents, or during sporting activities. Symptoms of a torn LCL depend on the severity of the tear and include pain, swelling, difficulty bending the knee, and instability of the joint.
The meniscus is the rubbery, tough cartilage that sits between the femur and the tibia. This structure works as a shock absorber. Athletes are at risk for tears in this cartilage with cutting, pivoting, twisting, decelerating, or being tackled.
There are two menisci of the knee and they lie between the femur and tibia, one on the inside and one on the outside of the joint. The symptoms of a meniscus tear include knee pain, swelling, popping sound within the knee, and limited motion of the joint.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is an overuse injury common among growing adolescents. This syndrome is caused by inflammation of the tendon below the patella. Athletes who participate in gymnastics, basketball, running and soccer are at increased risk for this disease. The symptoms of Osgood-Schlatter disease include swelling, knee pain, and tenderness below the knee cap.
Adolescent Anterior Knee Pain
Young, active adolescents often complain of pain in the front and center region of the knee. This is called Adolescent Anterior Knee Pain, and it is not associated with any injury or damage to the knee structures. The cause of this syndrome is not clear, but experts believe that the complex anatomy of the knee joint contributes to the problem.
The knee is extremely sensitive to problems of alignment and overuse. For teens, a number of factors are thought to be involved. These include poor flexibility, imbalance of the thigh muscles, problems with alignment, improper sports training techniques, improper use of equipment, and overdoing sports activities.
Symptoms of Adolescent Anterior Knee Pain include pain that begins gradually and is worse at night, popping sounds of the knee when climbing stairs or walking after prolonged sitting, pain during activities that repeatedly bend the knee, pain that causes the knee to buckle, and pain related to change in activity level or playing surface.
When to Seek Treatment In Knee Pain
Seek medical attention immediately if you:
- Have severe knee pain.
- Begin limping.
- Notice swelling at the site of injury.
- Hear a popping or clicking noise.
- Feel that your knee is going to give out.
- Cannot move your knee.
- Cannot bear weight on your knee.
- Have tenderness along any aspect of the knee or tibia.
- Have pain with climbing stairs, walking, or running.
The people that are mostly affected by knee pain are athletes, but there are some common individuals who are severely affected by this condition too. One of the main causes of this pain is sudden and jerky movements. Athletes, especially, are likely to have sudden movements that may contribute to the development of pain in the knee area. Since the knee is a joint, it is very vulnerable to pain because sudden movements may result in a severe impact that may cause severe pain.
Another common cause of knee pain is injury. Things such as awkward landings falls, trips, as well as accidents, can result in knee damage. Athletes are very vulnerable to knee injuries since they are always proactive. Basketball players, for instance, are very prone to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which happens when the ligaments that are located in the shinbone and thighbone are damaged. People who carry out repetitive, strenuous activities such as jumping jacks without resting also stand a high chance of getting strains in their knees.
Tendon inflammation is another factor that can cause severe knee pain. When the tendons become overused, they become susceptible to infections that may cause a lot of pain in the knee area. Osteoarthritis, which is a degenerative condition that is commonly experienced by people who are 50 years of age and above, is also a major cause of knee pain. It is a natural disorder and it usually happens as a result of deterioration of the cartilage due to constant use.
The knee is a hinge, and therefore it supports the weight of the body with a motion that is more restricted compared to other joints. It needs to be stable and it should be able to extend fully to straighten the leg. If it has a limited extension that the muscles require in order to support the other parts of the body, you will experience pain around the knee area. There will also be too much stress on the ligaments if the knee wobbles from side to side and as a result, it will cause a lot of strain and pain in the knee area.
To prevent knee pain, you will need to stop engaging in activities that aggravate pain whether it is immediately or after some time. If the pain is a result of an injury you got recently, using an elastic bandage may help reduce that pain. Using a cane to support you when you are walking may also help reduce the pain. You can either use the cane on the opposite side of the knee or in the hand that is on the side of the painful knee.
Exercises will also help reduce knee pain. You should however start the exercises slowly and perform them a number of times a day if you can manage to do that. One of the best exercises that you can do if you are experiencing pain at the top of the knee is swimming. It is an exercise that does not involve weight-bearing and therefore it will not cause strain in the knee area. When you go swimming, you will need to pay close attention to straightening as well as the flexing of the leg.
When you have knee pain, the way you sit can cause problems, so you will need to sit in a favorable way. Be wary of sitting in a position that may put your knees in a much-flexed position. If you sit for quite long, make sure that the affected leg is straightened in order to disengage the kneecap from its grove and relieve the pressure.
Knee Pain Relief for Severe Knee Injuries
There are many types of injuries that cause severe knee pain. If you are an athlete, you are most likely familiar with knee pain resulting from torn ligaments, cartilage, or muscles. The more active you are, the more likely you are to experience knee pain from a sports-related injury. For a torn ligament, meniscal injury, or a completely ruptured tendon, doctors will usually recommend surgery in order to receive permanent knee pain relief.
Knee Pain Relief for Knee Osteoarthritis
To receive knee pain relief from knee osteoarthritis (degeneration of the cartilage), exercise is necessary. Doctors will prescribe certain exercises and stretches that can greatly increase the flexibility of the muscles that support the knee. These exercises will reduce stress on the sensitive knee joint. For instant knee pain relief, some people may take over-the-counter medication, such as Advil or Tylenol, to help with osteoarthritis soreness.
Pain Relief for Overuse Knee Injuries
Sometimes it’s the simplest things that can cause damage. Something as simple as overuse of the knees can cause people to seek knee pain relief. Muscle strains and tendonitis can develop as people grow older. Inflammation occurs, therefore leading to pain. Stains and tears must be treated with care and allowed to heal over time. Some people use ice or heating pads for knee pain relief. Others take over-the-counter medications.
Knee Pain and Inflammation
In treating many types of knee pain, inflammation is the first thing you must bring under control. When you have an injury, substances that cause inflammation invade your knee, causing further injury, which leads to further inflammation, and etc. leading to a continuation of your knee pain. So, the substances that cause inflammation must be brought under control to limit further injury to the tissue.
Common Care techniques To Control Inflammation:
- Knee padding.
- 2. Rest the knee.
- Ice on the knee 3X a day for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Knee brace or wrap when you are on your feet.
- Prop the knee up higher than your waist whenever you can.
- Use Ibuprofen as an anti-inflammatory agent. NO aspirin.
- Do all the above. If still pain after three days…see your doctor.
So, is your knee pain a slight annoyance or severe problem? Well, it all depends on what is causing your pain. If you feel a small amount of knee pain resulting from a minor injury, you may be able to use self-help methods to find knee pain relief. However, if you experience a large amount of unbearable pain, or a nagging discomfort exists for a few days, speak with your doctor to determine the correct knee pain relief plan for you.
Treatment of knee pain resulting from ligament injuries depends on the severity of the injury. Initial treatment usually involves the application off ice packs to the knee, rest, and elevation of the knee. Immobilization may involve the use of splints or braces for more serious injuries. Severe injuries of the ligaments may require open surgery to repair the damage.
The pressure between the two large bones that make the knee joint (the thigh bone and the shin bone) may result in friction. Cartilaginous tissue between these two bones disperses the pressure and friction between the two bones.
This tissue is known as the meniscus. Tearing of the meniscus will result in Knee pain. The tearing results from sharp shearing forces that are caused by the rotation of the knee joint. These are commonly felt in rapid and sharp movements of the knee which are common in sports requiring fast body reactions.
Knee pain as a result of meniscus tears is more common with aging as a normal part of degeneration. There can be more than one tear. The pain is manifested as a popping sensation that becomes worse when carrying out activities requiring rotation of the knee.
The patient may experience locking or instability in the knee joint. Other common causes of knee pain include fractures to the knee joint and straining of the knee joint tendons resulting in inflammation of the knee otherwise known as tendinitis.