Your knee is one of the largest joints in the body. It is made up of bones, ligaments, cartilage and tendons. They all combine to provide movement.
Knee joints are the daily used parts, so they are vulnerable to certain conditions resulting in Knee pain. The pain in your knee joint is common and affects people of all ages. The pain might be caused due to injuries, damaged knee parts and medical conditions like arthritis and infections can also cause mild to severe knee pain.
Most of the time, minor knee pain can resolve by taking some self-care measures. In severe cases, you may require surgical repair. Increasing age tends to increase knee pain more commonly. You’re at risk of knee pain if your BMI level is high.
Causes of knee pain
Knee pain is caused due to knee injuries, mechanical problems, and medical problems mentioned below.
Injuries that cause knee pain
An injury to your knee can damage the ligaments, muscles or fluid-filled sacs surrounding your knee joint, including the bones and cartilage that forms the knee joint. Here the common knee injuries that result in knee pain:
ACL injury – it is a result of a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that connects your shinbone to the thigh bone. These injuries are commonly seen in people who play contact sports like basketball, football, or any other sports which need sudden direction changes.
Fractures – a fracture is a damage to your knee bones, including the kneecap, which mostly happens during motor vehicle accidents or falls. People who suffer from weak bones due to osteoporosis can fracture their knee just by stepping wrong hardly.
Torn meniscus – The meniscus is tough cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the bones in your knee. It might be torn if you twist your knee suddenly while bearing weight.
Knee bursitis – Knee injuries lead to inflammation of bursae(small fluid sacs) that cushion your outside knee joint. It allows the tendons and ligaments to glide smoothly over the joint.
Patellar tendinitis: It is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation in the thick, fibrous tissues called tendons that attach muscles to the bones. People who are involved in jumping sports, runners, skiers, cyclists etc., tend to develop inflammation in one more patellar tendon.
The above-mentioned knee injuries are the most common causes of knee joint pain.
Mechanical problems that cause knee pain
Here are some mechanical problems that can lead to knee pain:
Loose body: Either due to injury or degenerative bone condition can break a piece of bone or cartilage and float between the joint space. This may create problems when the loose body interferes with the movement of the knee joint.
Iliotibial band syndrome: The condition occurs due to overuse or injury of the connective tissues located on your outer thigh and knee. Long-distance runners and cyclists are vulnerable to iliotibial band syndrome.
Dislocated kneecap: If the patella(triangular bone) located in the front of your knee shifts out of place, outside of your knee, it is called dislocated kneecap. It causes severe knee pain.
Hip or foot pain: When you suffer from hip or foot pain, you might change your walking style to relieve pain. But this modified movement puts more stress on your knee joint that can cause knee pain.
Arthritis that cause knee pain
More than 100 arthritis types exist in this world. The types of arthritis that affect your knee include:
- Osteoarthritis – It is also called degenerative arthritis because it occurs when the cartilage in the knees deteriorates. It is a wear-and-tear disease caused due to overuse and increasing age.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – It is a severe form of arthritis. It is an autoimmune disorder and can affect any joint in your body, including the knee joints.
- Gout – A type of arthritis caused due to the build-up of uric acid crystals in your joint.
- Pseudogout – Often, people think of it as gout, but pseudogout is different, and it is caused due to the development of calcium-containing crystals in the joint fluid. Knee joints are more likely to be affected by pseudogout.
- Septic arthritis – it is also called joint infection or infectious arthritis caused due to the invasion of infectious agents into the joint.
Risk factors that increase knee pain
A number of factors increase your risk of knee problems and eventually cause knee pain includes:
- Excess weight – overweight or obesity can increase the stress on your knee joints. It also puts you at risk of osteoarthritis.
- Lack of flexibility or strength in muscles – Lack of strength and flexibility in muscles makes you more vulnerable to injuries.
- Certain sports or occupations – people who play sports like basketball, volleyball, football increases the risk of a knee injury.
- Previous knee injuries also put you at risk of knee pain.
- Medical conditions like osteoporosis also lead to knee pain in many ways.
Not all knee joint pain conditions are severe. Some can be treated with simple treatment, while some lead to increasing pain and damage of knee joints if left untreated. And even if you have a minor knee injury, then you are more likely to suffer from knee pain in future. So don’t neglect your knee injuries. Contact Dr. Vasudeva Juvvadi, one of the best orthopaedic surgeons in Hyderabad. He has more than 12 years of experience in treating knee pain and various other orthopaedic conditions.