All of us experience knee pain at some point in our lifetime. It can be due to injury, overuse or just age. Knowing the right cause of knee pain can help you seek the correct treatment, relieve symptoms and regain movement.
Let us look at some of the most common causes of knee pain:
Knee sprain: If you suddenly experience pain in the knee while doing some physical activity, then you have probably just sprained your knee. This means that ligaments in the knee joint have been overly stretched but not damaged. Mild, moderate and severe sprains require a different kind of management accordingly.
Bursitis: Bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that is present under your skin above the joint. It helps in preventing friction when the bones move. Fall, injury, overuse, repeated bending or kneeling can irritate the bursa on top of your knee cap. It leads to inflammation of the bursa and causes pain and swelling. This condition is also called Prepatellar bursitis or “Preacher’s knee.”
Dislocated kneecap: In this condition, the kneecap slides out of position and causes pain and swelling. It is also called “Patellar dislocation.”
Meniscal tear: Meniscus is a piece of cartilage that provides a cushion between your thighbone and shinbone. There are two menisci in each joint. They can get torn or ripped during activities that put pressure or rotate the joint. A sudden turn, heavy lifting, or deep squatting can cause Meniscal tear. It leads to a sudden popping sound followed by pain, swelling, reduced movement, and knee locking.
IT (iliotibial) band syndrome: Iliotibial band is a thick band of tissue that runs from your hip to the outer part of the knee. This band gets inflamed due to repetitive movements and overuse injury. It causes pain on the side of the knee and hip. It is most commonly seen among runners, cyclists, and hikers.
ACL tear: ACL or Anterior cruciate ligament is a band of tissue that joins the bones within your knee. It helps in keeping the knee stable. A tear or sprain of this ligament leads to an ACL injury. This happens most commonly during sports that involve sudden movements, jumping and landing such as basketball, soccer, football, gymnastics, tennis, and skiing. Symptoms can include severe pain, swelling, instability and a loud “pop” sound in the knee.
Patellar tendonitis: When the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone gets inflamed, it is called Patellar Tendonitis. It is also called “jumper’s knee” because it is caused by repetitive jumping, like in basketball or volleyball. It can cause severe pain with swelling and redness.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome: This condition is caused by muscle imbalance, tightness and alignment problems in the leg. It leads to pain and occasional “buckling” which means your knee suddenly can't bear your body weight.
Osteoarthritis: It is the most common cause of knee pain after the age of 50 years. It develops due to “wear and tear” of the cartilage in the knee. As the cartilage breaks down, pain develops, often progressing from sharp pain that worsens with movement to constant dull pain.
Osgood-Schlatter Disease: It is a condition commonly seen in children between the ages of 9 and 14. This is a period when bones and other parts of the knee are still growing and changing. It can cause a painful swelling below the knee where a tendon from the kneecap joins the shin. The pain usually improves with rest.
If you are experiencing pain in the Boise, Idaho region regarding knee pain, contact Boise's top orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Michael Gustavel.