Knee Pain

What causes knee pain?

Knee pain is caused by wear and tear, faulty alignment, and injury to deep structures. Painful problems in the knee can come from:

  • Tendinitis
  • Arthritis
  • Meniscus Tears
  • Ligament Sprains

Because the knee is used for daily functions like walking, balance, standing, and climbing stairs, knee pain can be debilitating.

Knee Tendinitis

Similar to other joints, tendinitis is a common source of a hurting knee. This can happen at the big tendon that attached to the patella called the patella tendon which is sometimes referred to as jumpers knee. Another location tendinitis that is typically seen in the knee is on the outside. This place is part of the iliotibial band and seen in runners. Hence, it’s often referred to as runner’s knee or iliotibial band syndrome.

Knee Arthritis

The knee joint is organized with 3 compartments where the bony surfaces contact during weight bearing. Wear and tear in the knee joint can happen under the knee cap, the inside knee and the outside knee. Over time, arthritis can set into the joint. If a knee was injured before, it’s more likely to develop arthritis in the future. A person will know they have really bad arthritis in the knee when there is pain, stiffness and a sound like crunching or grinding coming from the knee during movement.

Meniscus Tears

There is a shock absorber built into the knee to provide cushion and support called the meniscus. It actually creates a cup onto of the shin bone when the two knobby ends of the thigh bone makes contact. Even though the knee appears to act like a hinge joint, it actually pivots over multiple points as it bends and straightens. There is also a subtle twisting movement that naturally occurs during use. And twisting is one of the ways the meniscus can strained or torn. Due to the intricacies of the meniscus, tears can happen in different places. Turning and pivoting without picking up the foot can result in a pop, pain, and swelling. A classic sign of a meniscus tear is clicking in the knee during movement or a sense of the knee locking into place.

Ligament Sprains

The knee has 4 major ligaments with the most known being the ACL or anterior cruciate ligament. Like ropes, the ligaments hold the knee bones in place. If the knee bends sideways or rotates too much, the ligaments will stretch beyond their limit that causes breakdown. When the ligament is sprained, there will be looseness that the muscles will need to make up for with strengthening. If the ligament breaks completely then it’s considered torn and it may need to be surgically repaired.

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