Knee pain is a common complaint that can have a variety of causes, from osteoarthritis to injury. Learn about the symptoms and potential causes of knee pain and how to get relief.
Knee pain is a common issue that affects people of all ages and can have a significant impact on daily life.
The knee is a complex joint that is made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons, and any one of these components can be the source of pain.
Understanding the causes and symptoms of knee pain can help individuals take the necessary steps to prevent or treat the condition.
Causes of knee pain can include:
- Osteoarthritis: This is a degenerative condition that affects the cartilage in the knee, causing stiffness, pain, and difficulty moving the joint. It is more common in older adults, but can also develop as a result of injury or overuse.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the knee joint, leading to pain and stiffness.
- Injury: Trauma to the knee can cause pain and swelling. This can include sprains or strains of the ligaments or tendons, as well as fractures of the bones. Injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tears, and meniscal tears are common in sports and physical activities.
- Bursitis: This is an inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between the knee joint and the tendons and muscles. Bursitis can be caused by overuse or injury.
- Gout: This is a form of arthritis that is caused by a buildup of uric acid crystals in the joint. It can cause severe pain and swelling in the knee.
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome: This is a condition characterized by pain in the front of the knee, usually as a result of overuse or injury.
- Tendinitis: This is an inflammation of the tendons that attach to the knee, causing pain and stiffness.
- Baker’s cyst: This is a fluid-filled cyst that can develop behind the knee, causing pain and swelling.
Symptoms of knee pain can include:
- Pain or discomfort in the knee joint
- Stiffness or difficulty moving the joint
- Swelling or inflammation in the knee
- Redness or warmth in the knee
- Weakness or instability in the knee
- A popping or snapping sound when the knee is moved
- Pain that worsens with activity or climbing stairs
- Pain that improves with rest
To diagnose the cause of knee pain, a healthcare provider will typically take a medical history and perform a physical examination.
They may also order imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI to get a better look at the joint. Treatment options will depend on the underlying cause of the pain but may include physical therapy, medications, or surgery.
Preventing knee pain can involve taking steps to maintain a healthy weight, avoiding overuse or repetitive motions, and warming up before physical activity. It is also important to use proper technique and equipment when engaging in sports or other physical activities.