Knee pain is
a frequent ailment that can be experienced by people
of all ages. This type of body pain may take place
immediately after an injury, or it may appear as an extension of a chronic
medical condition. The amount of discomfort people feel may depend on the cause
of the pain, area of the knee affected, or their
physical condition prior to the pain.
pain occurs in older individuals, it may be a symptom or side effect of another health
issue that may directly or indirectly involve the joints and bones. This isn’t always the case. In
some older people, the pain can be caused by weakened
bone structure that occurs during the aging process.
Causes Knee Pain?
A number of
issues that affect the proper functioning of one or both knees may cause pain.
Injury is the most common cause, but other conditions
such as arthritis may lead to joint deterioration and discomfort.
of injuries often occur when the knee receives blunt
trauma or is twisted in the wrong direction. Sprains and strains most often
arise during contact sports but may occur during any abrupt or sudden movement.
thin layers of cartilage located between the tibia and femur. Resembling a
crescent or disc, this connective tissue absorbs most of the stress placed on
the lower extremities, but may tear if too much stress is placed on the knees. Menisci also stabilize the knees by
preventing abnormal movements that may lead to injury. Tearing of the menisci
may interfere with their proper functioning.
an inflammation that produces redness, tenderness to the touch, and intense
pain in the tendons of the knees or any area of the body that have tendons.
Activities that require repetitive movements may increase the risk of
tendinitis. Other factors for inflamed tendons are
poor preparation for exercise and medical conditions such as arthritis.
OA is a
common form of arthritis that may appear in one or more joint bones in the body. It may affect men, women, and
children. Women over the age of 55 are at the highest risk for OA. The
condition induces pain from the loss of cartilage, which causes the bones to
rub together and produce intense discomfort. It may also form from joint malformations present at birth, injuries caused in
active sports, or work conditions that require repetitive movements.
common type of arthritis in the knees, develops when
calcium pyrophosphate crystals — a type of salt — form in the
knees’ fluids. It is often confused with gout, which is
another condition in which
uric acid crystals are found in cells in the knee. It produces
painful episodes of swelling and inflammation in the
knees as well as other joints.
bursae may cause knee pain in some people. Bursae are small pockets of fluid
that lubricate the tendons of the hips, shoulders,
and knees in order for them to move freely along joints.
is a general term used to describe the breakdown or softening of the cartilage found in the body. Chondromalacia of the patella affects
only the kneecaps. Chondromalacia of the patella is
caused by abnormal wear, often from abnormal tracking of the kneecap as the knee straightens or bends. It often affects females more than males, but may cause bouts of pain for anyone who is very active.
High Body Weight
are overweight may experience knee pain as they walk or stand. When body weight
exceeds normal limits, it may place stress on the joints. The stress may
increase the loss of joint tissue as the ends of the
tibia and femur rub together and produce friction. This is an
increasing cause of pain as the weight and age of the population increases.
Who Is at Risk for Knee Pain?
with bone or joint conditions may experience pain in
the knees. Women who are over 65 years old may be at a higher risk than those
who are younger. Young adults and teenagers may also experience knee pain if
they participate in sports or activities that require jumping, running, or
similar types of active movements that produce
stressful situations on the body.
their teens or preteens may experience pain from active play. The pain is more
frequent in children who jump, run, or participate in activities that require
Are the Symptoms of Knee Pain?
of knee pain may be mild to severe, depending on the complexity of the condition or injury.
Common signs and symptoms:
- stiffness or
the inability to bend or straighten the knee(s)
- skin feels
warm to the touch
- an audible
popping, clicking, or some
other abnormal sound when moving the knee(s)
Serious signs and symptoms:
accompanied with noticeable swelling, redness, and fever
- inability to
- falling down
while attempting to stand
numbness in the affected leg
- visible signs
of injury, such as an abnormal appearance or malformation
How Is Knee Pain Diagnosed?
Your doctor may order specific testing or diagnostic methods to locate
the cause of pain.
- X-rays of the knees to find
possible injuries, conditions, and malformations. This type of diagnostic
testing uses electromagnetic radiation to see into the body and produce images.
- CT scanning takes images
of the inside of the body at different positions and
angles. CT scans may assist with diagnosing problems within joints, bones, and
- Ultrasound technology produce images in real time
with the use of high-tech sound waves. This is a
technique used for diagnostic purposes.
- MRI creates 3-D images of the body. MRI takes a look
inside the knee and allows doctors to examine its anatomy.
- Testing of the joint
fluid is often used for
diagnostic purposes. A
procedure called arthrocentesis is
used to examine the fluid taken from the joint.
How Is Knee Pain Treated?
treatment includes medications for relieving pain or treating conditions
already present. Physical therapy may be ordered for sports-related
injuries. Therapy retrains the body to function normally after an injury.
may need injections that contain corticosteroid to improve the symptoms of
arthritis. Another type of injection, containing hyaluronic acid, a substance naturally found in the body, is used to
stimulate the body’s production of normal joint fluid.
Surgery is an option used for people with
severe knee damage that cannot be repaired or rehabilitated. It may
include partial or
complete knee replacement.
Surgery isn’t often recommended unless knee
pain is truly severe and unmanageable. This is due
to the complications that may occur after the surgical procedure. Some surgical
sites may become infected, or a small number of people may experience increased
pain until the area completely heals. Age and patient
condition may influence these possible complications.
Can Knee Pain Be Prevented?
diet may help keep the weight down and prevent placing
abnormal stress on the joints. Warming up the body before lifting weights, running, or doing any other
activity that stresses the body may prevent sprains. Resting after strenuous
exercises may also help prevent pain in the knees. For people with medical conditions that cause complications
in the joints, performing low-impact exercises is