The knee joint is a complex structure that withstands significant forces during daily activities, and various factors can contribute to knee pain. As a physiotherapist, I frequently encounter patients who seek assistance for knee pain. Understanding the common causes of knee pain is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. In this article, we will explore some of the most frequent causes of knee pain.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of cartilage in the knee joint. It is a common cause of knee pain, especially in older adults. Osteoarthritis typically presents as pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion in the knee.
- Ligament Injuries: Ligament injuries, such as an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear or a medial collateral ligament (MCL) sprain, can cause significant knee pain. These injuries often occur during sports or activities involving sudden changes in direction or direct trauma to the knee. Ligament injuries are commonly accompanied by swelling, instability, and difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg.
- Meniscus Tears: The menisci are C-shaped cartilage structures that act as shock absorbers in the knee joint. A meniscus tear can occur due to sudden twisting or rotational movements of the knee, often seen in sports or activities with pivoting motions. Meniscus tears can cause localized knee pain, swelling, catching or locking sensations, and difficulty with range of motion.
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as runner’s knee, is characterized by pain around or behind the kneecap. It commonly occurs due to imbalances in muscle strength, poor tracking of the kneecap, overuse, or abnormal biomechanics. Patellofemoral pain syndrome is often aggravated by activities that involve bending the knee, such as running, squatting, or climbing stairs.
- Tendinitis: Tendinitis refers to inflammation of a tendon, and it can affect various tendons around the knee, including the patellar tendon (patellar tendinitis) or the hamstring tendons (hamstring tendinitis). Tendinitis typically occurs due to overuse, repetitive strain, or improper training techniques. It causes localised pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected tendon.
- Bursitis: Bursitis involves the inflammation of a bursa, which is a small fluid-filled sac that cushions the knee joint. Knee bursitis can develop due to prolonged kneeling, direct trauma, or underlying conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. It often presents as pain, swelling, and warmth over the affected bursa.
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when the iliotibial band, a thick band of tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh, becomes inflamed and irritated. This condition is common in runners and can cause knee pain on the outer side of the knee joint.
It is important to note that this article provides a general overview of common causes of knee pain and should not substitute a proper medical evaluation. If you are experiencing knee pain, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a physio or orthopedic specialist, for a comprehensive assessment and accurate diagnosis.
Treatment for knee pain will depend on the underlying cause and may involve a combination of physiotherapy, exercises, pain management strategies, and lifestyle modifications. The goal is to alleviate pain, improve knee function, and enhance overall quality of life.
Note: This article was written with the help of AI technology and therefore may include incorrect information and discrepancies.