In the USA, knee pain is extremely common. In fact, it is responsible for approximately 1/3 of all doctor’s visits for bone and muscle pain. This is a common affliction in Canada as well. Knee pain is a particularly big problem for athletes and more than half of all athletes suffer from it each year.
Some of the main issues why people suffer from knee pain include: runner’s knee, torn and swollen ligaments and cartilage or meniscus tears. The knee is an extremely complex joint and there are many things that can go wrong.
Other conditions that generate knee pain include:
Bone Chips At times, a knee injury can break cause tiny fragments from the cartilage or the bone to break off. These minute pieces can actually get it stuck in the joint and this can cause it to freeze up. As well, it is common to experience swelling and pain when this occurs.
Bursitis The bursa is a sac of fluid that protects and cushions your joints. There is a variety of bursa located in different parts of your knee. Repeated bending, a fall or overuse can cause the bursa to become irritated. When this happens, swelling and pain can happen. There are two kinds of bursitis known as “preacher’s knee” and “housemaid’s knee,” which are aptly named due to kneeling. A “Baker’s cyst” is when one of the bursa on the back of the knee becomes swollen. This can arise from conditions such as arthritis, as well as from injuries.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome The Iliotibial band is a piece of tough tissue that runs down from your hip to your shin. If it becomes irritated by problems such as overuse, it can cause pain on the outer side of your knee and cause pain and discomfort.
Medial Plica Syndrome The plica refers to a fold of tissue located in the joint of the knee. When it becomes irritated from being overused, knee pain and swelling can occur.
Osgood-Schlatter Disease Osgood-Schlatter Disease is characterized by a bump under the knee that is painful. This occurs where a tendon from the kneecap connects to the shin. It is typically caused by irritation of the tendon due to overuse. The pain may come and go over time. It is particularly common in teenage girls and boys around the ages of 13 and 14 years old.
Osteoarthritis This medical condition is a frequent cause of knee pain in non-athletes and athletes alike who are over the age of 60 years.
Partially Dislocated Kneecap or Patellar Subluxation In this particular condition, the kneecap actually slides out of its position. This can lead to swelling and pain. Many times it is the result of physical defect in your legs, as opposed to an injury. This condition is especially common in teenage girls.
Tendonitis or swelling of the tendons. Our tendons are strong and tough bands of tissue that connect your muscles and your bones. Overuse can cause the tendons to become sore and inflamed. “Jumper’s Knee” is one kind of knee tendonitis. If an old knee injury is not treated correctly, it may additionally cause constant or occasional knee pain.
What Does a Knee Injury Feel Like?
Obviously, depending on the individual and their specific knee injury, the symptoms can vary greatly. Certain things to look for include: swelling and pain, especially when straightening or bending the knee.
It is important if you are experiencing any of these symptoms that you visit your doctor. Together, you can isolate the cause and work out treatment options. In order to diagnose what is causing your knee pain, your doctor will need to conduct a thorough exam. For example, you may need to undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRIs, X-rays or an MR Arthrogram. This is a special kind of MRI in which some dye is injected into the knee in order to showcase the joint in more detail.