Knee pain – common causes!
Knee pain is a common complaint and can affect people of all ages. It can develop gradually over time or come on suddenly, it might even repeatedly just “come and go”
Knee pain could be the result of an injury, such as a torn cartilage or a ruptured ligament. It may also be down to certain medical conditions, including gout, arthritis, and infections.
Causes of knee pain
The most common causes of knee pain fall into three categories:
- Mechanical problems
Some of the most common knee injuries include:
- Knee bursitis – This is inflammation of the bursa – the small fluid filled sacs that cushion the outside of the knee joint so that the tendons and ligaments glide smoothly over the joint. This can occur from repeated pressure on the knee, such as kneeling for an extended period of time, overuse or even injury.
- Torn ligament – ACL is the anterior cruciate ligament and the MCL is the medial collateral ligament, two of the four ligaments that connect your shinbone to your thighbone. These type of injuries may cause bleeding into the knee, swelling and instability of the knee.
- Fractures – The bones of the knee, including the patella (kneecap), can be broken during falls or car accidents. People suffering from osteoarthritis can sometimes fracture a knee due to the weakening of the bones.
- Torn meniscus – The meniscus is a tough piece of cartilage that acts like a shock absorber. It can be torn on sudden twisting of the knee whilst weight bearing. Pain is usually felt on the inside or outside of the knee.
- Patella tendinitis – This causes inflammation and irritation of the knee tendons. This inflammation can happen when there is an injury to the patella tendon, it is involved in jumping, running and kicking movements.
Some of the most common mechanical problems include:
- Dislocation of the kneecap – This happens when the triangular bone that covers the front of the knee slips out of place, typically to the outside of the knee. It is often caused by a sudden blow or change in direction when the leg is planted on the ground.
- Iliotibial band syndrome – This occurs when the tough band of tissue that extends from the outside of the hip to the outside of the knee becomes incredibly tight causing it to rub against the outside of the thighbone.
- Loose body – This occurs when an injury or deterioration of the bone or cartilage causes a piece of bone or cartilage to break off and float in the joint space.
- Hip or foot pain – If you suffer from hip or foot pain this may cause you to alter the way in which you walk, this in turn can place more stress on the knee joint, causing knee pain.
Some of the most common types or arthritis affecting the knee include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis – The most crippling form of arthritis, an autoimmune condition that can affect almost any joint in the body. Although this is a chronic disease, it does vary in severity and may even come and go.
- Osteoarthritis – This is the most common form of arthritis, it is caused by wear and tear and occurs when the knee cartilage deteriorates with use and age.
- Gout – This occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joint and although gout most typically affects the big toe, it can also occur in the ankle and knee.
- Pseudogout – Often mistaken for gout and occurs when calcium containing crystals develop in the joint fluid. Typically, knees are the most common joint affected by this type of arthritis.
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