Knee Pain – Causes and Symptoms

Knee pain causes and symptoms
Being active is something that many people don’t appreciate until they are unable to accomplish simple tasks such as walking comfortably. While sore knees are a common complaint amongst adults, it isn’t a source of concern. However, pain in and around the knee is often an indication of a serious problem. People may experience knee pain running or while walking. Others may experience pain even when the slightest pressure is applied to the knee. Understanding the common causes of pain and how to manage it will help you find the relief you so badly need.

Common symptoms

The severity and location of the pain vary from one patient to the next. Your symptoms will largely depend on the cause of the problem. However, the most common symptoms that accompany knee pain include:
  • Weakness or instability of the joint;
  • Redness;
  • The knee may be warm to the touch;
  • Swelling around the knee;
  • Stiffness;
  • Crunching or popping noises when the joint is moved;
  • Inability to straighten the knee fully or pain when straightening the knee.
It is important to see a doctor if you exhibit any of the symptoms above. Other accompanying symptoms that you should be concerned about include fever, marked swelling, and obvious deformity.

Common causes of knee pain

Knee pain can result from various problems. The most common causes include:
  • Tendonitis
This is a common injury that is characterized by inflammation of one or more tendons in the knee structure. When the inflammation affects the patellar tendon, people experience knee pain running, kicking, or jumping. It is a common injury experienced by people who take part in sports involving jumping, running, or kicking. Many people that search for the symptom ‘pain behind the knee’ end up with a diagnosis for tendonitis.
  • Tearing of cartilage
The meniscus is the rubbery cartilage between the bones that meet at the knee joint. It acts as a shock absorber. Tearing can occur when the person twists through the knee suddenly while putting their weight on it.
  • Sprains or strains

These affect the muscles or ligaments around the knee joint. Sprains and strains may be caused by a blow to the knee. They can also be caused by sudden twisting of the knee. Sprains and strains often result in swelling, pain, and stiffness of the knee. If you’re searching for the reason you have ‘pain on the inner side of the knee’, you may have a strain or sprain.

  • Arthritis
Knee pain may be caused by various types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes gradual wearing away of the cartilage in the knee. It is a common cause of knee pain at night in middle-aged and elderly people. It is also a common cause of knee pain in overweight people as well as those with repeated injuries. Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in the knee resulting in damage to the cartilage. It can affect people of all ages.

How to relieve knee pain

There are various ways to relieve knee pain. Treatments are often used in combination for the best results. The type of treatment prescribed will depend on the cause of the knee pain.
  • Medication
Medication is often given to relieve pain. If you’re experiencing severe pain, your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication such as codeine. Pain medication, especially strong painkillers, should be considered a short-term solution for pain relief. Your doctor may prescribe painkillers for a short period while other forms of treatment are used to tackle the underlying cause of the pain.
  • Physical therapy
Physical therapy can help to relieve knee pain. This, however, depends on the cause and location of the pain. Physical therapy can help to strengthen the muscles around the knee to increase joint stability. Movement can also help to improve flexibility and increase circulation in the joint. This can help to increase the rate of healing and reduce the pain much quicker.
Physical therapy may also involve wearing knee braces, taping the knee or using other forms of support to shift pressure away from the affected knee. This support also helps to stabilize the knee and hasten to heal.
  • Injections
Medications such as corticosteroids may be injected directly into the knee. These help to reduce inflammation in patients with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Lubricants such as hyaluronic acid may also be injected into the knee to help improve the movement of the joint and reduce pain.
  • Surgery
There are various surgical options aimed at reducing pain and restoring mobility.
1. Arthroscopic surgery, a common outpatient procedure, involves the use of fibre optic cameras and long narrow tools to examine and repair the joint. Damaged cartilage is removed and the ligaments reconstructed. It involves making a few small incisions around the knee.
2. Osteotomy involves removing bone from the thigh or shin to achieve better alignment. This procedure is given to delay or avoid knee replacement surgery.
3. Partial knee replacement involves the removal of the damaged parts of the knee and replacing them with plastic or metal.
4. Total knee replacement involves replacing the damaged cartilage and bone with an artificial joint.
If you’re looking for a doctor to help you address your knee pain, contact Christopher Boone, MD for diagnosis and to learn about the treatment options available to you.

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