Knee pain can be debilitating and caused by various reasons. Here is a discussion about the various causes and their treatment.
One of the parts of the body that is prone to injury is the knee. A complex joint, we use our knees for most activities like sitting down, standing up, walking, running, and so on. Being one of the main weight-bearing joints, it bends, straightens, rotates and twists, all of which make it susceptible to overuse or acute knee injuries, resulting in knee pain.
Generally speaking, knee pain can be categorized as either acute, or immediate, or chronic knee pain that is long-term. Chronic knee pain can occur due to inflammation, e.g., arthritis, or from injuries, and sometimes because of infection.
Knee Pain Caused by Acute Injuries
Acute injuries can affect the ligaments, tendons, and bursae that surround the knee joint. Or knee pain can also be caused by injury to the meniscus, bones and cartilage that make up the knee joint. Acute knee injuries are usually caused by falling or twisting the joint. Sports that require fast turning, abrupt stopping, jumping and running like baseball, tennis, basketball, hockey, or soccer increase the chances of acute injury to the knee, resulting in knee pain.
Fracture of the knee can also be categorized as an acute knee injury, which can affect any of the bones that make up the knee joint. Fractures in the knee joint is usually serious and may require surgical intervention in order to repair it along with the joint being immobilized by a cast or other forms of support.
As for injuries of the ligaments, they are usually treated at first by immobilizing the affected knee and using ice packs, along with elevation and rest. If the injuries are severe, however, open surgery or arthroscopic surgery may be required to alleviate the knee pain. Tears of the meniscus usually need to be repaired by arthroscopic surgery.
Knee Pain Caused by Overload or Overuse Injuries
Knee pain is also caused by overload or over use injuries of the knees such as bursitis, tendonitis, and muscle strain, which can develop slowly over weeks or days. Initially, the knee pain is usually sporadic and mild, which becomes worse with time. When stress is caused on tendons and muscles, it results in tiny tears in them. The pain is caused by the resultant inflammation, which is part of the process of healing. These tears in the muscles and tendons must be given time to heal before performing similar activity that caused them. Overuse knee injuries should be treated promptly in order to prevent the knee pain becoming chronic.
The treatment for tendonitis involves immobilizing the knee with the help of a knee brace, ice packs, anti-inflammatory medications, and rest. Later therapeutic exercises can help in rehabilitating the tissues around and in the affected tendon. If a tendon in the knee is ruptured, however, it often requires surgery to repair it.
The treatment of bursitis in the knee is also ice packs, along with anti-inflammatory drugs and immobilization of the knee joint. Corticosteroid injections may also be given at the location, along with physical therapy to strengthen the muscles of the front area of the thigh.
Knee Pain Caused by Runners Knee
Also referred to as anterior knee pain or patellofemoral pain, runners knee is one of the most common causes of knee pain that affects young people. It is felt behind the patella, or the kneecap, and is a diffuse kind of pain. The pain usually worsens after running, jumping, climbing stairs, or after sitting for a period of time. Knee pain caused by runners knee is mainly treated by appropriate physical therapy exercises advised by a physical therapist or doctor. High-impact activity should be avoided in case you are suffering from runners knee.
Knee Pain Caused by Arthritis
Knee pain is also caused by various types of arthritis affecting the knee joint, such as osteoarthritis, which is non-inflammatory, wherein the cartilage of the knee degenerates, or the inflammatory kinds of arthritis like gout, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and so on. The treatment of these conditions has to be done according to the individual requirement of each.
|By Rita Putatunda
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