Knee pain is the most common complaint among adults. The pain is most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities that include walking, standing, and lifting. People who play sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting are also more likely to experience pain in the knee,
Many knee problems result from the aging process and continual wear and stress on the knee joint (such as arthritis). Other knee problems result from an injury or a sudden movement that strains the knee.
What are the common causes of knee pain?
Sprained or strained knee ligaments – Sprained, or strained knee ligament is caused by a sudden twist of the knee or by a blow to the knee. The main symptoms include swelling, pain, and difficulty in walking.
Torn Cartilage: Any trauma to the knee can tear the menisci. The common causes of cartilage tears include bending the knee too far, climbing stairs or hills, playing a sport like a soccer or football, walking on uneven surfaces, etc. Cartilage tears can happen with sprains too. The treatment may involve wearing a brace while doing any activity to protect the knee from further injury. Sometimes surgery may be advised to repair the tear.
Tendonitis: Overusing the tendon during certain activities such as jumping, running, or cycling may result in inflammation of the tendons. Tendonitis of the patellar tendon is named jumper’s knee. This happens while playing sports such as basketball, where the force of hitting the ground after jumping strains the tendon.
Arthritis – One of the most common types of arthritis that affects the knee is Osteoarthritis. In Osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the joint wears away gradually. It usually affects older and middle-aged people. Osteoarthritis is mainly caused by excess stress on the joints such as having a repeated injury or being overweight.
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are very much similar to other types of arthritis in the knee, and they include knee pain, stiffness, knee swelling, and difficulty in bending the knee fully.
What are the main symptoms of knee pain?
Knee pain varies from mild to serve, and the pain is dependent on the condition and injury caused. We have listed some of the common symptoms of knee pain.
- Stiffness and swelling in the knee
- Redness and warmth to the touch
- Instability or weakness
- Crunching noises
- Not able to completely straighten the knee
How is knee pain diagnosed?
Doctors use X-rays and physical evaluation to diagnose arthritis and other knee issues. The doctor will try to know your pain level, activity levels, knee function and flexibility, any past injuries or conditions, and your family history.
Bloodwork helps check and find anti-CCP antibodies, which can indicate rheumatoid arthritis. The other antibodies can be related to more widespread disorders, such as inflammation throughout the whole body or lupus.
Fluid tests are conducted where fluid will be drawn from the knee joint to examine it. If doctors find there is uric acid crystals in it, that may indicate that gout is the reason for inflammation and pain. Sometimes, the presence of bacteria can imply an infection is the source of these symptoms.
X-rays help identify signs of arthritis, like any bone spurs, space between the bones is narrower, or if the joint isn’t aligned.
MRI scans and CAT scans help provide more detailed images of the soft tissues and bones. These are used to provide more to diagnose the injuries and unexplained swelling.
What are the risk factors involved in knee pain?
There are numerous factors can increase the risk of having knee problems that, including:
Excess weight: Being obese or overweight can increase stress on the knee joints, even during certain ordinary activities such as going up and down stairs or walking. Obesity can also put one at increased risk of osteoarthritis by speeding up the breakdown of joint cartilage.
Lack of strength or muscle flexibility– You can increase your risk of knee injuries due to a lack of strength and flexibility. If you have strong muscles, it helps protect and stabilize your joints, and muscle flexibility can help you achieve a complete range of motion.
A history of injury: If you have an account of a previous knee injury, you are more likely to injure your knee again.
Certain occupations or sports: Some sports like basketball and pivot stress your knees more than other sports. The numerous jumps and the repeated pounding of your knees when you jog or run increase your risk of a knee injury. Certain occupations that need repetitive stress on the knees, such as farming or construction, can also increase your risk.
How to prevent knee pain?
It may not always be possible to prevent knee pain, but the following suggestions may help ward off the injuries and deterioration of the joint.
Maintaining a healthy weight. One of the best things one can do to their knees is to keep that extra weight off. Every extra pound that you add to your body weight will cause additional strain on the joints, thus increasing the risk of injuries and osteoarthritis.
Stay flexible- Weak muscles always cause knee injuries. Hence you need to build up muscles on the front and back of your thighs that support your knees. Stability and balance training will help muscles around your knees work together in a more effective manner.
Exercise: If you suffer from chronic knee pain or recurring injuries, you may need to change how you exercise. You may switch to water aerobics, swimming, or other low-impact activities. All these activities need to be done for a few days a week. Limiting high-impact activities can bring relief.
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About The Doctor
Dr. A.B. Suhas Masilamani is a Consultant Robotic Joint Replacement Surgeon and Program Director of Sunshine OrthRobotics at Sunshine Hospitals, Hyderabad. He is one of the best orthopedic surgeons trained in New York, USA, and obtained fellowships in adult hip and knee replacement and robotic surgery. He is also one of the few certified trainers in India for Robotic Joint Replacement.
Dr. Suhas practices all the modern techniques in Orthopedics, like robotic joint replacement, minimally invasive techniques for total knee and total hip replacement, Unicondylar knee replacement, and patella-femoral replacement. He is one of the very few surgeons from the city to become a member of the American Academy of Hip and Knee Surgeons (AAHKS). He is also a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the International Congress for Joint Replacement (ICJR).