" />

Knee Pain

OOne of the most common complaints sending people for medical attention is knee pain. As the society has become more active, the prevalence of knee problems has been on the rise. Many serious knee complications will result in limited mobility on affected side and locking or inability to unbend the knee.

Knee Pain

Knee Pain

Deformity around the joint and inflammation around the calf and joint area are also signs of serious knee problems. Other indications of serious knee impairment include infection signs like warmth, fever or redness. All these are warning signs of common complex knee conditions that require medical attention.

The Knee joint facilitates movement of the leg and is indispensable for normal walking. The knee can extend to an angle of 0 degrees. A normal knee can flex to a maximum of 135 degrees.

Apart from bending and straightening, one of the major functions of the knee joint is its’ capacity to bear weight. The knee can also twist and rotate as opposed to an ordinary door hinge. The knee performs all these functions with the support of structures that include ligaments, bones, cartilage and tendons.

Where does Knee Pain affect?

The ligaments are bands made of fiber that connect bones to other bones. The four important ligaments of the knee connect the femur to the tibia. These include:

  1. Anterior Cruciate Ligament  ACL  provides front and back stability.
  2. Posterior Cruciate Ligament  PCL  provides rear rotational stability.
  3. Medial Collateral Ligament  MCL  provides medial stability.
  4. Lateral Collateral Ligament  LCL  provides lateral stability.
Knee Pain

Knee Pain

The knee joint comprises three bones that include:

  1. The femur or thighbone forms the top part of the knee anatomy.
  2. The patella or kneecap rides on the front section of the femur. The remaining segment of the femur is not directly involved in the knee joint, but is close by the outer knee.
  3. The bone connecting the lower leg or calf section to the knee forms the bottom part of the joint.

Cartilage: This comprises meniscus that is mainly cartilaginous structure- termed menisci in plural. These act as lining above or atop the tibia and in between two knuckles found at the base of the femur. These are referred to as femoral condyles.

The menisci offer space and cushion the joint. The are important to the knee as a weight bearing joint. They even out the load at the surface and distribute lubrication in the form of joint fluid.

Tendons are bands made of fiber just like ligaments. Instead, tendons connect muscles to bones. Two important tendons that form the knee include:

  1. Quadriceps, these are located in front of the thighs and the patella tendon.
  2. The patella tendon connects the tibia to the patella. This tendon can be technically referred to as a ligament because it acts as a link between two bones.

Both the patella and quadriceps tendons are usually referred to as extensors mechanism.  The both coordinate and facilitate straightening of the leg or leg extension. Fluid filled sacs called bursae act as the tendons’ gliding surfaces. These reduce friction during tendon motion.

Bursae or singular bursa, are sacs that are loaded with fluid. They have a cushioning effect on the knee. The knee is made of three important groups of bursae.

  1. Prepatellar bursae located at the front part of the patella.
  2. The anserine bursae, situated almost 2 inches below the knee joint, by the inner flank of the knee.
  3. The infra-patella bursae are situated on the lower edge of the patella.

Knee pain causes are attributed to a wide range of conditions. For appropriate treatment to be targeted to the genuine cause of pain, the diagnosis has to be spot on.

Causes of Knee Pain

knee Pain

knee Pain

There are many diverse conditions causing  knee pain. Some of these conditions include:

  • Ligament injuries – Apart from joint instability, these knee pain injuries can cause severe discomfort. They usually occur as a result athletic infringements. They include both Anterior and Posterior Cruciate Ligament injuries ACL and PCL. The Medial Collateral Ligament injury MCL also exists.
  • Arthritis: This is perhaps the most common cause leading to knee pain. Arthritis treatments exist in a wide range.
  • Meniscus Tear / Cartilage injuries: These affect both the old and the young and are among the top causes of knee pain.
  • Patella Tendinitis: The huge tendon on the front part of the knee is the patella tendon. This joint is prone to knee tendinitis.
  • Dislocating Kneecap. This can easily result in chronic  knee pain,  though acute symptoms accompany the dislocation.
  • Chondromalacia Patella : The underlying factor leading to this common joint condition is the softening of cartilage. Chondromalacia is more prevalent in the younger generation of mainly between 15 and 35 age bracket.
  • Osgood Schlatter Disease: This disease occurs as result of irritation around the front part of the knee joint or the growth plate.
  • Plica Syndrome: This is not a common condition that leads to knee pain. Due to the difficulty involved in diagnosing it,  arthroscopy plays a major role in its diagnosis.
  • Bursitis : The bursa above the kneecap is the most vulnerable joint. Carpet layers, gardeners and others who have the occupational hazard of extensive kneeling, are the most common causalities of bursitis.
  • Bakers Cyst: This is basically an inflammation at the rear of the joint. It may be a sign of another problem like meniscus tear.
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans OCD: This condition also manifests itself due to the growth experienced around the bone surrounding the joint. It is more prevalent in adolescents.
  • Gout : In patients suffering this disease, gout cannot be dismissed as a likely factor or cause. Gout is less commonly considered as a direct cause of knee pain.

Knee Pain Treatments

The cause of knee pain ultimately determines the course of treatment. Before embarking on any treatment regime, it is crucial that you comprehend the basic symptoms. Always seek medical attention before settling down on a treatment option. This is necessary in case of any ambiguity during diagnosis or depending on the severity of the pain.

knee Pain

knee Pain

Some options available for the treatment of  knee pain include:

  • Ice / heat application: Heat pads and ice packs are generally used in most cases of knee pain.  Ice packs are used on fresh injuries for about 3 days or a week. Heat pads are used consequently after the ice packs.
  • Rest : Resting the joint is the first part of most treatments involving knee pain. Resting allows the swelling to subdue and is often enough to ease off the knee pain. Crutches also help to take weight off the joint. This eases off the pain, especially when symptoms are serious.
  • Stretching: When the tendons and muscles around the knee joint are stretched, knee pain subsides faster. Stretching is more effective when developed as a regular routine.
  • Physical Therapy: All orthopedic conditions improve when subjected to physical therapy. Different techniques are used by physical therapists to regain mobility and increase the individuals strength and power.
  • Cortisone injections. Cortisone is effective as a knee pain treatment. Its powerful formula targets inflammation, which is commonly associated with knee pain. Your doctor could advise you on the benefits of this medication in relation to your condition.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medication:  The most common type of these medications are the Non-Steroidal-Anti-Inflammatory Medications known as NSAIDS. These are generally prescribed to patients with knee pain as a result of bursitis, arthritis and tendinitis.
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Submit a Comment