The knee is a complex joint and has many ligaments, tendons, nerves and blood vessels surrounding it. Moreover, the knee is in use constantly. Injury to anyone of the above structures can lead to knee pain. Most minor cases of knee pain can be managed at home but the knee can also suffer from serious ligament or tendon injury and these need to be looked at by a physician.
It is impossible to prevent all the different knee injuries, especially if you are active in sports but one can take steps to reduce the chances of injury. Unlike other joints, the knee is required for ambulation and injuries to the ligaments or tendons often require surgery.
The doctors of BPI will do a complete evaluation of all the symptoms of your knee pain. The knee is surrounded by many structures and the symptoms depend on what structure is damaged. Some of the more common knee injuries include the following:
1) Ligament injuries are common. The knee ligaments play a crucial role in stability of the leg and assist in flexing and extending the knee. When the ligament is damaged, one will feel immediate pain and may even hear a popping sound if there is a full rupture. Most people with ligament injury of the knee will not be able to walk and will find that the knee is very loose or unstable.
2) Tendon injuries of the knee are common in athletes and workers who are doing excessive work with their lower extremities. Tendons are thick cord like structures and often get inflamed. Tendonitis of the knee joint can present with pain in one or both knees, swelling in front of the knee, excess pain while jumping, running or climbing stairs. Many people with tendinitis of the knee will have difficulty extending or straightening the leg.
3) Meniscus injuries are also quite common in athletes. Menisci are C-shaped pieces of cartilage that play a vital role in cushioning the knee joint from injury. When menisci are torn, there is immediate pain in the joint. This is followed by mild to moderate swelling that often is delayed for 24-48 hours. When menisci are injured, one cannot straighten the knee completely. Moreover, the knee will feel locked during walking.
4) Bursitis is fluid collection in the small sacs of the joint. Bursitis typically occurs after overuse of the knee joint. Bursitis may present with a swollen warm knee and difficulty with bending or extending the knee. Pain during bursitis is mild to moderate and usually occurs during ambulation. Occasionally bursitis may present with fever and intense pain while going up and down the staircase.
5) Loose bodies often occur in the knee due to broken pieces of bone or cartilage. These tiny pieces of cartilage may interfere with knee movements and occasionally cause pain.
6) Dislocated kneecap (patella) occurs when the small bone in front of the knee slips out of place. The dislocation of the patella is obvious and may move to the side. Signs of a patella dislocation include joint pain, swelling of the knee joint, difficulty walking and straightening of the knee.
Other cases of knee pain include:
1) Osgood-Schlatter disease that primarily affects teenagers
2) Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when the ligaments on the outside of the pelvic bone starts to rub on the lower bone of the leg. This disorder is most common in long distance runners
3) Hyper extended knee may occur after minor trauma and may lead to a tear of the inner knee ligament
4) Septic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and gout are all common causes of knee pain.