Knee pain is a very common problem that involves any of the bony structures that make up the knee joint (i.e. the tibia, femur, and fibula), the ligaments surrounding the knee, the knee cap (patella), and the cartilage (meniscus) of the knee.
Knee pain is an issue that knows no boundaries in terms of age discrimination, where it can affect individuals of all ages. It can be the result of an injury or also due to certain medical conditions. There are a couple of different of types of knee pain that are defined by whether or not the pain is localized or diffused throughout the entire knee itself. When a patient is suffering from knee pain, it is common that there will be physical restrictions that accompany the pain. Such restrictions might range from limping due to the discomfort, difficulty being able to walk and even locking of the knee – which will result in the patient being unable to bend the knee.
The actual location of the knee pain will vary from patient to patient depending on which of the knee structures is involved in the issue. For instance, a bone fracture or torn meniscus will result in localized pain for the patient; while an infection will affect the whole knee. The degree of pain will also vary depending on the cause, where it can range from a minor ache to a debilitating and disabling throbbing pain.
When knee pain becomes severe and home remedies do not resolve the discomfort, it may become necessary to visit your doctor. When you see your doctor for knee pain you can expect a thorough physical examination in an effort to diagnose the cause of the pain within the knee. The prognosis and treatment of the pain are contingent upon the underlying cause of the discomfort and irritation. In most cases the prognosis is good, though it might require the need for intervention or surgery in order to properly remedy the situation.
The human knee is a very complex mechanism of which is composed of many ligaments that surround the knee, as well as bursas and tendons. Because there are so many different structures that make up the knee there is therefore all the more issues that can go wrong with the knee, leading to knee pain. Knowing and understanding the basics surrounding knee pain, including signs and symptoms, will help you to better communicate with your doctor about your knee pain should you have to consult him/her.
If you are suffering from knee pain and have to see your doctor, it is crucial that you discuss certain factors associated with the pain, such as:
Here are some specific symptoms associated with the most common causes of knee pain.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is also referred to as “runner’s knee.” This common cause of knee pain results in pain that feels as though in encompasses the entire kneecap. The pain will feel as if it is radiating from behind or underneath the kneecap. It also results in stiffness and pain after sitting for long periods of time, as well as after going up and down the stairs and of course after running (that is assuming you are able).
This common condition is the result of the wearing of the cartilage that allows the knee to move freely. The result is an aching sensation in the knee after physical activity. As the condition worsens, you may notice that your knee will be stiff in the mornings after you have awaken and you may also experience more frequent pain. You might also notice swelling of the knee and a “crunching” noise that comes from the knee area when you walk.
The menisci are disks made of tissue that lie within the knee and provide cushioning. These disks can sometimes become torn due to injury. The pain from a torn meniscus can range from minor to severe and will often feel the most painful when the knee is straightened. You might notice a “clicking” sensation or feel as though your knee tends to get “stuck”.
Injuries to Ligaments
Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that serve the purpose of holding the bones together – there are four in the knee. Over-stretching or tearing a ligament (usually done during sporting events) can lead pain that is minute to severe. If you have a torn or stretched ligament, your knee might feel “wobbly”.
If you are experiencing knee pain that is not responding to at home remedies, then you may need medical attention.