Knee pain is a complaint of many people of all ages but most common with old aged ones. Pain is a common knee problem that can originate in any of the bony structures compromising the knee joint (femur, tibia, fibula), the kneecap (patella), or the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage (meniscus) of the knee. Knee pain can be aggravated by physical activity, as well as obesity, affected by the surrounding muscles and their movements, and be triggered by other problems (such as a foot injury). Knee pain can affect people of all ages, and home remedies can be helpful unless it becomes severe. Medical conditions — including arthritis, gout and infections — also can cause knee pain.
Many types of minor knee pain respond well to self-care measures. Physical therapy and knee braces also can help relieve knee pain. But in some cases, however, it needs surgical repair.
Signs and symptoms of knee pain include:
1.Swelling and stiffness
2.Redness and warmth to the touch
3.Weakness or instability
4.Popping or crunching noises
4.Inability to fully straighten the knee
5.Limping when walking.
6.Pain on knees at the time of walking
Knee pain can be divided into three major categories:
- Acute injury: such as a broken bone, torn ligament, or meniscal tear
- Medical conditions: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, infections
- Chronic use/overuse conditions: osteoarthritis, chondromalacia, IT band syndrome, patellar syndromes, tendinitis, and bursitis
Some common acute injuries are:
A) ACL injury. An ACL injury is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — one of four ligaments that connect your shinbone to your thighbone. An ACL injury is particularly common in people who play basketball, soccer or other sports that require sudden changes in direction.
B) Fractures. The bones of the knee, including the kneecap (patella), can be broken during motor vehicle collisions or falls. People whose bones have been weakened by osteoporosis can sometimes sustain a knee fracture simply by stepping wrong.
C) Torn meniscus. The meniscus is formed of tough, rubbery cartilage and acts as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone. It can be torn if you suddenly twist your knee while bearing weight on it.
D) Knee bursitis. Some knee injuries cause inflammation in the bursae, the small sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of your knee joint so that tendons and ligaments glide smoothly over the joint.
E) Patellar tendinitis. Tendinitis is irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons — the thick, fibrous tissues that attach muscles to bones. Runners, skiers, cyclists, and those involved in jumping sports and activities may develop inflammation in the patellar tendon, which connects the quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh to the shinbone.
Some common medical conditions are:
A) Loose body. Sometimes injury or degeneration of bone or cartilage can cause a piece of bone or cartilage to break off and float in the joint space. This may not create any problems unless the loose body interferes with knee joint movement, in which case the effect is something like a pencil caught in a door hinge.
B) Iliotibial band syndrome. This occurs when the tough band of tissue that extends from the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee (iliotibial band) becomes so tight that it rubs against the outer portion of your femur. Distance runners and cyclists are especially susceptible to iliotibial band syndrome.
C) Dislocated kneecap. This occurs when the triangular bone (patella) that covers the front of your knee slips out of place, usually to the outside of your knee. In some cases, the kneecap may stay displaced and you’ll be able to see the dislocation.
D) Hip or foot pain. If you have hip or foot pain, you may change the way you walk to spare these painful joints. But this altered gait can place more stress on your knee joint. In some cases, problems in the hip or foot can cause knee pain.:
Types of arthritis:
More than 100 different types of arthritis exist. The varieties most likely to affect the knee include:
A) Osteoarthritis. Sometimes called degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It’s a wear-and-tear condition that occurs when the cartilage in your knee deteriorates with use and age.
B) Rheumatoid arthritis. The most debilitating form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can affect almost any joint in your body, including your knees. Although rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, it tends to vary in severity and may even come and go.
C) Gout. This type of arthritis occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joint. While gout most commonly affects the big toe, it can also occur in the knee.
D) Pseudogout. Often mistaken for gout, pseudogout is caused by calcium-containing crystals that develop in the joint fluid. Knees are the most common joint affected by pseudogout.
E) Septic arthritis. Sometimes your knee joint can become infected, leading to swelling, pain and redness. Septic arthritis often occurs with a fever, and there’s usually no trauma before the onset of pain. Septic arthritis can quickly cause extensive damage to the knee cartilage. If you have knee pain with any of these symptoms, see your doctor right away.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a general term that refers to pain arising between the kneecap (patella) and the underlying thighbone (femur). It’s common in athletes; in young adults, especially those who have a slight maltracking of the kneecap; and in older adults, who usually develop the condition as a result of arthritis of the kneecap.
Not all knee pain is serious. But some knee injuries and medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis, can lead to increasing pain, joint damage and disability if left untreated. And having a knee injury — even a minor one — makes it more likely that you’ll have similar injuries in the future.
During the physical exam, the doctor is likely to Inspect your knee for swelling, pain, tenderness, warmth and visible bruising
Check to see how far you can move your lower leg in different directions
Push on or pull the joint to evaluate the integrity of the structures in your knee
In some cases, your doctor might suggest tests such as:
X-ray. Your doctor may first recommend having an X-ray, which can help detect bone fractures and degenerative joint disease.
Computerized tomography (CT) scan. CT scanners combine X-rays taken from many different angles, to create cross-sectional images of the inside of your body.
CT scans can help diagnose bone problems and subtle fractures. A special kind of CT scan can accurately identify gout even when the joint is not inflamed.
Ultrasound. This technology uses sound waves to produce real-time images of the soft tissue structures within and around your knee. Your doctor may want to move your knee into different positions during the ultrasound to check for specific problems.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnet to create 3D images of the inside of your knee. This test is particularly useful in revealing injuries to soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage and muscles.
If your doctor suspects an infection or inflammation, you’re likely to have blood tests and sometimes a procedure called arthrocentesis, in which a small amount of fluid is removed from within your knee joint with a needle and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Treatments will vary, depending upon what exactly is causing your knee pain.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help relieve pain and to treat underlying conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
Strengthening the muscles around your knee will make it more stable. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy or different types of strengthening exercises based on the specific condition that is causing your pain.
If you are physically active or practice a sport, you may need exercises to correct movement patterns that may be affecting your knees and to establish good technique during your sport or activity. Exercises to improve your flexibility and balance also are important.
Arch supports, sometimes with wedges on one side of the heel, can help to shift pressure away from the side of the knee most affected by osteoarthritis. In certain conditions, different types of braces may be used to help protect and support the knee joint.
In some cases, your doctor may suggest injecting medications or other substances directly into your joint. Examples include:
Corticosteroids. Injections of a corticosteroid drug into your knee joint may help reduce the symptoms of an arthritis flare and provide pain relief that may last a few months. These injections aren’t effective in all cases.
Hyaluronic acid. A thick fluid, similar to the fluid that naturally lubricates joints, hyaluronic acid can be injected into your knee to improve mobility and ease pain. Although study results have been mixed about the effectiveness of this treatment, relief from one or a series of shots may last as long as six months.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP contains a concentration of many different growth factors that appear to reduce inflammation and promote healing. These types of injections tend to work better in people whose knee pain is caused by tendon tears, sprains or injury.
If you have an injury that may require surgery, it’s usually not necessary to have the operation immediately. Before making any decision, consider the pros and cons of both nonsurgical rehabilitation and surgical reconstruction in relation to what’s most important to you. If you choose to have surgery, your options may include:
Arthroscopic surgery. Depending on your injury, your doctor may be able to examine and repair your joint damage using a fiber-optic camera and long, narrow tools inserted through just a few small incisions around your knee. Arthroscopy may be used to remove loose bodies from your knee joint, remove or repair damaged cartilage (especially if it is causing your knee to lock), and reconstruct torn ligaments.
Partial knee replacement surgery. In this procedure, your surgeon replaces only the most damaged portion of your knee with parts made of metal and plastic. The surgery can usually be performed through small incisions, so you’re likely to heal more quickly than you are with surgery to replace your entire knee.
Total knee replacement. In this procedure, your surgeon cuts away damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone and kneecap, and replaces it with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.
Lifestyle and home remedies:
Over-the-counter medications — such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) — may help ease knee pain. Some people find relief by rubbing the affected knee with creams containing a numbing agent, such as lidocaine, or capsaicin, the substance that makes chili peppers hot.
Self-care measures for an injured knee include:
Rest. Take a break from your normal activities to reduce repetitive strain on your knee, give the injury time to heal and help prevent further damage. A day or two of rest may be all you need for a minor injury. More severe damage is likely to need a longer recovery time.
Ice. Ice reduces both pain and inflammation. A bag of frozen peas works well because it covers your whole knee. You also can use an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to protect your skin. Although ice therapy is generally safe and effective, don’t use ice for longer than 20 minutes at a time because of the risk of damage to your nerves and skin.
Heat. You may experience temporary pain relief by applying a heat pack or hot-water bottle to the painful area on your knee.
Compression. This helps prevent fluid buildup in damaged tissues and maintains knee alignment and stability. Look for a compression bandage that’s lightweight, breathable and self-adhesive. It should be tight enough to support your knee without interfering with circulation.
Elevation. To help reduce swelling, try propping your injured leg on pillows or sitting in a recliner.
Glucosamine and chondroitin. Study results have been mixed about the effectiveness of these supplements for relieving osteoarthritis pain.
Acupuncture. Research suggests that acupuncture may help relieve knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. Acupuncture involves the placement of hair-thin needles into your skin at specific places on your body.
Yoga: Regular yoga exercises for knee pain and meditation.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose