If you’re dealing with knee pain, you’re probably experiencing a lot of discomfort and may even have trouble walking. There are four main causes of knee pain, and one is likely the reason you’re suffering. Keep reading to find out more about the knee and the different sources of pain. With this understanding, you will hopefully be able to find a treatment method that works for you.
The knee is the complex joint where the femur, tibia, fibula, and patella meet. The largest muscles in the knee include the quadriceps and hamstrings, and several others that cross over the knee and attach to the lower leg to provide stability and support. These muscles also allow the knee to act as a hinge. Several ligaments surround the knee joint such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and medial collateral ligament (MCL). Ligaments also provide added support to the knee and help keep the bones in place.
Symptoms of knee pain include clicking, popping, and limited range of motion. Knee pain can also radiate down the leg.
Knee ligament sprains and tears are common sports injuries that can affect any one of the ligaments surrounding the knee and may result in a great deal of pain. Ligaments act like strong ropes and their main function is to hold the bones together in order to keep the knee stable. However, trauma to the knee or abrupt movements can stretch or tear the ligaments and cause injury.
A tear in the knee cartilage is another common injury that sometimes requires surgery. Cartilage is the semi-hard tissue that covers the ends of the femur, tibia, and fibula bones. Knee cartilage is made up of the two menisci on either side of the joint—the medial meniscus located on the inside of the knee and the lateral meniscus on the outside of the knee.
Arthritis occurs when the cartilage covering the ends of the bones starts to wear away. Cartilage enables the bones to glide smoothly against each other as the joint moves. When the cartilage wears thin, the ends of the bones rub together and cause a lot of pain. This pain can become severe and inhibit walking, as well as adding stress to the hips and lower back.
There are three common types of arthritis that can affect your knee and cause stiffness and swelling.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis—This autoimmune disease causes the tissue around the joint to become inflamed. This inflammation often leads to damage and loss of cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis represents only about 10-15 percent of all arthritis cases.
- Post-Traumatic Arthritis—This type of arthritis occurs after a serious knee injury such as bone fractures and ligament tears. These injuries can damage the cartilage in the knee and lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness.
- Osteoarthritis—Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and occurs when the cartilage in the knee joint progressively wears away. It occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, and worsens as the cartilage continues to wear away due to use.
If you’re dealing with knee pain, you could be suffering from one of the common causes above. Aligned Medical Group approaches knee pain with a thorough examination and advanced treatment methods. To contact the Aligned Medical Group and schedule an appointment, please click here.
To learn more about knee pain, click the image below to download our free eBook, The Complete Guide to Knee Pain.