Knee Injuries and Knee Pain
Knee pain can have many possible causes, ranging from a simple muscle strain or sprain which gets better in a few days, to arthritis which develops over many years. If your knee pain lasts more than a few days, does not get better with simple treatments at home, or is very severe then you may need to see a doctor.
“People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many chronic conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. But it is very important to exercise safely to avoid injury” says Dr Shamsul Khan, an orthopaedics GP at Northway Clinic. Poor technique, not warming up or cooling down, not eating well and staying hydrated, and pushing yourself too hard are all common causes of injury when it comes to exercise.
Muscle soreness a day or two after exercise is normal, especially if you have recently changed your exercise regime or are new to exercise. Immediate pain, tenderness, swelling, bruising, or restricted movement soon after exercise can be signs of injury. According to our specialist, it is important to rest even the most mild joint injury to allow healing and prevent the injury from getting much worse. “After an injury, it is very important to monitor the affected area. If the pain does not go away within a week, you feel instability in a joint, or there is visible swelling or bruising, you should consult a specialist for proper assessment.”
Dr. Khan shared his thoughts on causes of knee pain and treatment options.
– What structures make up the knee joint?
– The knee is the largest joint in the human body. It is a hinge joint, which means it can move forward and backward with minimal side-to-side movement. It is made up of bones, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and the synovial membrane which produces fluid to lubricate the joint.
– Who usually complains of knee trouble?
Knee pain can affect anyone, regardless of age or fitness level. Knee pain does get more common as we get older and you are also more at risk of knee pain if you are overweight.
– What are the main causes of knee pain?
– Knee pain after an injury will often come on suddenly and can be due to muscle strains and sprains, inflammation or damage to ligaments and tendons, damage to cartilage within a joint, or even dislocation or fractures. Knee pain with no obvious injury usually develops gradually and can be due to an underlying medical condition like arthritis. Being overweight and not doing enough physical activity are common causes of knee pain.
– Pain at the front of the knee, what is it?
– Pain at the front of the knee is also called anterior knee pain (AKP). It is common in people who have had a dislocation or fracture, people who exercise often, people who are overweight, teenage girls, people with flat feet, and people with increased flexibility in their joints.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), also known as “runner’s knee” is one of the most common causes of pain at the front of the knee. Damage or swelling above the kneecap can prevent it from moving smoothly when the joint bends and straightens, causing pain.
Patella tendinopathy, also known as “jumper’s knee” is caused by wear and tear or injury to the tendons around the knee cap.
Anterior cruciate ligament injury is usually caused by a sudden injury resulting from twisting or stopping suddenly from speed. It is common in sports like football, basketball, netball, and skiing.
Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and childhood conditions like Osgood-Schlatter disease and Sinding-Larsen-Johansson disease can also cause pain at the front of the knee.
– Pain at the back of the knee, how does it differ?
– Pain behind the knee is also known as posterior knee pain.
Osteoarthritis commonly causes pain at the back of the knee. The smooth cartilage that lines joints can become worn and rough over time, causing pain and restricted movement.
Arthritis and injuries to the knee can cause fluid to collect at the back of the joint, causing a popliteal, or Baker’s, cyst.
Posterior cruciate ligament injury is usually caused by falls or injury during contact sports like rugby.
– Inner knee pain?
Pain at the inside of the knee is also called medial knee pain. It may be worse when you bend or straighten your knee and can cause a feeling of instability.
Medial collateral ligament injuries often result from jumping and twisting injuries. It is a common sports injury in people who play football, basketball, or tennis.
Torn cartilage, or meniscal injury is commonly caused by lifting and twisting, either when playing sports or in occupations like construction or manual labouring. It can occur after only a minor injury if there is already some wear and tear in the joint.
Osteoarthritis can cause pain in every part of the knee. Pain is usually worse when moving or weight bearing and is relieved by rest.
– Outer knee pain?
– Outer or lateral, knee pain can spread up the thigh to the hip. It can occur after an injury, from overuse, or with increasing age.
A common cause is iliotibial band syndrome, common in distance runners and cyclists. It is caused by inflammation in the thick band of fibrous tissue that connects the hip to the knee.
Lateral collateral ligament injury can result from twisting injuries. Meniscal injuries can also affect the outer part of the knee joint and can result from injury or wear and tear. Osteoarthritis can also cause lateral knee pain.
– How knee pain is diagnosed?
If you have knee pain that does not go away after a few days, it is important to seek medical advice. Our specialist doctor will take a history and examine your knee (or knees) and suggest further investigation or treatment options.
– What are treatments options for knee pain?
– There are many options for treating knee pain. These can be simple measures like rest, gentle exercise, weight loss, or pain killers. Sometimes, medication can be injected into the knee joint to reduce pain and inflammation.
Dr Khan may also advice physiotherapy or sports massage therapy with Northway Clinic’s experienced musculoskeletal physiotherapist. If arthroscopic knee surgery is required, our doctors can help you to arrange this.
If you experience knee or other joint pain please BOOK your consultation with our orthopaedics GP. If you require effective rehabilitation, you can see our physiotherapist, more details can be found HERE.