Knee Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments
Posted Jul 31 2014 11:01am
What Is Knee Pain?
Knee pain is a condition that cuts across people of all ages. It may start as a result of injury to the parts of the knee like tendons, ligaments and cartilage. Other ailments can also contribute to knee pain like infections, deformities, diseases and inflammations. Mild to moderate knee pain is responsive to self-care therapies but consulting a physician is the best measure one can take. This is because some knee pains go deeper than personal conclusions and only qualified medical practitioners can deduce the real cause of pain.
Factors That Causes Knee Pain
Pain in the knee can be categorized in three groups
Acute Injury - T his may be a broken bone, or a fractured ligament
Fractures- The bone part of the knee can break leading to sudden acute pain. This may be the knee cap or the tibia plateau. A fracture of the knee is serious and calls for immediate medical attention.
Injured Ligaments - This is an injury which is popular among sports people. It is causes by sudden stopping and changing of motion. It mostly affects the anterior cruciate ligament.
Meniscus Tear - Meniscus is made up of cartilage and it is responsible for shock absorbing in the joint. Sudden twisting of the knee can tear the meniscus and cause pain.
Dislocation - A fall or another form of accident involving the knee can cause a dislocation. This causes pain and calls for immediate medical attention.
Medical conditions - These may be in form of arthritis and diverse infections. Many forms of arthritis can affect the knee joint causing pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune condition that can render the knee joint very painful. Other forms of arthritis like gout are known to affect the knee joint too. Infectious arthritis or septic arthritis infects the joint and leads to the inflammation, fever and pain to the knee joint.
Overuse of the joint - This can be as a result of OA, tendinitis, bursitis or synovitis. These conditions are associated with long overuse of the knee joint. They lead to inflammation of the joint and a lot of pain.
Each category is associated with a certain degree of knee pain. Each may require a particular therapy and treatment although some self-care treatments are common among all categories.
Symptoms of Knee Pain
The part or structure of the knee that is involved determines where to find the pain. When the pain is as a result of infection, you may find that the whole knee area is swollen and pains a lot. If it is a torn ligament or meniscus, the pain will be concentrated on that particular part of the knee. The magnitude of the pain will be dependent on the severity of the cause. It ranges from mild to chronic with some times inhibiting movement of the joint completely. Other symptoms include soreness and selling of the joint, locking and inability to bend or extend the knee and difficult in walking.
Risk Factors for Knee Pain
Style of Movement - The knee joint is complex and it is in use for the better part of the day. Changes like leg length, a change in walking style due to injuries can be a possible cause of pain in the knee.
Obesity - This is associated with the amount of weight that the knee has to take while supporting the body. Excessive body weight breaks down cartilage (OA) and causes knee pain.
Repetitive Movements - People who indulge in same motions every day for a long time risk knee pain. This is because these motions wear out cartilage leading to knee pain.
Diagnosis for Knee Pain
If you have a form of knee pain, a physician will begin by taking the history of the pain. He/she examines the knee through different ranges of motion like bending. This is then compared to the other knee and it should give results viable enough for the physician to commence treatment on the affected knee.
Further tests may be required like radiologic tests, blood tests and joint fluid test
In many cases, knee pain will occur and disappear without an engaging treatment. It may however remain for weeks or even months. Seeking medical attention early will spare you many complications and even irreversible damage to the knee joint.