Knee Pain: Possible Causes and Solutions
The knee is one of the largest joints in humans. It connects the two longest bones of the body and, due to its location, withstands constantly increasing loads. Any malfunction of the knee impairs the ability to move, because even slight pain can significantly impede walking. Like other joints of the legs, knees are most commonly affected in people who play active sports. However, pathological processes can also occur for other reasons - against the background of autoimmune diseases, obesity, bone problems and others. What kind of diseases can talk about different types of pain in the knee, we will understand in the article.
Injuries: Damage to meniscus, tendons, bones
The most common cause of various types of complaints in the knee area are injuries. In addition, the joint can be damaged both acutely and chronically. The latter often happens to those who do not train properly in gyms. Improper squatting, for example, is a common cause of long-term knee damage. This leads not only to damage to the cartilage tissue, but also to possible dislocation and subluxation of the joint. Chronic injuries initially show no symptoms, but over time pain and limitation of knee movement develop.
One of the most common acute injuries is a meniscus tear, a flat piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber. A partial tear or injury occurs most often, and the separation of a tissue fragment is diagnosed in only every tenth patient. The symptoms of a meniscus injury are:
- Stitching pain in knee.
- Crunch, characteristic click when bending the leg.
- Foreign body sensation in the knee.
- swelling of the joint.
- In severe cases, immobilization.
The most common knee injuries include:
- Dislocation and subluxation of the joint.
- tendon rupture.
It is extremely dangerous to ignore knee injuries. Even minor injuries can lead to serious complications such as osteoarthritis if left untreated. In adolescents aged 10-15, a knee injury is sometimes complicated by Osgood-Schlatter disease. With this pathology, bulbous growths appear on the tibia, which cause significant discomfort. Various consequences of injuries require more thorough treatment, and sometimes surgery.
Inflammation: arthritis, bursitis, synovitis and others
Joint inflammation is the second most common cause of pain complaints. In addition, they can develop against the background of the same injuries. In this case, a previously damaged knee suffers. If the symptoms occur on both legs, one speaks of a pathological process in the body. For example, it causes rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that damages joints throughout the body, leading to a loss of mobility over time. Rapidly developing reactive arthritis is most often caused by an infection.
Other inflammatory conditions that can cause knee pain include:
- Bursitis is inflammation of the joint sac. May present as a lump below the knee (Baker's cyst) without swelling.
- Synovitis is inflammation of the synovial membrane and accumulation of fluid in the joint cavity. The disease can develop against the background of injuries (especially damage to the meniscus), with endocrine diseases, infections and even allergies.
- Periarthritis is inflammation of the hamstrings. The pain in this case increases after physical exertion and is localized on the inner surface of the knee.
- Tendonitis is inflammation of the tendon. Often occurs with increased loads on the knee, including during exercise and during physical work.
- Osteomyelitis is bone inflammation.
These diseases can be chronic, which means that periods of exacerbation and remission alternate. Very often, the pain relief is misinterpreted by the patient as a recovery, so he does not go to the doctor, but resorts to self-treatment to relieve the symptoms that arise. This is extremely dangerous, since inflammatory processes can lead to serious complications, up to complete immobility of the knee.
Other causes of knee pain
Knee pain can also indicate other joint problems. Among the most common diagnoses, doctors call the following:
- Gonarthrosis (deforming arthrosis) is a degenerative-dystrophic joint disease caused by progressive cartilage damage. A fairly common disease, diagnosed in 35% of patients with complaints of knee pain. In advanced stages, joint arthroplasty may be required.
- Osteoporosis is a decrease in bone density that often manifests itself with age.
- Blood vessel pathology. Pain manifests itself not only after exertion, but also against the background of hypothermia or during changes in the weather.
- Infectious diseases - chlamydia, bone tuberculosis, dysentery, etc.
- Goff's disease (lipoarthritis) is the degeneration of fatty tissue in the joint, causing swelling and pain.
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Occurs against the background of irritation between the patella and the knee joint, more often worries athletes.
- Diseases of the spine and hip joint. Pain in the knee radiating at the same time can spread to the whole leg.
Prevention of pain and relief of the knee
Particular attention should be paid to the knees of athletes. Warming up before exercise helps reduce stress on the joints. You also need to do squats properly:
- Keep your arms stretched out in front of you, do not rest them on your knees to avoid losing your balance.
- You can't stand on your toes.
- Keep your back straight and your legs as wide apart as possible.
- If you are in pain, do not squat too low (the leg angle must be at least 90 degrees).
The Arthritis Foundation does not recommend abstaining from squats for people with knee pain. On the contrary, according to the organization's experts, 10 sit-ups 3 times a week have a beneficial effect on the joints. Only you have to do the exercises against the wall and use it as a support. This helps strengthen muscles and maintain joint mobility.
The R. I. C. E rule helps reduce knee pain from injuries and soft tissue damage:
- Rest (Rest): Reduce the stress on the joint, keep it at rest.
- Ice: Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel for 20 minutes.
- Compression: Apply an elastic compression bandage to the affected knee.
- Elevation: If possible, you need to hold the leg so that the knee is higher than the heart.
You need to see a doctor for diagnosis as soon as possible in the following cases:
- Persistent or severe knee pain.
- The pain returns after it has subsided.
- loss of joint mobility.
- joint deformity.
- change of gears, lameness.
The knee joint is damaged quite often, but with proper and timely treatment, serious consequences can be avoided. Therefore, you should not self-medicate and consult a doctor at the first sign of damage.