Brief Anatomy Of The Knee
The knee is a vulnerable joint that bears a great deal of stress from everyday activities, such as lifting and kneeling, and from high-impact activities, such as jogging and aerobics.
The knee is formed by the following parts:
Tibia. This is the shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg.
Femur. This is the thighbone or upper leg bone.
Patella. This is the kneecap.
Each bone end is covered with a layer of cartilage that absorbs shock and protects the knee. Basically, the knee is 2 long leg bones held together by muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
There are 2 groups of muscles involved in the knee, including the quadriceps muscles , which straighten the legs, and the hamstring muscles , which bend the leg at the knee.
Tendons are tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones. Ligaments are elastic bands of tissue that connect bone to bone. Some ligaments on the knee provide stability and protection of the joints, while other ligaments limit forward and backward movement of the tibia .
Does A Knee Fracture Also Cause Sharp Stabbing Pain
A Knee fracture also known as the patellar fracture is a serious injury, which can impact your ability to bend or straighten your knee. Knee fractures are mostly caused by a powerful impact. Such as any accident or injury. In rare cases, the knee can be fractured due to a sudden contraction of a quadricep where the muscles can pull from the patella. However, symptoms include Immediate swelling and bruising in the knee or sharp stabbing pain in the knee that comes and goes.
However, Fractures and tears of the ligaments and cartilage of the knee often require surgical intervention but often have great success.
What You Need To Know
- The most common causes of knee pain are related to aging, injury or repeated stress on the knee.
- Common knee problems include sprained or strained ligaments, cartilage tears, tendonitis and arthritis.
- Diagnosing a knee injury or problem includes a medical examination and usually the use of a diagnostic procedure such as an x-ray, MRI, CT scan or arthroscopy.
- Both non-operative and surgical treatment options are available to treat knee pain and problems depending on the type and severity of the condition.
Also Check: What Is Knee Pain Caused From
Diagnosis Of Inner Knee Pain
Mild knee injuries do not always need to be seen by a doctor or physiotherapist. However, you should seek medical attention if you:
- Are still in pain after three days
- Cant put weight on your affected leg
- Have a bluish discoloration, numbness, pain, swelling or tingling in your calf
- Have severe pain even when your affected leg is not bearing any weight
You should also see a doctor if your knee:
- Feels hot
- Is deformed, red or swollen
Your doctor will perform a physical examination of your knee, and ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. This will include:
- How active you are
- When your pain started and what you were doing at the time
- Whether you can think of any activity or injury that could be causing your symptoms
- Whether your pain comes and goes
If your doctor thinks the cartilage or ligaments in your knee are damaged, they may recommend a procedure to look inside your knee called a knee arthroscopy. This is a type of keyhole surgery, which means it involves making small cuts into your body, in this case into your knee, and inserting a thin, telescope-like tube with a camera and a light on the end . Your surgeon will then be able to see inside your knee and in some cases, may be able to repair or remove damaged tissue during this procedure.
Complementary And Alternative Therapies
A number of mind-body therapies may be used to treat knee pain. These include:
- Tai chi
These are especially common for knee osteoarthritis.
The once-popular supplements glucosamine and chondroitin have fallen out of favor for knee osteoarthritis due to a lack of scientific proof. Always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements or medications.
Don’t Miss: Where To Buy Copper Fit Knee Brace
Can Arthritis Cause Knee Numbness
Yes, arthritis can be associated with loss of sensation in the knee. Arthritis in the back can compress a nerve root as it exits the spinal cord, leading to loss of sensation depending on the specific nerve root that is affected, numbness in the knee can occur. Arthritis in the knee itself can also cause numbness due to changes in sensory receptors.
Chronic Pain Behind The Knee
Pain at the back of the knee may occur gradually. You are unlikely to be able to pinpoint the exact time your injury occurred. These injuries often start out as a niggle which you may attempt to ignore. Eventually, they become progressively worse.
An acute injury may become chronic if it is not treated properly, or fails to heal.
Chronic knee injuries can be more difficult to treat so do not ignore the early signs!
Also Check: Will Fluid On Knee Go Away
Pain At The Back Of The Knee
- A sharp stabbing pain at the back of the knee can commonly be due to hamstring tendonitis, caused by inflammation of the tendons connecting the hamstring to the knee. A common cause is overuse, and the pain becomes more apparent with continued use.
- A swelling and tightness behind the knee might be due to inflammation of the popliteal bursa . This is often due to there being another mechanical abnormality within the knee producing excess fluid.
- Pain at the back of the knee may also be due to a tear in the posterior part of the meniscus.
What To Expect At Your Office Visit
Your provider will perform a physical exam, and look at your knees, hips, legs, and other joints.
Your provider may do the following tests:
- MRI of the knee if a ligament or meniscus tear could be the cause
- CT scan of the knee
- Joint fluid culture
Your provider may inject a steroid into your knee to reduce pain and inflammation.
You may need to learn stretching and strengthening exercises. You also may need to see a podiatrist to be fitted for orthotics.
In some cases, you may need surgery.
Also Check: How Much Is Knee Surgery For Torn Meniscus
Lateral Knee Pain By Activity
Lateral Knee Pain From Running: The most likely cause of outside knee pain running is IT Band syndrome, inflammation of the band down the outerside of the thigh. With iliotibial band syndrome, it is really important to rest from aggravating activities otherwise the condition can become chronic. This may mean reducing training time or stopping running altogether for a period of time.
Lateral Knee Pain With No Swelling: Outside knee pain no swelling implies an overuse or degenerative condition such as tendonopathy, IT Band Syndrome or Runners Knee, rather than a soft tissue injury such as a ligament sprain or meniscus tear. Outer knee pain without swelling is often a chronic problem.
Pain On Outside Of Knee With Flexion: Outer knee pain when bending the knee often indicates a problem in the hamstrings as they are responsible for knee flexion. If the pain is more central, it is likely to be a problem with the kneecap such as patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Lateral Knee Pain With Full Extension: Pain on outside of knee when you straighten the leg is often caused by something getting stuck inside the knee joint, typically from a cartilage injury or arthritis. Outer knee pain with extension is often accompanied by locking where the knee gets stuck.
Outer Knee Pain When Squatting: later knee pain squatting tends to happen when there is a problem in the knee cartilage meaning it doesn’t provide adequate cushioning of the knee joint, typically a meniscus tear and knee arthritis.
Will Surgery Treat And Cure Knee Pain
Knee operations range from arthroscopic knee surgery to total knee replacement. Arthroscopic knee surgery is a very common surgical procedure that allows the physician look inside your knee through a few small holes and a fiberoptic camera. The surgeon can repair many of the injuries and remove small pieces of loose bones or cartilage. This is a common outpatient procedure.
Partial knee replacement: The surgeon replaces the damaged portions of the knee with plastic and metal parts. Because only part of the knee joint is replaced, this procedure has a shorter recovery then a total knee replacement.
Total knee replacement: In this procedure, the knee is replaced with an artificial joint.
You May Like: Natural Cure For Arthritis In The Knees
Coping Strategies For Runners With Anterior Knee Pain:
- A shorter stride: a shorter stride allows you to control your pelvic drop better.
- A higher cadence : This also minimizes your pelvic drop and other gait abnormalities.
- Avoiding hilly terrain until the pain has lessened.
- Progressive, intelligent training. Consider using apps such as HRV4Training, Training Peaks or TrainAsOne.
- Patella taping: See the video at the end of this post.
- Orthotics or shoe inserts: These have been shown to work in some of you.
- Prevention: Keep your glutes/ hip abductors / core strong. See the exercise videos at the end of this post.
Pain At The Front Of The Knee
- Excessive stress on the patella tendon at the front of the knee, just below the patella, manifests itself by a burning sensation at the front of the knee .
- A severe stabbing pain and swelling at the front of the knee may be due to a partially dislocated patella. The patella normally slides in a groove at the front of the femur, but can slip out due to a sudden twist or impact.
- Chondromalacia patellae is a condition due to the cartilage on the under surface of the patella softening and deteriorating. The symptoms are a grating feeling at the junction of the patella and femur. Sometimes an unstable flap of surface cartilage may cause this pain, and may be curable with simple keyhole surgery and a chondroplasty.
- Repetitive knee movements can result in an accumulation of fluid in the bursae resulting in pain and a swelling at the front of the knee .
Also Check: What To Do When You Scrape Your Knee
Lower Leg Pain Caused By Bones Joints And Muscle Problems
Some of the most common causes of pain from knee to ankle are related to injuries of muscles, joints, and bones.
1. Compartment Syndrome
Compartment syndrome or chronic exertional compartment syndrome occurs if you repeatedly engage in exertional or loading activities. It can affect any lower leg compartments, with the anterior compartment most likely to be affected. Pain in the case of compartment syndrome is typically exercise-induced and you will experience relief with rest. It can also be accompanied by numbness or weakness.
2. Stress Fracture
Stress fractures develop slowly due to repetitive trauma. Eventually, the muscles are overloaded or fatigued to the point where they cant absorb the shock or stress of repeated impacts and instead begin braking. The stress can transfer to nearby bone, leading to small fractures that arent visible on regular X-rays.
3. Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome
Most people know medial tibial stress syndrome as shin splints. This injury commonly affects runners and causes pain from knee to ankle. It occurs due to repeated trauma to your connected muscle tissue by the shinbone . If you ignore it, this issue can lead to a stress fracture.
5. Muscle Cramps
6. Achilles Tendonopathy
7. Calf Muscle Tear
8. Plantaris Tear
9. Achilles Tear
Clinical Findings Of A Lump On The Side Of Knee
Not all lumps or cysts on the side of the knee are apparent or painful. In cases where the lump is due to a meniscal cyst, the more common symptoms include pain with standing, swelling in the knee joint, and a lump or bump on the side of the knee that can change in size.
When examining the knee, we often find a lump close to the joint line. The lump or cyst in the knee is usually soft and may or may not be painful. Also, twisting or rotating the knee can cause pain.
Generally, we use an MRI to diagnose the meniscal cyst and the corresponding meniscal tear. However, an ultrasound can also confirm a meniscal cyst.
Don’t Miss: What Is Better For Knee Pain Heat Or Cold
Diagnosis Of Outer Knee Pain
Your doctor will examine your knee and ask about your medical history and symptoms, including:
- the type of pain you have, when it started and if it comes and goes
- how active you are
- any activity, accident or injury that could have caused it
If you have cartilage or ligament damage, your doctor may suggest a procedure to look inside your knee. This is called an arthroscopy . Your doctor will make a small cut in your knee and pass a thin tube with a camera on the end through the cut. As well as diagnosing the problem, your doctor can also repair or remove damaged tissue.
What Are The Symptoms Of Runners Knee
The symptoms of runners knee are distinctive: the sharp pain you feel is always on the outer edge of the knee. The iliotibial band originates, like the glutes, in the iliac crest in the pelvis and runs to the lateral side of the thigh and knee down to the top of your shinbone. This tough fascia structure gets subjected to too much strain, and often the strain is also unbalanced making the surrounding muscles very sensitive to pressure.
In many cases, the knee pain only starts after youve been running for a certain distance. This is a sign that you havent fully recovered despite treating the area, and youll need to avoid irritating it further. It goes without saying that pain is unpleasant and has negative associations. But when you have excessive strain such as iliotibial band syndrome, pain is a crucial alarm signal that you shouldnt ignore.
Our advice: start by getting a medical examination to make sure you dont have any damage to your cartilage and the passive parts of your musculoskeletal system, such as bones and joints. The doctor should check for the following:
- Pain with slight exertion and when at rest
- Redness and heat in the area
- Sharp pain when first starting to move
A professional gait analysis can also be extremely helpful for achieving a healthy running technique in the long term.
You May Like: What Is The Best Knee Replacement Surgery
Superior Tibiofibular Joint Sprain
The tibiofibular joint is the point in the knee where the tops of the shin bones join. Dislocation of this joint is likely to have been caused by an impact or fall onto the knee, particularly when it is in a fully bent position. Symptoms include:
- Pain and swelling on the outer surface of your shin.
- In addition the top of the fibula bone may appear more prominent than normal on the outside of your knee.
- More on Tibiofibular joint sprain
How Does Knee Support Help
The goal of Knee Support for patients is to provide support for the knee. Also, to decrease the pain, and improve function. However, Braces may allow people to feel more comfortable. Also, braces provide stability and manage the pain and associated swelling by supporting the soft tissues around the knee.
Don’t Miss: How To Help Sore Knees
Burning Pain When Sitting Still
Some people feel more pain at night than during the day.
You might feel more pain when you’re sitting still. Some of us are just too busy to monitor pain. We need debilitating pain to tell us to slow down and be still.
So when you sit down and take a break, do not be surprised if the little niggles of pain begin to visit you.
Your nightly knee pain can also come from reduced hormone signals. When you rest, your hormone signals are reduced. These reduced hormone signals give way for pain signals to reach the brain.
So you’ll feel pain as you try to nod off.
Your blood vessels may also be the culprit for pain at night. When you sleep, your blood vessels increase in diameter. This is a natural process that allows more blood to come to muscles, allowing them to heal.
However, those expanding blood vessels can put pressure on your nerves. This will cause pain such as pain in your knee even as you try to sleep.
What Kind Of Running Shoes/ Knee Bandage I Use For Runners Knee
Is a knee bandage a good idea? A bandage can support the knee and help with stability, which can bring some relief. In some cases depending on both the person and on the bandage used the additional pressure can actually increase pain. You should try and see for yourself whether a knee bandage is right for you. Important to know: a bandage can only provide support it cant get rid of the causes of runners knee that weve described above.
What kind of running shoes should you wear? Its difficult to give a general answer to this question. Your choice of shoe depends on many factors, such as your bodys biomechanics, tension balances, running technique, and the amount of time spent running. Sometimes, the right insole support can help with overpronation of the foot as described above. In general, however, we recommend doing the following exercises and adapting your running technique so that you actively use the foot arches and the rising muscles and fascia as cushioning structures, instead of the bones and joints. This imitates a healthy barefoot running technique and essentially means using barefoot running shoes. Be careful: it takes time to adapt.
The runner´s knee – one of the most common diagnoses for knee pain – can be treated well with adjusting activity and learning techniques to regulate imbalances.
Don’t Miss: Where To Buy Donjoy Knee Braces