Exercises To Treat Top Of Knee Pain
In addition to the quadriceps stretch and seated leg extensions, using elastic bands and swimming regularly will provide strength and stability as the joint continues to heal.
Exercising for 30 minutes every other day will ensure that the injured joint will remain flexible and continue to build strength. Regular exercise helps to maintain healthy joints.
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.
Understanding What Knee Pain Is
Knee pain is described as extreme discomfort in the knee joint that is commonly the result of an injury or health condition that affects the joint. The knee consists of many moving parts.
Pain can be behind, in front, deep inside, or at the bottom or top of the knee. Pain and discomfort are accompanied by inflammation that causes stiffness and reduced flexibility or range of motion.
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Anterior Knee Pain: The Basics
Pain in the front of the knee or anterior knee pain can affect people in all age groups. Approximately 25% of people will suffer from pain in the front of their knees at some time in their lives. I have seen teenagers who can longer participate in sports, and I have 70 years olds who can no longer walk downstairs without fear of their knee giving way. Why is our kneecap or patella so prone to bothering us like this?
The cause of anterior knee pain might vary based on your age, level of activity, and your chosen sports. We can see people who are inactive and suffer from pain in the front of the knee, and we can also see people who are highly trained and disciplined who are suffering from pain around the kneecap. The majority of people who have pain in the front of their knee do not recall any injury.
In the majority of cases of anterior knee pain, we do not find anything significant wrong with your X-rays or MRI scans. It seems that the pain in the front of the knee is often due to imbalances, weakness patterns, movement patterns, and complex issues that can take a while to figure out. Yes, some of you might have a cartilage defect or some early arthritis in the front of your knee but believe it or not, the majority of you will have pretty normal-appearing imaging studies. That has led to a significant change in our approach to anterior knee pain over the years.
Anterior knee pain is particularly common in young women and many runners.
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.
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Patellar Tendonitis And Tear
Patellar tendonitis is inflammation of the patellar tendon. That±s a large tendon connecting your kneecap to the top of your tibia.
Patellar tendonitis is most common in athletes who do a lot of running and jumping. Its often described as a constant dull pain that becomes sharp when youre active.
In some cases, a weak patellar tendon can tear. A patellar tendon tear causes:
- Swelling over the knee
- A tearing or popping sensation
If its a bad tear, you might notice an indentation at the bottom of your kneecap. The knee may give out when you walk.
Where Is Your Pain
The hunt for the cause of knee pain is like the search for a home:Location matters.
For example, pain below your kneecap might be a sign of patellar tendinitis, or inflammation in the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone, says rheumatologist Scott Burg, DO. Pain above the kneecap often means quadriceps tendinitis.
Pain on the inside or outside of your knee could be a sign of a torn ligament , Dr. Burg says. But it also could indicate a torn or degenerative meniscus, which is the cartilage that lines and cushions your knee joint.
Those are just a couple of causes, not including various types of arthritis. Location is important, but we also ask other questions, Dr. Burg explains.
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What Causes Knee Pain
The most common causes of knee pain include:
- Meniscus tears tears to the C-shaped pieces of cartilage in your knee, which are called menisci
- Runner’s knee dull pain at the front of your knee also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Sprained ligaments
- Tendonitis inflammation of your tendons
Old knee injuries that werent treated correctly can also cause chronic knee pain or knee pain that flares up occasionally.
What Can You Do For The Pain
Your plan will depend on your specific injury. Mild to moderate issues will often get better on their own. To speed the healing, you can:
- Rest your knee. Take a few days off from intense activity.
- Ice it to curb pain and swelling. Do it for 15 to 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. Keep doing it for 2 to 3 days or until the pain is gone.
- Compress your knee. Use an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves to wrap the joint. It will keep down swelling or add support.
- Elevate your knee with a pillow under your heel when you’re sitting or lying down to cut down on swelling.
- Take anti-inflammatorymedications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen will help with pain and swelling. Follow the instructions on the label. These drugs can have side effects, so you should only use them now and then unless your doctor says otherwise.
- Practice stretching and strengthening exercises if your doctor recommends them. You may want to do physical therapy, too.
Make an appointment with a doctor if you still have pain after 2 weeks of home treatment, if the knee becomes warm, or if you have fever along with a painful, swollen knee.
Some people with knee pain need more help. For instance, if you have bursitis, your doctor may need to draw out extra fluid from the bursa in your knee. If you have arthritis, you may need an occasional corticosteroid shot to settle down inflammation. And if you have a torn ligament or certain knee injuries, you may need surgery.
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When To Contact A Medical Professional
- You cannot bear weight on your knee.
- You have severe pain, even when not bearing weight.
- Your knee buckles, clicks, or locks.
- Your knee is deformed or misshapen.
- You cannot flex your knee or have trouble straightening it all the way out.
- You have a fever, redness or warmth around the knee, or a lot of swelling.
- You have pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or bluish discoloration in the calf below the sore knee.
- You still have pain after 3 days of home treatment.
Other Inner Knee Pain Treatments
If your inner knee pain worsens after several days, or if basic at-home remedies dont alleviate symptoms, you should go see your doctor.
Some treatment methods for more serious knee injuries include:
- Steroid injection. This injection is used to treat pes anserine bursitis.
- Physical therapy. Therapy often involves stretching, exercises, and ultrasound therapy.
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Is The Sound That My Knee Makes Bad
As we reviewed in a popular post about the sounds that our knees make, we discussed that the majority of these sounds are not mechanical or dangerous! That means that you are probably not bone on bone or grinding away the insides of your knee when you bend it. Yes, these sounds can be annoying or even embarrassing, but they are rarely dangerous. The most common cause of this grinding sensation or sound is actually due to inflammation of the tissues inside the knee. You do not need cortisone or lubricating injections to treat these sounds or sensations.
Types Of Outer Knee Pain
There are several health conditions that may cause outer knee pain.
Iliotibial band syndrome develops if a band of connective tissue rubs on the outside of your knee. The iliotibial band is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs from your hip to below your knee on the outside of your leg. If you bend and straighten your leg a lot, it can cause this tissue to become sore and inflamed where it passes over the bottom of your thigh bone and meets your knee. This type of problem is most common in runners and cyclists.
Lateral collateral ligament injury is caused by a blow to the inside of your knee, which stretches the outside of your knee and injures the ligament. A ligament is a band of tissue that connects one bone to another. The lateral collateral ligament runs down the outer side of your knee.
Meniscal injury is damage to the meniscal cartilages inside your knee. These cartilages act like shock absorbers and may tear when you twist your knee with your foot still on the ground. This type of injury is common in sports where you have to change direction suddenly for example, football and skiing. It can also happen in jobs that involve lifting and twisting for example, construction or manual labour. The meniscus can tear without any particular injury as you get older because of wear and tear.
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Is Anything Strange Happening
Or really, Is anything strange happening beyond your knee pain?
For example, can you still flex your knee all the way? Most people get frightened when their knee locks and cant straighten anymore. Often the culprit is called Bakers cyst, a fluid-filled sac behind the knee caused by inflammation.
A also triggers concern for many people. Nobody wants to hear a click with every step. Sometimes, its harmless, but if that clicking comes with pain, you might have a mechanical problem such as a torn meniscus, Dr. Burg says.
These are just a few examples among many. The knee is a complicated andcritical part of your everyday life. So when you have pain that comes withserious symptoms or lasts for more than a week or two, seek the right diagnosisby getting a physical exam and any necessary imaging that comes with it.
What Causes Patellofemoral Pain
It is probably due to a combination of different factors which increase the pressure between the kneecap and the lower part of the thighbone . This may happen during running, cycling, squatting and going up and down stairs. It is likely that the cause is not the same in everyone affected.
Situations where this can occur include:
- Overuse of the knee, such as in certain sports – particularly at times of increased training.
- Cycling when the saddle is too low or too far forward.
- Some people may have a slight problem in the alignment of the patella where it moves over the lower femur. This may cause the patella to rub on, rather than glide over, the lower femur . It may be due to the way the knee has developed. Or, it may be due to an imbalance in the muscles around the knee and hip – for example, the large quadriceps muscle above the knee and the muscles that stop the hips from tilting when standing on one leg.
- Weak hip muscles may cause patellofemoral pain by causing the thighbone to be slightly turned inwards, leading to the patella being pulled slightly to one side.
- Foot problems may also play a part – for example, where the feet do not have strong arches . This makes the foot roll inwards , which means the knee has to compensate for the inward movement. However, it is unclear whether this causes the knee problems or may be caused by the knee problems.
- Injury to the knee – including repeated small injuries or stresses due to sports, or due to slack ligaments .
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
Not all knee pain needs medical treatment, but delaying care when it’s needed can lead to more pain and disability. Symptoms to watch for are:
- Pain lasting more than 48 hours
- Inflammation lasting more than 48 hours
- Reduced range of motion
- Signs of infection
Your knee injury may need immediate care if:
- The joint looks deformed.
- You have sudden inflammation or swelling.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
The posterior cruciate ligament is the ACLs partner. Its another band of tissue that connects your thighbone to your shinbone and supports your knee. However, the PCL isnt as likely to get injured as the ACL.
You can injure the PCL if you take a hard blow to the front of your knee, such as in a car accident. Sometimes injuries occur from twisting the knee or missing a step while walking.
Stretching the ligament too far causes a strain. With enough pressure, the ligament can tear into two parts.
Along with pain, a PCL injury causes:
- swelling of the knee
- trouble walking
- weakness of the knee
Rest, ice, and elevation can help a PCL injury heal faster. You might need surgery if youve injured more than one ligament in your knee, have symptoms of instability, or you also have cartilage damage.
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Who Gets Pfp Syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome usually happens in people who do sports that involve a lot of knee bending and straightening, such as running, biking, and skiing. It also can happen to people, particularly young women, who do not do a lot of sports.
PFP syndrome is more common in women and happens most often to teens and young adults.
Tight or weak leg muscles or flat feet can make someone more likely to get PFP syndrome.
Treating With Ice Or Heat
Heat or ice can be beneficial in the management of musculoskeletal pain.
Ice is most beneficial if your knee problem is related to an injury. You can try heat to help your pain levels if there’s no swelling and your symptoms are not related to a recent injury.
Never place ice or heat directly on your skin. Use a barrier, like a towel, to protect your skin from a burn.
How long you use ice as a treatment can vary. However, you should generally apply heat or ice for up to 15 minutes. You should also leave a few hours between treatments.
You should stop treating the area with ice or heat and seek advice from a medical professional if you notice an increase in redness, discolouration or blistering of the skin.
If you have any issues with circulation or sensation, you shouldn’t use ice or heat as a treatment for knee pain.
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Treatments For Knee Injuries
With the exception of an obvious fracture or severe tear that requires knee surgery, knee injuries are often treated conservatively first with rest, compression, elevation, or anti-inflammatory medications. If those dont provide enough pain relief or progress, you may be a candidate for knee arthroscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that uses a camera to repair the injury. If knee problems become chronic, you may consider a total knee replacement.
No matter your injury or course of treatment, the experts at Alexander Orthopaedics can help. If your knee has been bothering you, schedule an appointment today.
What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Pfp Syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome causes pain under and around the knee. The pain often gets worse with walking, kneeling, squatting, going up or down stairs, or running. It may also hurt after sitting with a bent knee for a long time, such as in a long car ride or in a movie theater.
Some people with PFP syndrome feel a “popping” or creaking after getting up from sitting or when going up or down stairs.
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Recovery From Quadriceps Tendonitis
If you treated quadricep tendonitis with nonsurgical therapies, the injury can heal with four to six weeks of physical therapy. The goal of the physical therapy is to reduce the pain and inflammation as well as improve function of the quadricep.
Physical therapy after surgery is rigorous and involves the full team of specialists, including your orthopedic surgeon. Your team will work together to develop a treatment plan especially for your case.
As you recover, the exercises will intensify to ensure you are fully healed before resuming your normal activity level.
What Is Runner’s Knee
Runner’s knee also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome is an overuse injury that affects as many as 30% of female runners and 25% of male runners. That makes it the most common running-related injury.
In runner’s knee, the cartilage in your kneecap gets irritated. This causes pain while you’re running, squatting, bending or even sitting for awhile. I often see patients come in with runner’s knee after they start running at an incline or increase miles or speed.
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