What Are The Causes Of Knee Pain In Teenagers
Common knee pain problems in your teenager can be generally divided into three types:
- Anterior knee pain, also called patellofemoral pain.
- Injures to ligaments and tendons of the knee or to the kneecap itself.
- Medical conditions that affect the knee.
Anterior knee pain happens when your teens kneecap is pulled out of its groove from increased pressure. Increased pressure on the knee joint is caused by:
- Abnormal hip rotation due to imbalances in muscle strength and flexibility around the hips.
- Improper training methods or equipment.
- Poor flexibility of the thigh muscles, which support the knee joint. Thigh muscle weakness or tightness.
- Overuse of the knee from repetitive bending of the knee during running, jumping, and other activities.
- Problems with alignment, for example, the kneecap not being properly aligned within the knee or having flat feet, which changes the normal gait.
Knee pain resulting from sprains, strains and tears to ligaments and tendons or injuries to other soft tissues. These conditions include:
Medical conditions that can affect your teens knee include:
Ankle And Knee Pain Causes Symptoms & Treatment
Most commonly ankle pain is due to strain of all the tendons and ligaments that hold the ankle joint together. The ankle joint is vital to the walking cycle in that it helps to bring our body weight forward and allow transfer of weight from one limb to the other.
Most ankle pain can be traced to altered alignment due to strain on the tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together.
Overuse Or Runners Knee
IT Band Syndrome
A form of Runners Knee common in bicyclists, iliotibial band syndrome causes knee pain from an overuse of tissues on the outer thigh and knee. The IT band is most often irritated as a result of poor training habits or low muscle flexibility. Running on banked roads or biking with improper posture can cause the leg to turn inward repeatedly and increase risk as well.
Athletes that put heavy stress on their knees, such as runners, jumpers, skiers, cyclists and soccer players, may experience patellofemoral syndrome. This can be a result of misaligned kneecaps, complete or partial dislocation, injury, thigh muscle tightness or flat feet, all of which can irritate soft tissue and joint lining.
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Gout Frequently Flares In Your Knee But You May Not Always Know That Your Knee Pain Is Due To Gout Heres How To Tell Since Prompt Treatment Can Reduce Your Risk Of Complications
Knee pain can be a common symptom of several types of arthritis, as well as many other conditions or injuries. If your knee stiffness is accompanied by a burning pain and is warm to touch, you may have a gout flare in the knee.
Though gout is most often associated with the big toe, gout tends to flare in areas that already have arthritis, says Robert Keenan, MD, a rheumatologist with Articularis Healthcare in Summerville, South Carolina. Although gout can strike in many different joints, as a general rule, gout works its way up the body. If its not treated, it works its way up from the big toe, through the ankle, to the knee, and then to the lower spine and so on.
Gout can affect both knees, but typically is felt more strongly in one knee say, where you may have arthritis wear-and-tear to begin with.
Learn more about what causes gout in the knee, as well as ways to treat the pain and prevent it in the future.
What Is Knee Pain
Pain is a common knee problem that can originate in any of the bony structures compromising the knee joint , the kneecap , or the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage of the knee. Knee pain can be aggravated by physical activity, as well as obesity, affected by the surrounding muscles and their movements, and be triggered by other problems . Knee pain can affect people of all ages, and home remedies can be helpful unless it becomes severe.
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Other Possible Causes Of Severe Knee Pain
In addition to the conditions listed above, severe knee pain can be related to an infectioneither an infection in the knee joint or a systemic infection, such as the flu, that causes an auto-immune reaction that leads to knee pain. Knee pain related to infection is discussed on the next page.
Other possible causes of severe knee pain in the absence of trauma include soft tissue injuries that can develop over time, such as severe tendinopathy and IT band syndrome. In these cases, knee pain often develops gradually, and knee pain is less likely to be accompanied by localized redness, swelling, and warmth.
Treatments For Pain Below Knee Cap
During a physical examination, your doctor will discuss your general health and the symptoms you are experiencing. He will ask you when your kneecap pain started and about the severity and nature of the pain . Your doctor will also ask you what activities cause the pain to worsen. To determine the exact location of the pain, your doctor can gently press and pull in front of your knees and knees. He may also ask you to squat, jump, or study during a test to test your knee and your body strength.
Make sure you have support to hold if needed. If these exercises are very simple, be careful to slowly increase the amount of resistance or weight. Weight gain or set number or repetition too quickly can cause or increase your knee pain. There are exercises you can do to strengthen your knee and legs to help prevent or reduce knee pain.
- Knee extension
If you are experiencing pain or are unable to complete this exercise on your own, seek the help of a doctor or physiotherapist who will perform a thorough examination and develop a personalized treatment plan to address your pain and goals. Start by trying to do 1 set , then repeat the exercise with 2 more than 10 sets to achieve a total of 3 sets per exercise. Seek advice from PT on how best to develop these exercises to challenge yourself further.
4. Home care
How can you take care of yourself at home?
5. Improve muscle strength
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Can Knee Pain Radiate Up Leg
When you have sciatica, you may experience the following knee symptoms:
In the front, sides, or back of the knee, a hot sensation, sharp pain, or dull ache may be felt. A person may also experience Having difficulty bearing weight on ones knee.
Knee weakness, especially when trying to straighten the leg, is also a common symptom of sciatica.
If you suffer from sciatica, you may also suffer from knee pain, buttock, thigh, calf muscles, and foot pain. Most frequently, sciatica pain will only affect one leg at a time, so pain in both knees is rare in this case.
How Do You Stop Knee Pain At A Young Age
Very often, knee pain in younger patients can be treated with conservative options, like:
- Resting the knee
- Physical therapy and stretching exercises to rebalance the knee
Depending on your symptoms and your activity level, you might also benefit from:
- Making sure you wear footwear thats designed for your specific sport or activity
- Making sure you warm up thoroughly before any activity
- Sticking to a regular leg exercise routine to keep your knee muscles strong and flexible
- Avoiding activities that cause pain in your knees
- Paying attention to early signs of pain to avoid overdoing it
Although knee pain in adolescents and young adults typically can be treated conservatively, you still need a medical evaluation. Delaying medical treatment can increase your risk of developing arthritis and other serious problems in the future. Dr. Van Thiel is skilled in diagnosing and treating knee problems in patients of all ages, including kids, teens, and patients in their 20s. If youre having knee pain, get the care you need to feel better and to prevent permanent joint damage. Contact the office and schedule a knee evaluation today.
Dr. Van Thiel treats patients from all over Wisconsin and Illinois including Rockford, Elgin, Huntley, Dekalb, Crystal Lake, Barrington, McHenry, Beloit and Algonquin.
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Complications Associated With Knee Pain
Knee pain due to growth or overuse may not cause severe complications in most teens. Knee injuries have an increased risk of recurrence, and the pain may worsen if left unmanaged. Medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis in obese teens, may cause increased pain.
If left untreated, teens with musculoskeletal disorders may also have an increased risk for worsening knee pain over time.
What Are Some Common Knee Problems
Many knee problems are a result of the aging process and continual wear and stress on the knee joint . Other knee problems are a result of an injury or a sudden movement that strains the knee. Common knee problems include the following:
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Treating Severe Knee Pain
Whether you injure your knee or slowly develop a chronic condition that leads to severe knee pain, you need to know what is causing the pain, the extent of damage done and what treatment options are available.
Instead of suffering with the pain and allowing further damage to occur, make an appointment to see your primary care physician or a knee specialist right away.
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What Are The Complications Of Knee Pain
Frequently, knee pain will disappear without ever finding a specific cause. Depending on the underlying cause of the pain, the condition can progress and lead to more serious injuries or complications. Usually, these complications are long term and result in worsening pain or an increasing difficulty to walk.
A Guide To Inflammation Overuse And Injury
From aches to injury, youve probably experienced knee pain at one time or another. For some, it may turn into a chronic condition. Identifying the cause can not only speed your recovery but help prevent future injuries as well.
Be sure to talk to your doctor or an orthopaedic physician for a formal diagnosis and before starting treatment.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
The PCL or posterior cruciate ligament is the partner of ACL, which we have just talked about. It is a different band of tissue that connects the thighbones to the shinbones and it also supports the knee. However, this PCL is not likely to get damaged or injured as ACL does.
The PCL ligament might injure if you take a hard blow to the front of the knees like getting into a car accident. Sometimes, this injury might also occur from missing steps while walking or twisting the knees.
Stretching the ligaments too further might also cause strains and back of knee pain. When enough pressure is asserted, the ligaments might tear into two parts. A PCL injury, along with pain, can also show the following symptoms:
- trouble walking
- swelling of your knees
Elevation, rest, and ice will help recover the PCL injury faster. You might require surgery if more than the ligament has been injured and you face other symptoms like instability or cartilage damage.
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Rheumatoid Arthritis Of The Knee
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes the tissue around the joint to become inflamed and thickened. Chronic inflammation often leads to damage and loss of cartilage.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs in about 0.6 percent of the U.S. population and is two to three times more common in women.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are similar to other types of arthritis in the knee:
What Causes Iliotibial Band Syndrome
ITB syndrome is a repetitive use injury that presents itself as localized pain to the outer part of the knee joint. It is a particularly common knee injury in runners, and cyclists, but can also be found in other athletes. The iliotibial band is a long thick band of fascial tissue that originates in the pelvis and extends down the side of the thigh and inserts into different parts of the knee. It is generally believed that ITB syndrome comes from irritation brought on by repetitive flexing and extending the knee in biking, running, and frequently walking downhill. There is not one simple cause for ITB syndrome. We will explore some of the common causes and what you can do if you think you are developing, or have, ITBS.
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Risk Factors For Developing Patellar Arthritis
While patellofemoral arthritis can affect anyone, there are certain factors that may increase your chances of developing patellar arthritis.
- those who have had knee injuries or surgeries in the past
- genetic predisposition to patella problems such as mal-alignment of the knee joint
- Muscle weakness, especially quadriceps weakness and the glute muscles of the hip
- Altered biomechanics in the knee most noted during walking
What Are The Symptoms Of Itb Syndrome
Initially, most people usually complain of a generalized dull achy pain to the outside of the affected knee especially during physical activity such as running, cycling, or walking. For ITB syndrome it is important to note that the pain is specifically on the outside of the knee. If it is found somewhere else around the knee it means that it is almost certainly something else. This pain usually occurs towards the end or just after a workout but goes away after a short time. Usually, the pain begins after a long or very intense workout. In the initial stage, the outside of the knee may be generally tender to the touch. Many people describe burning as another symptom along with the dull pain.
With time and continued physical activity the symptoms can grow stronger and make simple activities like walking a few feet or going up and down stairs in the house painful. Many people find that the pain becomes sharper and more focused on one specific area. Some individuals describe symptoms radiating up and down their leg. The pain also seems to become more apparent earlier in a workout and can linger for longer periods afterward. This pain can get so bad that it occurs at rest. In a small number of cases people felt a snapping or popping sensation with movement.
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Sprains Strains And Injuries
Sprains and strains happen when tissues in the knee become stretched by unusual or increased activity, or an awkward twist or trip.
PRICE, described above, should lead to a reduction in pain and improved movement within days, and a gradual improvement over the weeks to follow.
A sprain often resolves itself, but some problems can require more treatment. For example, an injury to the pad of tissue in the knee joint known as the meniscus may require surgery.
Too Slow/fast Running Cadence
Some research has shown that an individuals step rate, or cadence, while running might be too slow or fast causing an increase in impact forces on the foot and leg. In order to help individuals track their cadence, many smartphone applications are on the market today. RUNCADENCE is an application created by two physical therapists that helps novice and experienced runners modify their cadence in order to prevent running related injuries. Additionally, a Health Loft physical therapist will be able to provide a running evaluation on your running mechanics and provide a program to improve running cadence.
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Does Patellarfemoral Arthritis Hurt
Patellofemoral osteoarthritis may lead to knee pain in the advanced stages however the relationship between joint structure and pain is not fully appreciated.
There seems to be a higher relationship with increased pain with lateral patellar arthritis as compared to when the medial or the inside of the kneecap wears down the cartilage.
What is known is that the infrapatellar fat pad which lies underneath the kneecap is quite painful when it gets irritation. This fat pad has a lot of nerves that run to it so small changes in the area near the fat pad can cause significant pain.
Patellar arthritis may not cause pain with the loss of cartilage as much as it begins to continually irritate the infrapatellar fat pad.
Complementary And Alternative Therapies
A number of mind-body therapies, such as acupuncture and tai chi, may be used to treat knee pain, especially knee osteoarthritis.
While once popular, the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin have fallen out of favor for treating knee osteoarthritis. This is due to their lack of benefit based on scientific studies; although, some people may obtain mild relief. Like any medication, vitamin, or supplement, be sure to talk with your doctor first before taking it to be certain it is safe for you.
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Weakness Of Knee Extensors And Flexors/low Hamstring To Quadriceps Strength Ratio
Muscles need to work together, and if one muscle or muscle group is significantly stronger than the ones around it, they can damage those weaker muscles. ITB Syndrome is frequently caused by having quadriceps that are weaker than the hamstrings. Understrength quadriceps are not as capable of assisting in the fine control around the knee joint and will cause the ITB to be pulled excessively by other muscles. This also interferes with the legs ability to dissipate the impact forces of walking and running, putting that stress on the ITB. In both cases you are much more prone to irritating or damaging the ITB.