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What Causes Severe Knee Pain

What Is Joint Pain

Knee pain causes and treatment options

Joint discomfort is common and usually felt in the hands, feet, hips, knees, or spine. Pain may be constant or it can come and go. Sometimes the joint can feel stiff, achy, or sore. Some patients complain of a burning, throbbing, or grating sensation. In addition, the joint may feel stiff in the morning but loosen up and feel better with movement and activity. However, too much activity could make the pain worse.

Joint pain may affect the function of the joint, and can limit a persons ability to do basic tasks. Severe joint pain can affect the quality of life. Treatment should focus not only on pain but also on the affected activities and functions.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

Another common area of injury is the anterior cruciate ligament, known as the ACL. This is a band of tissue running connecting the bones of the knee joint, running through the front of the knee to maintain stability in the joint.

Athletes who stop and start a lot, or who suddenly change direction, are more prone to this injury and, as before, you may hear a pop as the ligament tears, followed by later pain and swelling in the affected area.

Tearing this ligament is considered a serious injury, and has been known to bench pro athletes for a long time in some cases, even putting them out of the game permanently. In most cases, you will require reconstructive surgery to fix the injury.

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.

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Schedule An Appointment Today

Knee surgery has significantly advanced in recent years, eliminating reasons for anyone to suffer with chronic, severe knee pain. Take care of your knees now and bring an end to your pain.

If you are suffering with bad knee pain and would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Likover, a leading knee specialist in Houston, contact us now. Dr. Likover provides complete knee care for his patients. Whatever type of treatment your knee needs, he can provide it.

Common Causes Of Knee Pain

What Causes of Knee Pain

Your knee is a complex structure. It includes three bones:

  • The lower part of the thighbone
  • The upper part of the shinbone
  • The kneecap

Strong ligaments and tendons hold these bones together. Cartilage under the kneecap cushions and stabilizes the bones.

Any damage or disease in these structures can cause knee pain.

Common causes of knee pain include:

  • Arthritis

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Home Care For Knee Pain

Inflammation is the body’s physiologic response to an injury. In treating many types of knee pain, a common goal is to break the inflammatory cycle. The inflammatory cycle starts with an injury. After an injury, substances that cause inflammation invade the knee to assist in healing. However, if the injury and subsequent inflammation is not resolved, inflammation can become a chronic issue, leading to further inflammation and additional injury. This cycle of inflammation leads to continued or progressive knee pain. The cycle can be broken by controlling the substances that cause inflammation, and by limiting further injury to tissue.

Some common home care techniques for knee pain that control inflammation and help to break the inflammatory cycle are protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This regimen is summarized by the memory device PRICE.

PROTECT the knee from further trauma.

  • This can be done with knee padding or splinting.
  • A pad over the kneecap, for example, helps to control the symptoms of some knee injuries by preventing further repetitive injury to the prepatellar bursae.

REST the knee.

  • Rest reduces the repetitive strain placed on the knee by activity.
  • Rest both gives the knee time to heal and helps to prevent further injury.

ICE the knee.

COMPRESS the knee with a knee brace or wrap.

  • Compression reduces swelling.
  • In some knee injuries, compression can be used to keep the patella aligned and to keep joint mechanics intact.

ELEVATE the knee.

What Causes Chronic Knee Pain

Temporary knee pain is different from chronic knee pain. Many people experience temporary knee pain as a result of an injury or accident. Chronic knee pain rarely goes away without treatment, and it isnt always attributable to one incident. Its most often the result of several causes or conditions.

Physical conditions or diseases can cause knee pain. These include:

Factors that may make chronic knee pain worse:

  • injuries to the structure of the knee can cause bleeding and swelling and can create a chronic problem over time if not treated properly
  • injections

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Medications And Steroid Injections

  • Corticosteroids. The most effective type of medicine for knee arthritis, triamcinolone acetonide , is the only FDA-approved medication to treat osteoarthritis of the knee. This is a corticosteroid injected into your knee that releases medicine slowly over a 3-month period. The slow release of the medicine has been found to relieve pain and swelling and reduce some of the negative side effects of steroids, such as increased blood sugar.
  • Topical pain relievers. The Arthritis Foundation recommends that people who have knee arthritis try topical pain relievers which is medicine you apply directly on the skin, instead of taking by mouth because it can help relieve pain without as many side effects.
  • Hyaluronic acid injection. Although more research on this remedy for knee arthritis is needed, it has often been used to help supplement fluids in the knee joint to decrease pain.

What Can You Do For The Pain

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The things you can do for your knee pain will depend on your knee pain and injury.

Sharp pain and dull pain will need different treatment plans, and traumatic injuries will need different treatments than slow, gradual knee pain.

Here are a few things you can do to accelerate the healing process:

  • Rest your knee and take a few days off from intense activity.
  • Ice it to curb pain and swelling.
  • Compress your knee with an elastic bandage, straps, or sleeves to wrap the joint.
  • Elevate your knee with a pillow under your heel when youre sitting or lying down
  • Take anti-inflammatory medications. These drugs can have side effects, so dont use them long-term
  • Practice stretching and strengthening exercises recommended by your doctor.
  • Start physical therapy

Contact your doctor if you have tried home treatments for two weeks but still havent found relief.

If you get a fever along with your painful knee, go to the doctor right away.

Depending on the cause of your knee pain, you may need extra help from a doctor.

If you have bursitis, your doctor may need to draw out extra fluid from the bursa in your knee.

Or, if you have arthritis, you may need a corticosteroid shot to reduce inflammation.

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The Terrible Triad: Part Iii

It follows that if you tear the root of the meniscus the stress in the knee increases. You already have arthritis, so the cartilage cushion was thin and less protective. All of this causes an increase in the pressure within the bones in the knee. In many of you that will lead to a stress fracture or an insufficiency fracture. Those insufficiency fractures of the knee cause a ton of inflammation which shows up on an MRI as bone marrow edema. It takes at least 1-3 days or more for the stress fracture to occur following a root tear. Thats why the pain worsens over the next few days after you felt the pop.

The bone marrow edema caused by the insufficiency fracture causes severe pain. The meniscus is not the most likely cause of pain in this situation. Bone is a confined space, and it can not expand. If you have inflammation and swelling in the bone, then the pressure in the bone will increase. Thats why an infected tooth hurts so much, that infection is in a tight space, so the pressure rises, and it is the pressure that hurts so much.

The terrible triad hurts a lot. That usually leads to a visit to your doctor or an Orthopedic Surgeon. An MRI reveals the findings I mentioned earlier.

Symptoms And Signs Of Teenage Knee Pain

The location of the pain may vary depending on the underlying cause. Some children may have anterior knee pain, while others may have posterior knee pain. The following signs and symptoms can be associated with knee pain in most teens .

  • Pain intensity increases over time
  • Redness
  • Pain felt during knee flexion
  • Popping sounds heard from the knee during movements
  • Problems in weight-bearing on leg
  • Inability to keep knees fully flexed or extended

Severe knee pain and other symptoms require pediatric consultation. Doctors may help to identify the cause of pain and treat it.

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The Common Causes Of Severe Knee Pain

Most people experience knee pain at some point in their lives. Sports, exercise, and other activities can cause muscle strains, tendinitis, and more serious injuries to ligaments and cartilage.

Its difficult to pinpoint the exact number of people who experience knee pain over their lifetime, but we do know the rates of how many people experience pain severe enough to turn to knee replacement surgery: In 2017, 966,000 knee replacement surgeries were performed in the United States.

The severity of knee pain can vary widely and depends on factors such as the cause and your age. For some, knee pain can be so severe that it limits daily activities. For others, mild knee pain may be a chronic hindrance to the active lifestyle they desire. The location of knee pain can also vary.

For example, the Clinical Journal of PainTrusted Source found that the most commonly reported location of knee pain is in the middle of the knee, in the joint that connects the thighbone to the shinbone. The second most common area people experience knee pain is in the kneecap area. Some people experience a combination of the two.

Here are some of the most common conditions and injuries that cause severe knee pain.

What Is Knee Pain

Knee pain causes

Knee pain can occur for many reasons, most commonly because of overuse, injuries or arthritis. You can experience knee pain at any age, but older people are more likely to develop it due to degeneration of the joint, a condition known as osteoarthritis.

Depending on whats causing your pain, you may feel better with rest, anti-inflammatory medication and ice. If you have a more severe injury, you may need a procedure or a surgery.

Surgeons often use minimally invasive types of surgery to repair damage to the knee like torn tendons or ligaments. These types of injuries can cause knee instability and pain. In cases when the damage is severe, your healthcare provider may recommend knee replacement surgery.

Knee anatomy

The knee is made of

  • Skin.
  • Cartilage – protective lining and shock absorber for the bones.
  • Meniscus – a type of cartilage to cushion deep in the joint.
  • Tendons- fibers that connect muscles to bones.
  • Ligaments- tissues that attach bones to other bones.
  • Bursa- thin protective pads under the skin.

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Can Growing Pains Occur In Just One Leg

Usually growing pains occur bilaterally or in both legs. These pains usually occur deep in the thigh or calf in school-aged children. They generally occur at night with resolution by morning. If your child is experiencing pains in just one leg, consider bringing them for medical evaluation. One-sided leg pain can be indicative of infection, musculoskeletal injury or deformity, or other serious conditions such as a tumor.

Severe Knee Pain Symptoms

Severe Knee Pain & Swelling: Severe knee pain accompanied by knee swelling usually indicates a problem inside the knee joint. The most likely culprits are a ligament sprain or cartilage tear.

Severe Knee Pain & Instability: Severe knee pain accompanied by instability usually points to a ligament injury. If the knee gives out completely i.e. collapses so that you stumble or fall, it is likely that you have ruptured one of the knee ligaments, such as a complete ACL tear. If however the knee feels wobbly but doesn’t actually give way, it’s likely that a ligament was overstretched but remains intact, known as a knee sprain.

Swollen, Red & Hot Knee: Severe knee pain that is accompanied by swelling, redness and heat is most likely due to gout or septic arthritis or cellulitis and may require antibiotics.

Sudden, Severe Knee Pain: Severe knee pain that comes on very suddenly at night with no obvious cause usually indicates gout knee. If however the severe knee pain started after some kind of accident e.g. fall, RTA or sports, then you may have broken or dislocated part of the knee. Knee cap injuries are particularly common.

Severe Knee Pain With Deformity: If your knee looks deformed or out of shape, you problem have some kind of bony injury. If there is a large obvious lump on the outer side of the knee, you’ve probably got a dislocated kneecap.

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How To Diagnose Chronic Knee Pain

There are two steps to getting a chronic knee pain diagnosis: a consultation with a doctor, and any potential imaging or lab tests.

The doctor will determine which diagnostic lab tests are needed after they have performed a physical examination of your knee. They will ask you to bend the knee and may feel around to see if certain areas hurt more. Their conclusions will dictate which lab tests will be needed.

Lab or imaging tests for chronic knee pain diagnoses can include X-rays, blood work, MRIs or CT scans. You may need to go in for multiple imaging or lab tests, so the doctor can diagnose what type of chronic knee pain you have, so you can begin the appropriate treatment.

How To Relieve Pain Behind The Knee

What are the causes of knee pain?

You can efficiently treat some of the mentioned conditions at home. However, more severe conditions should be treated by your doctor. For example, suppose the pain behind the knee becomes more intense and starts to interfere strongly with your daily activities. In that case, you should immediately visit the healthcare provider and get proper treatment of the condition that causes the pain.

But, when we talk only about the sense of the pain, you may wonder what can help you at the moment when youre feeling it? How to relieve pain behind the knee by yourself?

The first thing you should do is to get off your feet and get proper rest. The RICE rest, ice, compression and elevation treatment can be very helpful. First, lay down and raise your leg high, above the level of your heart. Then, put a cold pack in a cloth or towel and leave it on your knee for 10-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Cold packs can help decrease inflammation of joints. When youre up, make sure you have snugged an elastic bandage around the knee.

If you have a problem with tight muscles, you can relax them with warm showers, hot packs, or a heating pad. Important notice: dont put the heat on an inflamed joint.

You could also massage the affected area with sports creams that cause a cold or hot effect. The massage will also relax the muscles.

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Injured Knees Continue Degenerating If Untreated

Often when the cause of bad knee pain is left untreated it can lead to further injury and serious complications.

Your knee may swell, become unstable, lock up, and/or develop a deformity. Unbearable knee pain will not go away until you finally seek treatment. By then, the damage could be much worse and treatment options more limited.

Whether the cause of your severe knee pain is an injury or progressive disease, dont put off getting a medical diagnosis. Find out what is causing your pain and get the relief you need now.

Can Dehydration Cause Pain In The Back Of The Knee

In general, dehydration does not cause pain in the back of the knee. However, if you are dehydrated, you may experience cramping of your muscles. This is due to electrolyte imbalances leading to muscle irritation. This can lead to pain in the back of your leg if those muscles cramp. Most commonly, dehydration leads to exhaustion, thirst, muscle cramps, and dizziness.

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Facts You Should Know About Knee Pain

  • Knee pain is a common problem with many causes, from acute injuries to complications of medical conditions.
  • Knee pain can be localized to a specific area of the knee or be diffuse throughout the knee.
  • Knee pain is often accompanied by physical restriction.
  • A thorough physical examination will usually establish the diagnosis of knee pain.
  • The treatment of knee pain depends on the underlying cause.
  • The prognosis of knee pain, even severe knee pain, is usually good although it might require surgery or other interventions.

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