Knee Pain And Problems
Knee pain is a common complaint among adults and most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities like walking, bending, standing and lifting. Athletes who run or play sports that involve jumping or quick pivoting are also more likely to experience knee pain and problems. But whether an individuals knee pain is caused by aging or injury, it can be a nuisance and even debilitating in some circumstances.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury
The anterior cruciate ligament or ACL is among the four ligaments that unite the shin bone with the thigh bone. ACL injury can cause severe knee pain. Generally, partial or complete over-stretching of the ligament leads to the injury. Abruptly shifting direction while running, walking, or playing sports such as soccer and basketball can trigger an ACL injury. A “popping” sound can accompany the event, and the knee will usually swell over the next hours.
Knee Pain From Arthritis
Knee pain can also be the result of damage to the knee joint from arthritis. Knee osteoarthritis risk factors include age, being overweight, family history, or a history of knee trauma, such as one of the injuries listed above.
If you’re experiencing knee pain or stiffness that comes and goes, or pain that gets worse after inactivity , this may be the result of arthritis.
To learn more about the ways arthritis can affect the knees, visit Arthritis-health’s article: What Is Knee Osteoarthritis?
Both knee injuries and knee arthritis have treatment options that can decrease pain and help you maintain mobility and strength, so see your doctor if you’re having trouble with knee pain.
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What To Do For Knee Pain Relief
Whatever the cause of the pain in your knee joint, there are certain things you can do to help manage your discomfort.
If you have mild to moderate knee pain and stiffness, you can try to ease your symptoms by limiting the amount of weight you place on your knees. For example, try not to stand for a long period of time.
With that in mind, its also important to balance rest with adequate exercise. Activities, such as walking, swimming and yoga, can help to improve strengthen, increase flexibility and reduce knee stiffness.
Another option is to use the RICE method:
- Rest taking the appropriate amount of rest
- Ice applying ice to reduce swelling
- Compression – compressing or wrapping the knee with a bandage
- Elevate keep your knee elevated on a pillow when lying down.
Calf Or Hamstring Strain Or Cramp
Sudden activity and overuse are two leading causes of pain behind the knee due to a calf or hamstring strain or cramp, according to Dr. Tanaka. Movements that require pushing off or severe knee bending cause this calf and hamstring pain, respectively. Both can be managed with ice, rest, gentle stretching, and anti-inflammatories however, one should seek care if there is swelling or persistent pain associated with this to rule out blood clots, Dr. Tanaka says. Dr. Lyons adds that although an orthopedist could treat this, if you cant bear weight on the knee or are at risk of falling, then its time to go to the emergency room. Heres what else could be causing pain in your calf.
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Can Orthotics Hurt Your Knees
If your orthotics are right for you and designed to meet the unique structural needs of your feet, these shoe inserts can relieve stress and strain on the foot. Unfortunately, if your orthotics are not properly fitted, they can contribute to your knee pain rather than alleviate it.
Orthotics can often change the way the user holds and moves their body while walking or standing, altering weight distribution and foot mechanics. An extreme example is a person wearing high-heeled shoes. Similarly, using an orthotic insert will lift one part of the foot, changing the persons entire posture. Even if the change in posture is slight, if done incorrectly, over time it can cause stress and strain above and beyond the original condition.
Risk Factors For Knee Pain
The following factors may increase the risk for knee pain in teens .
- Overweight and obesity may increase strain on knee joints
- Lack of muscle strength and flexibility may make the knee joint unstable during motion
- Certain sports involving repeated jumps, such as alpine skiing and basketball, may increase chances of knee pain
- History of knee injury can increase the risk of knee pain and further knee injuries
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How Is Knee Pain In Teens Treated
Treatments depend on the cause of your teens pain.
Pain from overuse and general knee pain management tips include:
- Apply ice to the knee. Ice, wrapped in a towel, relieves inflammation and swelling. Apply up to 20 minutes at a time.
- Take anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen , naproxen or aspirin, to reduce pain and swelling.
- Rest. Rest allows tissue to heal. Your teen should take some time off from the activity that caused the pain.
- Use compression around your knee if prescribed by your healthcare provider or physical therapist.
- Elevate the knee to reduce swelling. Keep the injured knee elevated above the level of the heart anytime your teen is sitting or icing their knee.
- Follow through with the physical therapy plan. Physical therapy can help relieve pain, reduce swelling, increase strength and flexibility, improve range of motion, increase speed and endurance and improve coordination and balance. Physical therapists teach strengthening and stretching exercises and can suggest braces, insoles or other orthotics as appropriate.
- Lose weight if overweight. Extra weight puts strain on the knee joint.
- Take anti-inflammatories to reduce pain.
- Apply ice to reduce pain and swelling.
- Commit to an exercise program.
- Relieve pain and discomfort through electrotherapy and/or hydrotherapy .
Sindling-Larsen Johansson syndrome:
- Soft tissue treatments, including myofascial release, trigger points, massage.
Treatment And Prevention Tips For Pain Behind The Knee
When you experience knee pain that doesnt go away within a day or two, you should seriously consider health care. Here are a few tips on protecting your knee in situations where you might have a minor knee injury or experience reoccurring knee problems.
- Avoid activities that cause pain
- Apply ice
- Keep knee raised to bring down any swelling
- Sleep with a pillow underneath or between your knees
- Avoid running up and down stairs walk carefully
- Dont forget to warm up before exercising or engaging in sports
- When you run, do it on smooth, soft surfaces instead of rough pavement
- Swim instead of running
- If you are overweight, consider ways to lose a few pounds
- Make sure you wear well-made running shoes
- Consider shoe inserts for better arch support
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When To See A Healthcare Provider
If you are unsure of the cause of your symptoms, or if you do not know how to treat your condition, you should contact your healthcare provider. Your treatment will depend on the specific cause of your calf pain.
Some signs that you should be seen by a healthcare provider include:
- Inability to walk comfortably on the affected side
- Injury that causes deformity of the lower leg
- Calf pain that occurs at night or while resting
- Calf pain that persists beyond a few days
- Swelling of the calf or ankle joint area
- Signs of an infection, including fever, redness, warmth
- Any other unusual symptoms
Common Causes Of Pain Behind The Knee
Sometimes pain behind the knee is simply due to muscle strains. These injuries usually heal in a matter of days. However, this is only one possibility. There can also be pain behind the knee as a result of systemic diseases or some life-threatening conditions. Below we take a look at just what the different potential causes are.
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How Long Does Knee Pain In Teens Last
There is no specific duration for knee pain in teens. It may vary depending on the severity and type of underlying conditions. Knee pain due to overuse may relieve immediately with rest. Knee pain due to knee injuries, such as ligament tear, may even continue after treatment until the injury heals.
Growing pains in the knee are experienced during growth spurts in teenagers. This type of pain may resolve once the growth is completed.
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.
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Problems In The Patella
Other common causes of knee pain are the problems in the patella, such as the patellar condropathy, which is the wear of the joint around the patella or the patellar condromalacia, which is the softening of the cartilage of the patella. Generally, the causes of the problems on the patella are aging, obesity, boring foot or sports like running, for example.
The lesions on the patella can cause knee pain when squat or knee pain when going down stairs, plus feeling that the knee is coming out of place.
What to do: for jogging practitioners, the counselor is to switch from sport temporarily to swimming or hydrogymnastics until having the musculature of the knee strengthened. Physiotherapy can help in the strengthening of the knee and after pain relief, physical educator-oriented musculation can be done. In addition, the doctor can make injection of hyaluronic acid in the knee and, in the most severe cases, surgery can be recommended.
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.
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When Going To The Doctor
It is important to consult with the orthopedist or a physiotherapist when:
- The pain lasts longer than 3 days, even after rest and application of icy compresses
- The pain is very intense when doing daily activities such as passing foot clothes, taking the child in the lap, walking or climbing stairs
- The knee does not fold or makes noise when moving around
- The knee finds itself deformed
- Surgery other symptoms like fever or tingling
In these cases, the orthopaedist can ask for an x-ray examination or a magnetic resonance to make the diagnosis of the problem and recommend the proper treatment.
Can You Prevent Knee Problems
Not all knee problems are avoidable, but you can lessen your chance of problems by participating in regular strength training. To protect your knees, it’s important to have a very strong core and strong legs, says Dr. Rebecca Breslow, an instructor in orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School. Make an effort to perform strength training at least twice a week. In addition, work on increasing joint flexibility, which can also help you head off an injury.
Superior Tibiofibular Joint Dislocation
Your tibiofibular joint is the joint where your knee meets the top of your shin bone. A dislocation of the tibiofibular joint is incredibly painful and is normally caused by an impact to the knee while in a fully bent position.
Symptoms of a superior tibiofibular joint dislocation include:
- Pain and swelling near the shin bone
- A protrusion of the shin bone in relation to your knee joint
Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Straighten It
Your knee is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles and tendons. When you extend your knee, your quadriceps muscles tighten, and your hamstrings relax. Pain on knee straightening is usually indicative of damage or overuse of the quadriceps muscles, leading to tiny tears in its tendon. Pain may also occur due to any damage to the joint itself. You may get pain specifically in the back of the knee due to cyst formation following injury of the joint.
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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.
Pain Tenderness Warm Or Red Skin Or A Swelling Behind The Knee
May be the indication of a blood clot in the popliteal vein. This is also called a thrombosis, and the block would restrict the circulation of blood in your leg. More importantly a clot could form an aneurysm, which is an abnormal bulging in the vein walls, and could lead to a pulmonary embolism. If you suspect you have a blood clot it is imperative that you see a doctor as soon as possible. Your body can eventually break up small clots, but you may be sent for a CT scan to investigate the blood clot and given a prescription for blood-thinning medication.
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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.
Severe Pain With Obvious Deformity
If severe knee pain is accompanied by an obvious deformity there is most likely a fracture or dislocation on one of the knee bones. If this is the case, you will usually be able to pinpoint the time it happened there will have been a fairly major trauma such as a fall, hard tackle or RTA, and you will have excruciating knee pain. Bones dont just break or dislocate without you knowing it.
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Find Chronic Knee Pain Treatment Near You
Theres no need to suffer through chronic knee pain, especially when the Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvanias physicians are here to help. While surgery may end up being the best option, it is never the first one we suggest. We opt instead to work with each patient to find non-invasive ways to treat chronic pain.
With numerous locations across Pennsylvania, were dedicated to helping you live a pain-free life. To request an appointment at one of our locations, simply fill out the form online or call 717-761-5530.
Potential Causes Of Pain Radiating From Hip To Knee
Most hip pain is caused from overworking the muscles either by repetitive stress or overdoing exercises. The pain is caused by inflammation of the soft tissues and tendons of the hip. Usually this pain is relieved in a few days. Prolonged hip pain can be the cause of a specific condition. When the hip joint is injured, pain can be felt in the groin all the way down to the knee. Sometimes knee pain is the only sign that the hip is injured â this is called referred pain.
A slipped lumbar disc in your lower back can also cause pain that is felt in your hip. With a lumbar disc injury, your knee and leg may also feel weak. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of your spinal cord and nerves, which can cause isolated hip pain felt along with a numb feeling in the knees and legs. A sprain in your lower back, or a lumbosacral sprain, is an injury to the ligaments in your lower back. Pain from this injury accumulates to one side of the spine around the hip, making it difficult to bend or twist.
All these hip pain causes can be treated with conservative, therapeutic treatments.
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