Knee Pain That Affects Your Daily Activities Or Your Normal Movement
Knee instability is prevalent. In severe cases, they create discomfort that impedes daily activities, including walking. You may experience this discomfort while bending your knee or consistently placing weight on it.
Also, knees are intended to flex in both directions and rotate somewhat. When a knee cannot accomplish these duties, mobility and the ability to do everyday activities such as sitting, standing, squatting, and kneeling are compromised.
Fractures Bursa Inflammation And Patellar Injuries
Fractures of the bones of knee are relatively common. The patella, or kneecap, may fracture due to a fall directly onto it or in car accidents, when the knee is driven into the dashboard. If the bone is displaced , surgery may be required for repair, but if the bone is in good position, a knee immobilizer and watchful waiting may be all that is required.
The head of the fibula on the lateral side of the knee joint can be fractured either by a direct blow or as part of an injury to the shin or ankle. This bone usually heals with little intervention, but fractures of this bone can have a major complication. The peroneal nerve wraps around the bone and can be damaged by the fracture. This will cause a foot drop, so do not be surprised if the physician examines your foot when you complain of knee problems.
With jumping injuries, the surface of the tibia can be damaged, resulting in a fracture to the tibial plateau. The mechanism of injury is jumping and landing on a fully extended, straightened knee. Since the femoral condyle sits on the tibial plateau to make the knee joint, it is important that it heals with the most even joint surface as possible to prevent future arthritis and chronic pain. For that reason, after plain X-rays reveal this fracture, a CT scan may be done to make certain that there is no displacement of the bones. This type of fracture may require surgery for repair.
Chronic Degenerative Meniscal Tear
If you’ve experienced swelling, joint pain, and a sensation that your knee is sticking or locking, the problem could be a chronic degenerative meniscal tear.
A meniscus is a rubbery cartilage cushion in your knee that helps to pad the joint. Each of your knees has two of them. “Sometimes these structures are torn during an injury, but in degenerative cases, the cartilage just becomes frayed and worn over time, resulting in a breakdown or tearing of the tissue,” says Dr. Breslow. When a meniscus is frayed, ragged edges or loose pieces may get stuck in the joint when it’s moving, causing a sensation that your knee is locking up. If this is happening, be sure to see your doctor.
How to treat it: Surgery is no longer the first-line treatment for this condition, says Dr. Breslow. “It used to be that most people got referred for an arthroscopic procedure to remove the torn meniscus or repair it,” she says. “But now research is showing that, in many cases, the condition can be treated non-operatively just as effectively.”
Clinicians are now more likely to recommend treating the condition with physical therapy. As is the case with patellofemoral pain syndrome, building up the muscles around the joint and in other parts of the body can ease pain, without the risk of complications. However, you may need surgery if a piece of the meniscus is interfering with the motion of the joint.
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Treating Knee Pain From Arthritis
Knee pain usually becomes worse as arthritis progresses. Many people with severe pain from arthritis choose to have surgery to relieve their symptoms and help repair the joint.
But surgery isnt right for everyone. Some of the more conservative options for treating knee pain from arthritis include medication and at-home strategies like exercise.
The exact treatment plan thats recommended for your knee pain will depend on factors such as severity of your pain, your age, your activity levels, and any other medical conditions you have.
Typically, your doctor will try the least invasive type of treatment, such as weight loss and medication, and then move down the line to consider surgery.
Because there are many considerations before turning to surgery, its crucial to discuss and explore all treatment options with your doctor.
How Does A Hyperextended Knee Affect My Body
In addition to symptoms like pain and swelling, it might be hard to use your knee like you usually can after its hyperextended. This is especially true if you damaged other parts of your knee like tendons, ligaments or your meniscus when you were injured. Your knee might buckle , and you might not be able to put weight on it like youre used to.
Dont play through the pain or try to walk it off if you hyperextend your knee. Ignoring symptoms can cause a mild injury to become worse, and can lead to more damage inside your knee.
See your healthcare provider if youre in pain or have trouble moving your knee.
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Can Knee Pain Be Treated Without Surgery
Yes. Its a good idea to discuss all of your treatment options with your doctor.
At Temple Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, we dont jump right into surgery. Instead, our first choice is often conservative treatment, including:
- Medications, like anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroid injections, such as cortisone
- Exercises or physical therapy to improve movement and strength
Torn Acl Symptoms And Signs
With an acute injury, the patient often describes that they heard a loud pop and then developed intense pain in the knee. The pain makes walking or weight-bearing very difficult. The knee joint will begin to swell within a few hours because of bleeding within the joint, making it difficult to straighten the knee.
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How Is Knee Pain In Teens Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your teens knee pain:
- Is there a known cause for the knee pain does it happen with certain movements or is there no specific known event?
- How long has the pain been present?
- Where on or around your knee do you feel pain?
- Does the pain wake you up at night?
Your provider will perform a physical exam, checking:
- Kneecap and knee stability.
- Alignment of lower leg, kneecap and thigh.
- Range of motion of hips and knees.
- Thigh muscle strength, flexibility, firmness.
Your provider may order imaging tests including X-rays or a CT scan or MRI .
You Cant Extend Your Knee Fully
Knee range of motion can become difficult after acute injuries because of pain, swelling, and inflammation. If you still cannot fully straighten your leg several days after an injury, it may be time to consult a sports medicine specialist. In some circumstances you may be walking around with an injury you dont know you have.
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Urgent Advice: Get Advice From 111 Now If:
- your knee is very painful
- you cannot move your knee or put any weight on it
- your knee is badly swollen or has changed shape
- you have a very high temperature, feel hot and shivery, and have redness or heat around your knee this can be a sign of infection
111 will tell you what to do. They can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone.
Go to 111.nhs.uk or .
You can also go to an urgent treatment centre if you need to see someone now.
They’re also called walk-in centres or minor injuries units.
You may be seen quicker than you would at A& E.
What Are Knee Pain Symptoms And Signs
- Chronic use/overuse conditions: osteoarthritis, chondromalacia, IT band syndrome, patellar syndromes, tendinitis, and bursitis
Below is a list of some of the more common causes of knee pain. This is not an all-inclusive list but rather highlights a few common causes of knee pain in each of the above categories.
Acute knee injuries
Fractures: A direct blow to the bony structure can cause one of the bones in the knee to break. This is usually a very obvious and painful knee injury. Most knee fractures are not only painful but will also interfere with the proper functioning of the knee or make it very painful to bear weight . All fractures need immediate medical attention. Many fractures require significant force, and a thorough examination is performed to detect other injuries.
Ligament injuries: The most common injury is the ACL injury. An ACL injury is often a sports-related injury due to a sudden stop and change in directions. The remaining ligaments are injured less frequently.
Meniscus injuries: The menisci are made of cartilage and act as shock absorbers between bones in the knee. Twisting the knee can injure the meniscus.
Dislocation: The knee joint can be dislocated, which is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Knee dislocation can compromise blood flow to the leg and have other related problems. This injury often occurs during a motor-vehicle accident when the knee hits the dashboard.
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What Types Of Doctors Treat Knee Injuries
Often, knee injuries are cared for by primary care providers who have the knowledge and skills to diagnose and treat many of the common knee injuries that occur. Orthopedic surgeons are involved in knee injury care to determine whether surgery might be required. They are also the specialists to perform the surgery. Physical therapists have an important role in the treatment of knee injuries regardless of whether surgery is required.
What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Arthritis Of The Knee
It might be helpful to arrive at your healthcare providers office with a list of questions you want or need to be answered. Consider:
- Do I have arthritis in one knee or both?
- What type of arthritis do I have?
- Whats a possible cause of my arthritis?
- What treatments do you recommend?
- What medications should I take?
- Do I need physical therapy?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Knee arthritis can affect people of all ages. Its painful, impairs movement and causes swelling of the joint. Some people are so disabled by it that they cant work anymore. Others can only work after surgery. Meanwhile, for others, the pain isnt necessarily as bad, but it still prevents them from regular activities like cleaning, gardening and running after their kids.
Arthritis of the knee can decrease your quality of life. The good news is that treatments can lessen the severity of your symptoms. The pain and swelling might not be as bad. See your healthcare provider for evaluation and treatment if you have symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/18/2021.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will do a physical examination and ask about your medical history. The physical examination might include checks to see:
- If your knee joint area is red or sore.
- If theres a sign you injured your knee.
- How much you can move your knee. This is called your range of motion.
- If your knee feels “loose,” which can mean your joint isnt stable.
- The way you walk, in case you have gait problems that affect your knee. A gait problem is when you dont walk as you would normally.
Simple Home Exercises And Stretches Can Help Ease Some Common Types Of Knee Pain
If youve got sore knees, exercise might seem like the hardest thing you can do but its also one of the best.
“Exercise is one of the most important things you can do for knee pain,” says Dr. Lauren Elson, an instructor in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School.
The right combination of strengthening and stretching exercises can relieve pain by helping to improve the way the joint moves and functions.
“The knee is often an innocent bystander between the hip and the foot. Knee pain is often caused by problems occurring above or below,” says Dr. Elson.
For example, weak hip muscles may cause more strain on the knee, intensifying your pain. Strengthening the muscles around the hip joint can help relieve it, says Dr. Elson.
In addition, knee pain is sometimes caused or aggravated by tight muscles around the knee, a problem that is often successfully addressed by stretching. If the muscles arent flexible, the knee joint sometimes wont move properly, says Dr. Elson.
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What Is A Meniscus Tear
A meniscus tear is a common knee injury. The meniscus is a rubbery, C-shaped disc that cushions your knee. Each knee has two menisci one at the outer edge of the knee and one at the inner edge. They keep your knee steady by balancing your weight across the knee. A torn meniscus can prevent your knee from working right.
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Your knee is the largest joint in your body, and it takes a massive force every step you take. 346% of your body weight goes through your knee when youre walking downstairs. Running can put 11 times your body weight through your knee joint. And the heavier you are, the greater the force.
Our knees have to be pretty extraordinary structures to be able to cope with this enormous strain.
As in all joints, the bones are coated in a layer of slippery cartilage which enables smooth, friction-free movement. In the middle of your knee are two rubbery, semi-circular pieces of cartilage called menisci, which provide additional shock absorption.
Small fluid-filled sacs called bursa also help with cushioning as you pound away at your knee joints.
Just as in any mechanical structure, repeated force or a sudden impact will cause the parts of your knee joint to get worn, torn or damaged.
The result is a pain in your knees. It may be a dull ache, or sharp, debilitating pain. It may be accompanied by swelling and a feeling of instability. It may change your life
No matter what the best thing you can do is get a diagnosis, and the sooner the better. Joints that take that much force on a daily basis rarely get better on their own. Many knee conditions can be resolved with physiotherapy if they are caught soon enough. Even if you need surgery, the sooner you can get treated, the less likely you are to have ongoing repercussions such as osteoarthritis.
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What Is A Hyperextended Knee
A hyperextended knee is an injury that happens when your knee is bent backward beyond its usual limit.
Sports injuries and other traumas apply a lot of force to your knees connective tissue . Any force that pushes your knee further back than its usual limit can cause a hyperextension injury. After your knee is hyperextended, it might feel unsteady or buckle when you try to put weight on it.
Knee hyperextensions range from mild cases that you can treat at home to more severe injuries that will need surgery to repair.
Hyperextended knees vs. ACL, PCL MCL and LCL tears
Your ACL and PCL connect your thigh bone to your shin bone . They both cross the middle of your knee. Your ACL is at the front of your knee and your PCL runs along the back, behind your knee.
You MCL and LCL are on the sides of your knee. They stabilize your knee and help it move sideways.
Its possible that an injury can damage one or multiple ligaments in your knee, including during a hyperextension. Severe hyperextensions are common causes of ACL and MCL tears.
However, not all hyperextensions lead to ligament tears, and its possible to strain or tear ligaments without hyperextending your knee.
How Do You Treat Weak Knees
Treatment for knee instability will vary depending on the specific cause. Treatments may include rest, ice, compression, and elevation, better known as the RICE method, as well as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain.
A knee brace may also be used in some cases.
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How Is A Meniscus Tear Treated
Treatment may include resting your knee, using ice on it, wrapping it with an elastic bandage, and propping it up on pillows. It may also include physical therapy and surgery. Your treatment depends on the type of tear, where it is, and how serious it is. It also depends on your age and how active you are.
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. That’s due to a lack of scientific proof. Always talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplements or medications.
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Who Commonly Gets Knee Pain
Anyone can suffer from knee pain for a multitude of reasons. IBJI treats patients of all ages with knee pain whether its a sports injury, arthritis, underlying disease, pain from carrying excess weight, or other causes.
- Carrying excess body weight
- Wear and tear or overuse
Not all knee pain is caused by an underlying disease. For example, you may have taken a fall or had an accident in which you sustained an injury resulting in knee pain. Not having enough physical activity may also cause some discomfort, as well as overuse without proper rest. Additionally, if you are overweight, the excess weight may put more pressure on your knees as you walk and move, resulting in knee pain.
Underlying conditions such as arthritis are another cause of knee pain. You may also have a knee syndrome, such as runners knee that is causing your pain.