But What Caused All Of These Issues In The First Place
With the vast majority of acute & chronic issues, its worth playing devils advocate & really diving deep into asking: what actually caused the issue in the first place? In the large majority of cases, there was a series of underlying factors that set the individual up towards experiencing their acute issue in the first place.
Take the example of the meniscal tear. More often than not, there are a whole host of factors that go into the injury occuring. Weve come up with a shortlist of some of the common factors below.
This is simply a shortlist of some of the key factors that we see going into someone experiencing an injury.
The bottom line is that in almost all cases, when someone comes to us with an injury their movement was not as good as it could have been, they didnt have the tissue strength to tolerate the activity they were doing & overall they had a lot of room to improve the way they moved.
If most people took this into consideration, found themselves a movement practice they enjoyed & focused on improving the way they move then injury would never be a problem.
What Else Could It Be
If you are still not sure what is causing your severe knee pain, visit the knee pain diagnosis section where we help you work out what is going on by thinking about the location of the pain e.g. front, back or side of the knee.
Alternatively, in the knee symptoms guide we look at other symptoms typically linked with knee pain such as pain when running or bending, knee locking, sharp pain or pain on the stairs. And remember, if you are suffering from severe knee pain, get checked out by your doctor as soon as possible.
Page Last Updated: 10/06/21
A Back Problem May Cause Tight Hamstrings And Knee Pain
If something has irritated a low-back nerve, you could feel pain, tightness, numbness, or other issues anywhere in the legs, including the hamstrings or knee. How is this possible? Because, as we mentioned, the nerves that branch off of your spine in the lower back supply the lower extremities all the way down to your toes and, therefore, irritation can be felt anywhere along the nerve supply chain.
What if your back doesnt hurt? When your back is the source of the pain, you may or may not have discomfort in your back, so not having back pain doesnt rule you out from a lower-back nerve irritation that may be causing your leg symptoms. In other words, your back may feel perfectly fine, yet, as the video below shows, your tight hamstrings and knee pain could be due to, for example, a pinched nerve in your back.
The upshot? If your hamstrings are chronically tight and/or you also have knee pain, make sure your doctor checks the low-back nerves that supply your hamstrings muscles as well. Its not hamstring knee pain, after all. Incidentally, also worth mentioning, just because an MRI shows a meniscus tear, unless there has been an obvious traumatic injury, this doesnt mean the meniscus tear is the source of your knee pain. If attempting to strengthen your hamstrings doesnt improve your hamstrings tightness and your knee pain, its time to focus farther up the kinetic chainyour back may be the real problem! hamstring knee pain
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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.
What Causes Knee Pain
Knee pain can have many different causes. Common causes of knee pain include:
- Overuse injury
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Pain On Front Of Knee With Eccentric Bending
If you get front of knee pain during activities such as squatting or going up and down stairs, this type of pain can come from either a patellofemoral problem as noted above, or from patellar tendonitis.
When you squat or go down stairs, gravity is actually doing the work of bending your knee. However, if you don’t want your knee to bend super fast , you have to use your quadriceps to slow down the motion. This is called using a muscle eccentrically, meaning the muscle is contracting while it’s lengthening.
This type of muscle contraction puts a lot of stress on the quadriceps muscle and patellar tendon, which can create patellar tendinitis or tendinopathy. This type of problem is a common causes of knee pain in jumping athletes, who have to control the bending of their knee while landing from a jump.
However, it can occur in non-athletes as well, particularly people who squat, lunge, or climb stairs a lot.
Keeping your weight more on your heels than your toes when squatting or going up stairs helps you use more of your gluteal muscles and less of your quadriceps muscles.
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.
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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.
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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Causes Of Inner Knee Pain
The inside or medial part of the knee contains a wide variety of bones, ligaments, and soft tissue structures, all contained within a relatively small area. Because of this, pain in this area of the joint can be tough to diagnose.
Several of the most common conditions that cause medial knee symptoms are listed below.
What Causes Knee Pain In Young Adults
Knee pain in your 20s is often associated with overuse injuries. When the muscles, ligaments or tendons are overworked, pain, stiffness and other symptoms can develop pretty quickly. Tendonitis and bursitis are a couple of overuse injuries that are most commonly associated with strenuous activity. But they can also occur in relatively inactive people who ramp up their activity too quickly. Still, while these types of injuries are fairly common in young adults, theyre not the only causes of knee pain.
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What Is Wear And Tear Arthritis
How can you tell if you have osteoarthritis?
If you have pain inside your knee, under your kneecap,especially when kneeling, squatting or going up and down steps, its usuallywear-and-tear arthritis, says Dr. Nickodem.
Cartilage, the cushioning betweenbones, deteriorates throughout life. It can erode more quickly in some peopledue to injury or genetics. As cartilage thins, your bones begin to rubtogether, causing pain, swelling and stiffness.
Sometimes the level of pain does notalways correlate to the severity of the condition.
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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When Should I Get My Teens Knee Pain Evaluated By A Healthcare Provider
Make an appointment to see your healthcare provider if:
- Your teens pain has lasted longer than two weeks or anytime theres an increase in pain level.
- Your teens knee is red, swollen or warm to the touch.
- Your teen cant put weight on their leg they limp.
- Your teens knee locks and cant move.
- Your teens kneecap feels like it slides out of place or the knee looks twisted.
- Your teen has knee pain during or after activity.
- Theres painful popping or clicking sound in your teens knee.
- Your teens knee doesnt have strength or full range of motion.
- Your teens pain wakes them up at night.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/30/2021.
Rear Of Knee Pain Brought On By Bakers Cyst
A Bakers cyst causes a swelling on the back of the knee in addition to pain as well as pain.
The cyst that bases on the rear of the knee is usually caused by arthritis or a tearing cartilage material. This results in a buildup of fluid that causes a bulge behind the knee.
Medical professionals from the Mayo Clinic state that swelling behind the knee can be a root cause of knee discomfort. You will likely find discomfort behind the knee when flexing, and also your signs might aggravate after physical activity. To deal with a Bakers cyst, medical professionals typically drain pipes the fluid to decrease swelling as well as soothe knee discomfort.
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How Can I Prevent Knee Pain
Although you canât prevent all injuries, you can take these steps to make them less likely.
- Stop exercising if you feel pain in your knee.
- If you want to make your workout more intense, always do it gradually.
- Stretch your legs before and after physical activity.
- Use kneepads to prevent bursitis, especially if you have to kneel a lot.
- Wear shoes that fit well and offer enough support.
- Keep your thigh muscles strong with regular stretching and strengthening.
- If youâre overweight, work to drop some pounds so thereâs less stress on all of your joints, including your knees.
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.
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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.
Lower Leg Bone Fracture
A bone break or fracture in one of your lower leg bones may be caused by falling or by a traumatic blow to your leg, such as a car accident.
This injury may cause severe calf pain. Additionally, your lower leg may be quite swollen, making it difficult to walk or bear any weight on your leg.
A complete bone break can cause your leg to look deformed. This can also happen if the broken bone does not heal properly. To prevent this from happening, you may need a cast or, in some cases, surgery.
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What Medical Conditions Cause Knee Pain
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can affect any joint in the body. It can cause severe pain and disability, as well as swelling.
Gout is a form of arthritis that is most commonly found in the big toe, though it can also affect the knee. Gout tends to flare up and is extremely painful during the acute episodes. When there is no flare-up, the knee can be pain free.
With , the knee joint can become infected this leads to pain, swelling, and fever. This condition requires antibiotics and drainage treatments as soon as possible.
Chronic use/overuse conditions
Patellar tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons connecting the kneecap to the shinbone . Patellar tendinitis is a chronic condition often found in individuals repeating the same motion during exercise .
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is caused by degeneration or stress under the kneecap where it meets the thighbone . Patellofemoral pain syndrome occurs in runners and cyclists.
Osteoarthritis: a wearing down of cartilage of the joint due to use and age
Prepatellar bursitis: Inflammation to the bursa in front of the kneecap may cause anterior knee pain.
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.
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