Sharp Knee Pain Causes By Activity
Page Last Updated: 12/06/21
What Symptoms Are Related To Joint Pain And Swelling
The symptoms of joint pain and swelling can vary from person to person, and depend on which joints are affected. The pain and swelling is often accompanied by stiffness, aches and a feeling of heat or warmth.
In some cases, it can lead to problems moving around, completing daily activities , and for some people, working.
Joint pain and swelling may be better or worse at different times of the day. For example, you may find that your joint pain and swelling is worst first thing in the morning. Pain and swelling in the joints can also lead to tiredness and fatigue.
Know The Cause Find The Right Treatment
There are numerous reasons for hip and knee pain, and finding the right treatment depends on discovering the root cause. Be especially mindful of swelling, redness, and warmth at the site. If pain continues during the night, see an orthopedist at Greater Rochester Orthopaedic in Rochester, NY as soon as possible.
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Pain Behind The Knee: Symptoms
Each case of pain behind the knee is different. However, there are some typical signs and symptoms doctors have identified, including the ones listed below.
- Inability to put weight on knee
- Reduced range of motion in knee joint
- Pain when trying to stretch the leg
There are some symptoms that can be an indication of a life-threatening health problem. For example, bruising on the back of the knee or calf, difficulty breathing, redness behind the knee of one leg, warmth behind the knee of one leg, and painful swelling can be signs of something serious.
Youre Simply Getting Older
Your joints have been supporting you your entire life, and that can be hard on them over timeespecially when it comes to weight-bearing joints like your knees and hips, says Michael B. Gerhardt, M.D., a sports medicine specialist and orthopedic surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles. Cartilage, a gel-like substance that helps cushion your joints, also wears down with time, he says.
Joint pain is extremely common as you age, Dr. Gerhardt says. Most of us, if we are fortunate enough to live long enough, will develop some sort of joint pain.
In addition to your knees and hips, you can also develop joint pain in your shoulders over time. The source is often repetitive lifting and reaching activities, says Gregory Gasbarro, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at The Shoulder, Elbow, Wrist and Hand Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
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Infections Can Cause Joint Pain
Joint pain may be one symptom of an infection, and can begin within a few hours. This type of pain will likely also include redness, swelling, and the inability to move the joint. One common diagnosis is , which is usually caused by a bacterial infection. This type of infection can also be accompanied by fever, and requires immediate treatment in order to prevent permanent damage to the affected joints.
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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How Is Arthritis Of The Knee Treated
Healthcare providers can’t cure knee arthritis. But they have some tips that might reduce the severity of your symptoms and possibly stop the arthritis from getting worse, including:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise using low-impact activities instead of high-impact activities . Aim for about 150 minutes of exercise per week.
- Wear shock-absorbing inserts in your shoes.
- Apply heat or ice to the area.
- Wear a knee sleeve or brace.
- Physical therapy exercises that help with flexibility, strength and motion.
- Use a cane.
Most people have stage 4 arthritis when they get surgery.
An Older Injury Is Stirring Up Problems Again
Having an injury earlier in your lifewhether it was treated or untreatedcan increase your risk of having joint pain later, Dr. Gasbarro says.
There are a few different ways this can happen, but problems like a ligament tear, tendon issues, or a bone fracture can lead to inflammation over time, Dr. Gerhardt says. Even though a doctor can help you manage symptoms, they cant go back in time and erase the injury. So, if you had a ligament tear in your knee in your 20s, for example, it sets you up for arthritis 10, 20, or 30 years later, he says.
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It Could Be A Sign Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is different than the wear-and-tear kind that commonly develops with age.
RA is an autoimmune disorder, and it disproportionally targets women: Of the more than 1.3 million people who have it, 75% are female. Its worrisome to see in young patients, says Orrin Troum, M.D., a rheumatologist at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. He explains that hes seen new mothers with such bad inflammation in their hands that they struggle to care for their babies.
Although not all these causes of joint pain can be cured, they can be treated. Some will require a course of antibiotics or other prescription meds. Others may improve on their own with time and rest. But any lingering pain in your joints should be reason enough to check in with your primary care doctor. Theyll likely refer you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in arthritis, to make sure you get the right diagnosis and treatment you need.
A Woman’s Aching Knees
The knee is formed by the femur , the tibia and the patella . It is essentially a hinge joint that is held in place by the medial collateral , lateral collateral , anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments .
Most of us have heard that women athletes are more prone to suffering from a traumatic knee injury. But what most people don’t know is that you don’t have to be a weekend warrior to end up with a serious knee problem. Each year, roughly 10 million women see their doctors for knee pain, often caused by activities that are not related to sports, such as lifting boxes, going up a flight of stairs or squatting too much while gardening.
Why are women winding up with more knee injuries? Researchers suspect one of the most likely causes is the way women are built. Women tend to have wider hips and are slightly knock-kneed and this alignment can create added stress on the joints. Another cause could be traced to a woman’s muscles. More often, women tend to use their leg muscles differently than men.
Here are some common knee problems women encounter and tips from UCSF orthopedic surgeons and knee specialists on how to prevent them:
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What Causes Pain From Knee To Ankle
Leg pain can affect people in any areas. It can appear as pain from knees to ankles, in the foot, in the knee, behind the knee, in the ankle, down the back of your leg, etc. In most cases, those who have pain from their knee to ankle have lower leg pain. Even though your legs are affected the most by your daily activities, you shouldnt be in pain. Pain in your lower legs may be due to issues with nerves, blood clots, or a number of other potential problems.
Who Is More Likely To Experience Joint Pain
Joint pain tends to affects those who:
- Have had previous injuries to a joint
- Repeatedly use and/or overuse a muscle
- Have arthritis or other chronic medical conditions
- Suffer from depression, anxiety, and/or stress
- Are overweight
- Suffer from poor health
Age is also a factor in stiff and painful joints. After years of use, and wear and tear on joints, problems may arise in middle-aged or older adults.
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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.
Causes Of Pain In Many Joints
In most cases, the cause of pain originating inside multiple joints is arthritis. Disorders that cause arthritis may differ from each other in certain tendencies, such as the following:
How many and which joints they usually involve
Whether the central part of the skeleton, such as the spine or pelvis, is typically involved
Whether arthritis is sudden or longstanding
Acute arthritis affecting multiple joints is most often due to
or psoriatic arthritis Psoriatic Arthritis Psoriatic arthritis is a spondyloarthritis and a form of joint inflammation that occurs in some people who have psoriasis of the skin or nails. Joint inflammation can develop in people who have… read more )
Chronic arthritis affecting multiple joints is most often due to
Some chronic inflammatory disorders can affect the spine as well as the limb joints . Some affect certain parts of the spine more frequently. For example, ankylosing spondylitis more commonly affects the lower part of the spine, whereas rheumatoid arthritis more typically affects the upper part of the spine in the neck.
The most common disorders outside the joints that cause pain around the joints are
Bursitis and tendinitis often result from injury, usually affecting only one joint. However, certain disorders cause bursitis or tendinitis in many joints.
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How Can Lifeline Help If I Fall And Hurt My Hip
As we outlined above, this is an extremely serious situation and acting fast can be crucial.
Make sure that your loved ones and medical help are never too far away to help you. Investing in a medical alert solution may also help you feel more confident.
Lifeline is an easy-to-use personal response service that lets you summon help any time of the day or night even if you cant speak. All you have to do is press your Personal Help Button, work on a wristband or pendant, and a trained Personal Response Associate will ensure you get help fast.
Help can be just a button push away!
Louise B. Murphy, Charles G. Helmick, Todd A. Schwartz, Jordan B. Renner, Gail Tudor, Gary G. Koch, Anca D. Dragomir, William D. Kalsbeek, Gheorghe Luta, Joanne M. Jordan. . One in four people may develop symptomatic hip osteoarthritis in his or her lifetime. Retrieved from
Beth W., Orenstein. . 5 Common Causes of Hip Pain in Women. Retrieved from
Zelman, David. MD. . Hip Osteoarthritis . Retrieved from
Allen, Victoria. . Elderly people who break their hip are three times more likely to die in the year following their accident. Retrieved from
What You Should Do Now:
What The Doctor Does
Doctors first ask questions about the person’s symptoms and medical history. Then they do a physical examination. What doctors find during the history and physical examination often suggests a cause for joint pain and guides the tests that may need to be done .
Doctors ask about pain severity, onset , how symptoms vary over time, and what increases or decreases pain . They ask about joint stiffness and swelling, previously diagnosed joint disorders, and risk of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases and Lyme disease.
Doctors then do a complete physical examination. They check all joints for swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness, and noises that are made when the joints are moved . The joints are moved through their full range of motion, first by the person without assistance and then by the doctor . This examination helps determine which structure is causing the pain and if inflammation is present. They also check the eyes, mouth, nose, and genital area for sores or other signs of inflammation. The skin is examined for rashes. Lymph nodes are felt and the lungs and heart examined. Doctors usually test function of the nervous system so that they can detect disorders of the muscles or nerves.
The following tests are the most important overall:
Tests of joint fluid
Blood tests for autoantibodies
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate and C-reactive protein
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What Is The Knee Joint
Three bones come together to form your knee joint. They include the:
- Thighbone .
- Shinbone .
- Kneecap .
A smooth substance called cartilage covers the ends of each bone. Its a cushion between the bones that keeps them from rubbing together. The synovial membrane, a type of tissue that surrounds the joint, lubricates the cartilage.
Arthritis of the knee causes pain and swelling in the joint
Sprains And Torn Cartilage
Ligament sprains of the knee are usually caused by a blow to the knee or a sudden twist of the knee, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Common symptoms include feeling a pop, pain, swelling, instability , or difficulty walking, says Gotlin.
Torn cartilage, which can occur with injuries of the knee or with arthritis, is another common cause of knee pain, adds Gotlin. Trauma to the knee can tear the menisci, which are cushioning pads of connective tissue that also absorb shock located within the knee joint. Knee buckling, swelling, and pain during specific motions may indicate torn cartilage.
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How Is Joint Pain Treated
Although there may not be a cure for the pain, it can be managed to bring the patient relief. Sometimes the pain may go away by taking over-the-counter medication, or by performing simple daily exercises. Other times, the pain may be signaling problems that can only be corrected with prescription medication or surgery.
If those medications or treatments do not ease the pain, the doctor may prescribe:
- Supportive aids, such as a brace, cane, or orthotic device in the shoe, can help support the joint to allow ease of movement. The doctor, physical or occupational therapist, or social worker will be able to assist with the right option available.
- Physical or Occupational Therapy, along with a balanced fitness program, may gradually help ease pain and improve flexibility.
- Antidepressants may be prescribed to help improve sleep for a patient suffering from joint pain.
- Steroids, often given by injection into the joint, provide short-term relief of pain and swelling.
- Painkilling drugs that help ease pain.
Please note that medicine, even those available over the counter, affects people differently. What helps one person may not work for another. Be sure to follow the doctors directions carefully when taking any medicine, and tell him or her if you have any side effects.