Knee pain is defined as a sensation of discomfort or pain in the knee, caused by overuse, poor form during physical activity and lack of proper warm up.
The knee coordinates with a number of structures including bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage to perform its functions. Any abnormality or external harm to either of these can result in knee pain. Obesity is also known to be a cause of knee pain.
Knee pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint causing visits to the doctor.
Forms of Knee Pain
For proper diagnosis of the problem of knee pain, it is important to identify and understand its form. Here we list some of the most common forms of knee pain:
i) Popping: Popping and snapping within the knee is very common and often is not indicative of a disease. However, when these sounds are associated with pain, they may be indicative of a torn ligament.
ii) Crunching/Grinding: Commonly found in arthritis, this sound is associated with the bones grinding against each other.
iii) Locking: Where a patient cannot bend or straighten his knee.
iv) Instability: When the ligaments that provide support are torn, they may give way beneath the patient and cause instability.
v) Swelling: The occurrence of swelling normally accompanies injuries of various types or due to an internal condition such as arthritis.
In addition, the location (front, inside, outside or back) and timing (going down or climbing up stairs, morning pain) of the pain also indicate the underlying cause.
Conditions of Knee Pain
Knee pain either presents itself as acute or immediate and chronic i.e. long-term. While the acute knee pain is caused by an acute injury or infection, chronic knee pains are often a result of injuries or inflammation. Here we list some of the common conditions associated to knee pain.
A) Acute knee pain
· Sprained ligaments
· Tendon ruptures
· Meniscal injuries
· Baker’s cyst
· Knee dislocation
· Dislocated kneecap
B) Chronic knee pain
· Rheumatoid arthritis
· Crystalline arthritis
· Plica Syndrome
· Patellofemoral Syndrome
· Jumper’s knee
· Iliotobial band syndrome
· Osgood-Schlatter Disease ( in children)
Treatment for Knee Pain
The treatment plan for knee pain depends entirely on the original cause of the pain. Here we list some of the most important and commonly used treatment options for knee pain:
· Ice and heat application
· Physical therapy
· Foot orthotics
· Anti-inflammatory medications
· Cortisone injections
As a last resort, there are various surgical options available for relief from knee pain. These include:
i) Anterior Cruciate Ligament Surgery
ii) Arthroscopic Knee Surgery
iii) Total Knee Replacement Surgery