A flexible, mobile knee joint is a wonderful thing because it allows you to live an active life – play sports, walk and run, sit and stand, and enjoy the full range of movement that a complex joint like the knee allows. However, the flexibility of the joint also causes problems – you are more likely to damage the joint or cause problems through overuse. You are on your feet for large portions of the day and the pressure bearing down on the knee often results in pain. Knee pain could come in the form of a dull ache. You may also experience swelling and redness, and there may be stiffness and weakness. You may not be able to bend the knee as normal, or put weight on it.
If your knee is painful there are many possible reasons for the discomfort. Here are the most common causes of knee pain and discomfort.
Ligaments, Cartilage and Tendons
- Torn Ligaments. The ligaments are bands of tissue that connect your bones and muscles. A common cause of knee pain is a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which connects the shin and thigh. This injury is commonly caused by sudden changes in direction while pressure is put on the knee.
- Torn Cartilage. Cartilage connects bones and muscle and you can cause inflammation and damage to the cartilage in the knee through overuse of the joint or injury.
- Tendonitis. An injury may also cause swelling and irritation to the tendons, which are tissues linking muscles and bones in the knee joint.
- Ligament Pain. Ligaments that are too tight and not flexible cause pain in the knee.
Bone and Other Joint Components
- Bursitis. A knee injury inflames the fluid-filled sacs called bursae that cushion the knee joint. This results in pain and discomfort as well as swelling.
- Bone Chips or Loose Cartilage. A tiny piece of bone may break loose from the joint or cartilage can be separated from the joint. The chips stay in the joint cavity and cause problems with knee mobility.
- Dislocated Kneecap.
- Osteoarthritis. One of the most common types of arthritis that affects the knee joint
- Gout. Another form of arthritis that is caused by a development of uric crystals in the knee joint.
If knee pain is affecting your everyday life, seek help from a pain management specialist. There are many different ways to treat knee pain – see the following article for more details.