What Is The Knee?
The knee pain is the largest joint pain in the body. It is a hinge joint made up of cartilage, muscles, and tendons that joins your upper leg with your lower leg, and is essential for walking and bending. When it is not functioning right it can be very painful.
Who Gets Knee Pain?
With all the causes of knee pain, people of all age and of either gender can develop knee pain.
Common Causes Of Knee Pain
Knee pain is one of the worst types of pain an individual can experience. When a person has severe knee pain and swelling in the joint it interferes with daily life activities.
Some causes of knee pain include:
* Osgood Schlatter Disease
* Chondromalacia Patellae
* Knee Injury
* Water On The Knee
* Bakers Cysts
* Knee Osteoarthritis
Osgood Schlatter Disease
This is most often seen in young children. It is distinguished by a small bump directly below the knee. Inflammation of the patellar ligament causes knee pain with this disease. The disease usually shows up during a growth spurt, and is most common in children who are involved in sports. Some children have mild knee pain while others have knee pain so severe it interferes with their daily life. When the bones in the affected child are finished growing, the problem usually takes care of itself. Sometimes the bump under the knee goes away completely but other times there is a small bump left over that never goes away.
Inflammation on the underside of the patella and softening of the knee cartilage is known as Chondromalacia Patellae. A more common name for this problem is runners knee. It is caused by injury, overuse, muscle weakness, or a side effect of knee surgery. The knee pain associated with this is often helped with rest and ice, but there are some cases that require physical therapy. Over-the-counter pain relievers are often necessary. Any sort of exercise, even basic things such as using stairs or doing squats, will tend to cause you knee pain in the front part of your knee.
Unfortunately knee injuries are very common, and the knee pain that comes with them can be unbearable. There are different classifications of knee injuries:
* Acute – Torn ligaments or knee cartilage caused by sports or falling. Severe knee pain usually accompanies these injuries.
* Overuse – Strains and sprains, tendonitis, and bursitis are caused by microscopic tears in the knee’s muscles and tendons. These usually happen gradually over a period of a week or more, when the muscles and tendons are repeatedly stretched beyond their capabilities. Knee pain associated with these injuries can vary from mild to severe.
* Doing Too Much Too Soon – Any type of exercise, no matter how insignificant it seems, can be hard on your knees. Many people simply push their bodies too far too soon. If you haven’t exercised for awhile you need to give your body time to get conditioned. Knee pain can vary from mild to severe with these injuries.
Water On The Knee
Knee effusion, more commonly known as water on the knee, is swelling that occurs when there is a buildup of fluid in or around your knee joint. Many things can be the cause of this, including arthritis, underlying disease, or injury. Your knee may become stiff and unable to bend or straighten all the way. The knee pain it causes is severe. To be able to diagnose the cause of a particular case of water on the knee, a doctor will have to drain the fluid buildup.
A popliteal cyst, more commonly known as a Baker’s cyst, is a benign swelling or cyst behind the knee joint. It is named after the doctor that first diagnosed and described it. Along with the cyst at the back of your knee joint, you will feel a tightness. Knee pain is mild but gets worse when you move your knee joint or are standing for very long periods of time. These cysts usually develop as a side effect of arthritis or a severe knee injury.
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease. When a person has osteoarthritis, it means the joint cartilage and underlying bones in the joint have begun to break down. When osteoarthritis occurs in the knee joint, knee pain will at first be mild and only happen when the knee has been used, such as after exercising. Over time the knee pain will become more severe and may be constant. Osteoarthritis of the knee joint is broken down into four stages, numbered from 0 to 4, with zero being non-existent and four being constant severe pain.
* Stage 0 – This stage is a normal knee with no traces of knee osteoarthritis.
* Stage 1 – At this stage, the knee is showing signs of bone spur growth, but it is mild growth. It is recommended you take supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin and exercise regularly to slow the progression of the disease.
* Stage 2 – At this stage, the bone spur is slightly bigger than a stage 1, but the cartilage is still healthy. The bones are not yet rubbing against each other, but after exercise or a long day of standing you will probably notice some pain. If you are overweight, it will begin to make it more painful at this stage, so a weight loss regime is recommended along with exercise and supplements recommended in Stage 1. Knee pain at this stage is sometimes painful enough that the person may want to use a knee brace or shoe insert to help reduce it.
* Stage 3 – At this stage, the cartilage is beginning to break down and the bones are getting closer together. Any exercise that requires bending at the knee will cause pain at this stage. If the over-the-counter braces, shoe inserts, and supplements are not helping at this stage, viscosupplements are sometimes used. These are injections of hyaluronic acid, usually given in doses of 3 to 5 shots, over the course of as many weeks. Normally this procedure gives the person knee pain relief for as long as six months at a time.
* Stage 4 – At this stage, knee pain is constantly present and worsens whenever you use the joint, even just for a short walk. There is almost no cartilage left in the knee at this point, and sometimes it is so stiff a person cannot move it at all. Bone realignment surgery or a total knee replacement surgery is often the only chance of being completely pain free when it gets to Stage 4.
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