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Joint Issues: Common Causes Of Knee Pain

Dr. Mazhar Iqbal

3 min read

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According to the Arthritis Foundation, the knee is among the joints most prone to injury, owing to its structural complexity comprised of interconnected parts and its role as one of the greatest load-bearing joints in the body, meaning that the simple act of jumping or an incorrect gait can cause mild or severe damage to this joint. While overuse or misuse injuries are the most common causes, here is an extensive list of possible causes of knee pain:

1- Runners Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)

Despite the name, this knee condition that causes pain in the point where the kneecap rests over the thighbone, is common not only to athletes, but also people with a sedentary lifestyle, and is often the result of overuse, muscle weakness, tightness and improper hip angles. Jumpers Knee, or Patellar Tendonitis is also an overuse and excess pressure knee condition that inflames the thick, fibrous tissues (tendons) attaching the kneecap to the shin.

2- Sprained Ligaments

Heavy blows to the knee, sharp changes in direction, or landing wrong after a jump can injure or sprain one or more of the otherwise tough and flexible bands of tissue (ligaments) that connect two bones together, making it one of the most common causes of knee pain. Moreover, performing intense or continuous versions of ligament spraining activities can even tear one of these tissues.

3- Torn Meniscus

Forcefully twisting the knee can damage the meniscus; a pad of tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between the shinbone and thighbone, resulting in swelling, stiffness, and excruciating pain when rotating the knee. Sudden leg and knee twists can also cause the kneecap to slip or dislocate from its original position.

Meniscus and ligament tears and sprains, and dislocated kneecaps are usually accompanied by popping or snapping sounds.

4- Housemaids Knee (Knee Bursitis)

Frequently maintaining kneeling positions that put undue pressure on the knees can inflame one or more of the small fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that act as cushions and friction reducers between the tendons and ligaments, resulting in mild pain, swelling, and stiffness while walking.

5- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

While the above conditions result from injuries; structural imbalances, tightness, and alignment issues in the bones and muscles of the legs, particularly in females, can result in instances where the knee cannot bear the body weight and consequentially ‘buckles’, resulting in pain and other possible knee injuries due to sudden falls. If you are experiencing these problems then get in touch with the top orthopedic surgeon in Karachi for a consultation.

6- Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Commonly affecting distance runners, (ITBS) occurs due the tightening of the iliotibial band of connective tissue that runs along the outer leg from the hipbone to the upper calf, resulting in its rubbing against the knee bone, causing stinging sensations and pain on the sides of the knees in the initial and later stages.

7- Hip or Foot Pain

Changing one’s gait to accommodate painful hips or feet due to a related condition such as sprains in either of these regions can put undue pressure on the knees, resulting in knee pain and exposing it to any or more of the above injuries.

8- Osgood-Schlatter Disease

Growth spurts in athletic children can cause the bones to grow faster than the muscles, resulting in increased friction, and the formation of a painful bump at the front of the shin below the knee. However, symptoms usually require periodic ice application and prescription painkillers as they go away after the child stops growing.

9- Osteoarthritis

This common disease is characterized by the degeneration of the knee cartilage over time, resulting in knee pain, stiffness, tenderness, swelling, weakness, deformity, and limited range of motion. While common in adults over 50, it can also affect younger individuals and women with a previous knee injury or surgery.

10- Gout

This version of arthritis is caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals in the knee. In contrast, Pseudogout is lump formation in the knee due to the accumulation of calcium containing crystals in the knee joint fluid. Both conditions cause pain, inflammation, and present as visible lumps.

11- Septic Arthritis

Bacterial, viral or fungal infections may sometimes infect the knee via the bloodstream, resulting in severe knee pain, inflammation and difficulty using the joint. As it can cause permanent knee joint degeneration, the condition must be immediately treated by draining the infected fluid via syringes or arthroscopy, and antibiotics in case of a bacterial infection.

Any of the above conditions, including sports injuries and arthritis can cause knee bone fractures.

Whereas mild knee pain can be treated through self-care, rest, physiotherapy, and painkillers, certain moderate and serious cases, like fractures and torn ligaments might require surgery in addition to therapy. If your knee pain matches any of the above causes, consult with your doctor about the best treatment option for you. You can also book an appointment with an Orthopedic Specialist in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your skeletal issues.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Mazhar Iqbal - Author Dr. Mazhar Iqbal is an orthopedic surgeon, practicing in Lahore. He is a Specialist in Musculoskeletal Infections, Joint Replacement Surgery, Complex Fractures, and Pediatric Orthopedic Problems. You can book an appointment with him through oladoc.

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