Knee pain can be frustrating and can prevent you from carrying out many normal, everyday activities. It can be caused by a number of different factors, from a sudden sports injury to an underlying condition such as arthritis.
If you have knee pain that doesn’t seem to be improving, it may require further evaluation and treatment by an orthopedic doctor. This is the best way to achieve an optimal outcome and to reduce the chances of future problems.
What Is Causing My Knee Pain?
There are many joint disorders and injuries that can affect the knee and cause pain. In some cases, pain can be felt immediately, and bruising and swelling can follow – this is often the result of a sudden injury or direct blow. Other times, the pain can get worse gradually over time, such as in overuse injuries or repetitive movements which place stress on the knee joint.
The most common conditions that cause knee pain are the following:
The various types of arthritis cause damage to the joints. Symptoms can include pain, stiffness, loss of function, and immobility in the joint.
There are two main types of arthritis that can affect the knee:
- Osteoarthritis – This often results from overuse and wear and tear. It causes the cartilage which cushions and protects the ends of the bones in a joint to wear down and lose its integrity, thereby resulting in painful bone-on-bone rubbing.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – This is a chronic, progressive autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the membrane which protects and lines the joints.
A knee dislocation can occur from a direct blow, a forceful movement, or a sudden change in direction – which can force the bones within the joint to abnormally separate. This most frequently occurs while dancing or playing sports.
Symptoms of a dislocated knee can include severe and sudden knee pain, the inability to move the joint, a popping sensation, and the knee being noticeably deformed. For joint dislocations, emergency care may be required to put the joint back in place.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is easily injured thanks to its vulnerable placement in the knee, directly behind the kneecap. It crosses diagonally inside of the knee connecting the bottom end of the thighbone to the top of the shinbone, providing stability to the knee joint along with the other diagonal ligament, the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) – these ligaments form an “X” shape, and the ACL is in front of the PCL.
The ACL can tear partially or fully when you suddenly slow down while running, land from a jump, or change directions rapidly – such as during football, basketball, skiing, and soccer. However, it can also happen simply when walking around the house and twisting your leg awkwardly.
Symptoms can include pain, swelling, and knee instability immediately after the injury . You may experience difficulty walking, moving, or straightening your knee. Swelling can increase dramatically within a few hours.
The menisci are moon-shaped sections of cartilage within the knee joint that act as buffers between the bones. They are vulnerable to high-impact injury and can tear during strong twisting motions of the knee. A torn meniscus most commonly occurs during sports such as football, tennis, or soccer.
Symptoms can include a popping noise when the meniscus tears, swelling, pain, and tightness – which may increase over several days. You may not be able to bear weight on that knee, walk properly, or straighten your knee, and it may buckle or lock-in position.
Bursitis is a painful joint condition that is caused when the small fluid-filled sacs called bursae to become inflamed. The bursae reduce friction by providing a cushion between bones, tendons, muscles, and skin near the joints.
Inflammation in one or more of these sacs can cause pain and can limit mobility in the joint. Bursitis is usually caused by an injury, overstressing or repetitive use of the joint, or degenerative joint disease.
Knee Pain Specialists in Watertown, New York
If you have severe or chronic knee pain, talk to our orthopedic specialists at North Country Orthopaedic Group. We know how to evaluate the cause of your knee pain and treat it in such a way as to provide maximum relief.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our excellent providers, call us today at (315) 782-1650 or request an appointment via our online form now. We look forward to helping you find relief from your knee pain for good.