Causes of knee pain include injuries, diseases and mechanical problems. Let’s look at 10 of the most common of these issues.
You’re likely familiar with the wedge-shaped bone that covers your knee. This is called your patella, and it’s possible for it to slide out of place, leading to knee pain.
Gout describes a condition in which uric acid reaches high levels in your blood and begins to crystallize in the joints. While it most commonly affects a person’s big toe, it can affect other joints, tendons and tissues, including those in the knee.
Iliotibial band syndrome
Your ilitibial band runs along the outside of your pelvic bone to the outside of your tibia. Certain activities — for example, running for long periods of time — can tighten this band and it begins to create friction against your femur, causing knee pain.
Fluid-filled sacs known as bursae surround your knee joint to protect it as your tendons and ligaments move around it. When these bursae become inflamed the condition is called knee bursitis. Bursae are also located in other areas in the body, such as the shoulder and elbows.
Sometimes with an injury a piece of bone or other matter within the knee joint can break off and become caught in a place it shouldn’t be, somewhere in the knee’s joint space. The effects can be painful and debilitating.
Tendons are responsible for connecting muscles to bones. The patellar tendon connects your quadriceps muscle to your shinbone and can be responsible for knee pain if it becomes inflamed due to injury or overuse.
There are four ligaments that connect your shinbone to your thighbone. One of the four is called the anterior cruciate ligament, otherwise known as your ACL. When this ligament suffers trauma it can tear, an injury commonly seen in sports in which a person must frequently and suddenly change direction, such as basketball or soccer.
Between your shinbone and your thighbone is a layer of cartilage called the meniscus. If you twist your knee suddenly or severely while it’s bearing weight, you could tear your meniscus.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that describes the gradual breakdown of cartilage in the knee. It’s the most common type of arthritis and can become quite painful as more cartilage tissue is lost and the bones of the joint begin to come in direct contact with each other.
An autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory disorder that primarily affects your joints.
Image by Mike Baird via Flickr