What is Knee Pain?
Knee pain is a relatively prevalent condition that may be related to damage or trauma in one or some of these tissues. The knee also has a bone in front of it, the kneecap, which is a unique feature among human joints.
The ligaments of the knee are present to connect one bone to another. Therefore, these are vital parts of the joint and are also vulnerable to damage. The knee is a large and important joint in the body. It is composed of muscles, ligaments, cartilage, fascia, and tendons that connect, support, and protect the juncture of the end of the femur (or thighbone) and the bones of the lower leg.
Knee Pain Causes
Pain in the knee as a result of trauma is typically related to adverse events such as:
- Blunt force
- Sprains or strains (i.e. twisting or other abnormal stress acting on tendons or ligaments)
- Falling onto the knee joint
- Atypical motions, such as excessive twisting or bending of the joint
- ACL damage
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Synovial plica syndrome
Inadvertent excessive rotations or twisting of the knee joint increases the risk of damage to the meniscus. Knee injuries may also be associated with occupational hazards, e.g. injuries at work.
More severe types of trauma include kneecap fractures, or fractures in the bones of the leg (i.e. the tibia, fibula or femur), as they meet to form the joint.
Damage to these bones may also result from the adverse events as listed above.
These injuries can result in acute pain and damage to the nerves or blood vessels found in the knee. This may result in neurological abnormalities such as loss of sensation in the joint.
Kneecap dislocation may be associated with intense pain.
Knee Pain Treatments
There are many options available to manage and reduce knee pain. A pain specialist or doctor may start by advising the patient to try conventional remedies for joint pain treatment that is prepared or performed at home. These include applying ice packs or hot compresses. These are made from everyday materials or are available as commercial products.
Braces restrict or stabilize joint movement to reduce pain associated with repetitive or specific stresses. Another first-line therapy that may correct the effects of disproportional or repetitive stress is physical therapy. This treatment uses a regimen of specific exercises and stretches to condition the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the knee.
There are several treatment options to attack the source of your knee pain, including:
- Using ice or cold packs
- Avoiding bathing in hot water
- Using a compression bandage
- Keeping the affected leg elevated
- Trying mild exercise and stretching
- Steroid injections
- Spinal nerve blocks
- Physical therapy
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Nerve blocks