As the largest joint in the body, the knee is also the most common area of pain across all age groups for a variety of reasons — including sudden injury, overuse injury or an underlying medical condition such as arthritis. Signs and symptoms that accompany knee pain may include swelling, stiffness, redness and/or warmth to the touch, fever, weakness, instability, popping or crunching noises, and decreased range of motion and inability to fully straighten the knee.
A knee injury can affect any of the ligaments, tendons or fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that surround your knee joint, as well as bones, cartilage and ligaments that form the joint. Some of the more common knee injuries include:
· ACL injury. An ACL injury is the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – one of four ligaments that connect your shinbone to your thighbone. An ACL injury is particularly common in people who play basketball, soccer or other sports that require sudden changes in direction.
· Fractures. The bones of the knee, including the kneecap (patella), can be broken during motor vehicle collisions or falls. People whose bones have been weakened by osteoporosis can sometimes sustain a knee fracture simply by stepping wrong.
· Torn meniscus. The meniscus is formed of tough, rubbery cartilage and acts as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone. It can be torn if you suddenly twist your knee while bearing weight on it.
· Knee bursitis. Some knee injuries cause inflammation in the bursae. This is commonly known as bursitis.
· Patellar tendinitis. Tendinitis is irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons. Runners, skiers, cyclists, and those involved in jumping sports and activities are prone to develop inflammation in the patellar tendon, which connects the quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh to the shinbone.
Although there are 100 different types of arthritis, the varieties that are most likely to affect the knee are:
· Osteoarthritis. Sometimes called degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It’s a wear-and-tear condition that occurs when the cartilage in your knee deteriorates with use and age.
· Rheumatoid arthritis. The most debilitating form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can affect almost any joint in your body, including your knees. Although rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, it tends to vary in severity and may even come and go.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a general term that refers to pain arising between your patella and the underlying thighbone (femur). It’s common in athletes; in young adults, especially those who have a slight maltracking of the kneecap; and in older adults, who usually develop the condition as a result of arthritis of the kneecap.
When to call a physician at Plano Orthopedics
If you have any of the signs or symptoms mentioned above, it’s important to see your physician at your earliest convenience to properly diagnose your knee problem and help you decide the appropriate treatment plans to improve your quality of life and reduce the pain caused by your knee joint.
Please keep in mind that not all knee pain is serious. But some knee injuries and medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis, can lead to increasing pain, joint damage and disability if left untreated. And having a knee injury – even a minor one – makes it more likely that you’ll have similar injuries in the future.
Our knee specialists at Plano Orthopedics focus on a number of procedures to help patients recover from issues ranging from degenerative diseases to sports injuries. To schedule an appointment with one our knee specialists, contact our scheduling department at 972-250-5700 or request an appointment online.
Don’t miss life’s special moments. Explore knee pain solutions…at Plano Orthopedics today!