Arthritis

Description

Knee pain can be caused by a sudden injury, an overuse injury, or by an underlying condition, such as arthritis. Treatment will vary depending on the cause. Symptoms of knee injury can include pain, swelling, and stiffness. Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. Knee pain may be the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. Medical conditions  including arthritis, gout and infections also can cause knee pain. Some of the most common problems are sprained ligaments, meniscus tears, tendinitis, and runner’s knee. If you have an old knee injury that wasn’t properly treated, it may flare up now and then or hurt all the time.

Many types of minor knee pain respond well to self-care measures. Physical therapy and knee braces also can help relieve knee pain. In some cases, however, your knee may require surgical repair.

Symptoms for Knee pain

The location and severity of knee pain may vary, depending on the cause of the problem. Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany knee pain include:

  • Swelling and stiffness
  • Redness and warmth to the touch
  • Weakness or instability
  • Popping or crunching noises
  • Inability to fully straighten the knee
  • Trouble putting weight on the knee
  • Problems moving your knee

Causes of Knee pain

Some of the most common problems are sprained ligaments, meniscus tears, tendinitis, and runner’s knee. If you have an old knee injury that wasn’t properly treated, it may flare up now and then or hurt all the time.

  • 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.
  • Bursitis. It helps prevent friction when the joint moves. Overuse, falls, or repeated bending and kneeling can irritate the bursa on top of your kneecap. That leads to pain and swelling. Doctors call this prepatellar bursitis. You may also hear it called ”preacher’s knee.”
  • Loose body. Sometimes injury or degeneration of bone or cartilage can cause a piece of bone or cartilage to break off and float in the joint space. This may not create any problems unless the loose body interferes with knee joint movement, in which case the effect is something like a pencil caught in a door hinge.
  • Dislocated kneecap: This means that your kneecap slides out of position, causing knee pain and swelling. Your doctor may call this “patellar dislocation.”
  • Hip or foot pain.If you have hip or foot pain, you may change the way you walk to spare these painful joints. But this altered gait can place more stress on your knee joint. In some cases, problems in the hip or foot can cause knee pain.
  • IT (iliotibial) band syndrome: The iliotibial (IT) band is a piece of tough tissue that runs from your hip down to the outer part of your knee. When you overdo activity, it can become inflamed over time. That causes pain on the outer side of the knee. It’s common among runners when going downhill.
  • Meniscal tear: Sometimes, a knee injury can cause cartilage to rip. These rough edges can get stuck in the joint, which causes pain and swelling. Many times, people will have the sensation of “catching” in the joint when they are active.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.
  • Patellar tendinitis. Tendinitis is irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons — the thick, fibrous tissues that attach muscles to bones. Runners, skiers, cyclists, and those involved in jumping sports and activities may develop inflammation in the patellar tendon, which connects the quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh to the shinbone. You may also hear it called “jumper’s knee” because repetitive jumping is the most common cause.
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease: This condition happens when you’re young, when bones and other parts of the knee are still changing. It can cause a painful bump below the knee, where a tendon from the kneecap connects to the shin. Overdoing exercise, and irritation at a point on the bottom of your knee called the tibial tubercle, often make this area hurt. The ache may come and go over time. It’s especially common in teenage boys and girls.
  • Osteoarthritis: This is the “wear and tear” type of arthritis. It’s a top cause of knee pain after age 50. This condition causes the knee joint to ache or swell when you’re active. Joints affected by osteoarthritis can also be stiff early in the day.
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome: Muscle imbalance, tightness, and alignment problems of the legs usually cause this condition. It causes knee pain and occasional “buckling,” meaning your knee suddenly can’t bear your weight. It’s not due to an injury. It’s more common for women than for men.

Diagnosis

  • If you have pain, weakness, or swelling around your knee, you may need a knee MRI. This test can help your doctor see what might be causing your symptoms. Unlike an X-ray, which takes pictures of your bones, a knee MRI lets your doctor see your bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and even some blood vessels.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan.CT scanners combine X-rays taken from many different angles, to create cross-sectional images of the inside of your body. CT scans can help diagnose bone problems and subtle fractures. A special kind of CT scan can accurately identify gout even when the joint is not inflamed.
  • This technology uses sound waves to produce real-time images of the soft tissue structures within and around your knee. Your doctor may want to move your knee into different positions during the ultrasound to check for specific problems.

Treatment

You can do many things to help knee pain, whether it’s due to a recent injury or arthritis you’ve had for years.

  • Medications. Your doctor may prescribe medicationns to help relieve pain and to treat underlying conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
  • Injections. In some cases, your doctor may suggest injecting medications or other substances directly into your joint. 
  • Surgery. If you have an injury that may require surgery, it’s usually not necessary to have the operation immediately. Before making any decision, consider the pros and cons of both nonsurgical rehabilitation and surgical reconstruction in relation to what’s most important to you. 
  • Total knee replacement.In this procedure, your surgeon cuts away damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone and kneecap, and replaces it with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.

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