Knee pain is not as common as back pains and shoulder pains; nevertheless, they can be very cumbersome because they not only lead to moderate to severe pain, they can also cause limited ambulation. Knee pain can develop following various conditions and can yield various symptoms. Despite being disabling, knee pain can be prevented and managed easily.
Causes of Knee Joint Pain
Knee pain can develop from various causes. These include:
• Direct injury. Direct injury to the knee joint is a direct cause of knee pain. When you are hit during sports events, fall on your knees, or experience vehicular accidents, the knee may be injured leading to knee pain.
• Obesity or being overweight. The knee is a weight-bearing joint so excessive weight placed on the knee joints can cause degenerative disorders leading to arthritis.
• Poor body mechanics. Improper lifting or moving can also put strain on the knee joint, which may develop into injury in the long run.
• Arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis can also develop in the knee area leading to recurrent knee pains.
• Overuse injury to the knee. Overuse injury may come in the form of iliotibial band syndrome, runner’s knee and the like. These injuries especially put strain in the soft structures in the knee area causing inflation and pain in the knee joint.
Aside from these, other causes may include Baker’s cyst, lateral meniscus tear and knee cap injuries.
Symptoms of Knee Joint Pain
Knee joint pain presents itself as a moderate to severe pain along the knee area. The pain may be located on the knee cap, inside portion of the knee, posterior part of the knee or around the knee itself. Pain may be aggravated by going up and down the stairs, running, walking and cycling. The pain also is more intense during the first morning steps and gradually lessens when light activities are employed.
Aside from the pain, there may be also visible swelling or inflammation as well as reduced mobility because of the difficulty to flex and extend the knee joint. Most people who have knee pain also report giving way of the knee or as if there is instability while walking. In some instances, there may also be popping, clicking, locking or grinding in the inside portion of the knee joint.
Diagnosis of Knee Joint Pain
Knee joint pain is a collective term for pain that occur in the knee area; however, since there are various causes of knee pain, it is important to diagnose it properly for appropriate treatments. Physicians usually diagnose knee joint pain starting from history taking and physical assessment. Diagnostic tests may be employed which may include X-rays and CT scans. Following the diagnosis, physicians are able to determine the most appropriate treatment for the condition.
Treatment of Knee Pain
For general treatment of pain, use of anti-inflammatory medications is often employed. Ibuprofen, naproxen and celecoxib are the most common NSAIDs prescribed. For knee pain that does not respond to over-the-counter analgesics, corticosteroid injections may be administered for direct and immediate pain relief.
Aside from medications, knee joint pain may be relieved using warm packs over the area to relax the soft structures and limit pain. Physical therapy may also be employed to help the knee return to its optimum functioning.
For more severe knee conditions such as in the case of osteoarthritis, knee injuries and those that do not respond to conservative treatments, surgery may be employed to directly address the cause of the condition.
Knee joint pain may seem simple; however, medical consult is always warranted because the simple knee joint pain may already mean degenerative conditions that require further treatment.