knee pain : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

 What is knee pain?

Knee pain is a commonplace complaint that affects human beings of all ages. Knee pain may be the result of an injury, along with a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. Medical conditions — together with arthritis, gout and infections — can also cause knee ache.

What is knee pain?
knee pain

Many forms of minor knee ache reply well to self-care measures. Physical remedy and knee braces also can help relieve ache. In a few cases, but, your knee may also require surgical repair.

Medical terms

Knee pain can be caused by a variety of medical conditions and injuries. Here are some medical terms related to knee pain:

  • Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of bones in the knee joint deteriorates over time, leading to pain and stiffness.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation of the synovial membrane (lining) of the knee joint, resulting in pain, swelling, and potential joint damage.

  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome: Also known as "runner's knee," it is a condition characterized by pain around or behind the kneecap (patella) due to overuse, misalignment, or muscle imbalances.

  • Meniscus tear: A tear in the meniscus, which is a wedge-shaped cartilage in the knee joint that acts as a shock absorber. It can cause pain, swelling, and limited range of motion.

  • Ligament sprain or tear: Injuries to the knee ligaments, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), medial collateral ligament (MCL), or posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), can cause pain, instability, and difficulty walking.

  • Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursae, small fluid-filled sacs that cushion and reduce friction between bones, tendons, and muscles around the knee joint.

  • Patellar tendinitis: Also known as "jumper's knee," it is an inflammation of the patellar tendon, which connects the kneecap to the shinbone. It often affects athletes or individuals engaged in repetitive jumping or running activities.

  • Gout: A form of inflammatory arthritis that occurs when there is a buildup of uric acid in the body, leading to the deposition of urate crystals in the knee joint and causing intense pain and swelling.

  • Osgood-Schlatter disease: A condition that commonly affects adolescents involved in sports, causing pain and swelling just below the kneecap, where the patellar tendon attaches to the shinbone.

  • Chondromalacia patellae: Softening and degeneration of the cartilage on the undersurface of the kneecap, resulting in knee pain, especially during activities that involve bending the knee.

It's important to note that knee pain can have various underlying causes, and a proper diagnosis by a qualified healthcare professional is necessary for appropriate treatment and management. If you or someone you know is experiencing knee pain, it's best to seek medical attention for an accurate assessment.

Symptoms knee pain

The specific symptoms you may experience can vary depending on the cause of the knee pain. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain: Dull, achy, or sharp pain in or around the knee joint.

  • Swelling: The knee may become swollen and feel warm to the touch.

  • Stiffness: Reduced range of motion and difficulty bending or straightening the knee.

  • Weakness: Feeling unstable or having difficulty bearing weight on the affected knee.

  • Clicking or popping: Some people may experience clicking or popping sensations during movement.

  • Redness and warmth: Inflammation can lead to redness and increased warmth in the knee area.

If you're experiencing knee pain, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or orthopedic specialist, for a proper evaluation, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment plan. They can help identify the underlying cause of your knee pain and recommend the most suitable course of action.

When to see a doctor

Call your doctor if you:

  • Can't bear weight on your knee or feel as if your knee is unstable or gives out

  • Have marked knee swelling

  • Are unable to fully extend or flex your knee

  • See an obvious deformity in your leg or knee

  • Have a fever, in addition to redness, pain and swelling in your knee

  • Have severe knee pain that is associated with an injury

Causes knee pain

Knee pain can be due to accidents, mechanical troubles, forms of arthritis and other troubles.


A knee harm can affect any of the ligaments, tendons or fluid-crammed sacs (bursae) that surround your knee joint as well as the bones, cartilage and ligaments that shape the joint itself. Some of the greater commonplace knee injuries consist of:

  • ACL damage. An ACL harm is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — one in all four ligaments that join your shinbone in your thigh bone. An ACL harm is especially not unusual in those who play basketball, soccer or different sports that require surprising modifications en route.

  • Fractures. The bones of the knee, such as the kneecap (patella), may be broken for the duration of falls or automobile injuries. Also, human beings whose bones were weakened by means of osteoporosis can sometimes sustain a knee fracture by stepping incorrectly.

  • Torn meniscus. The meniscus is the hard, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber among your shinbone and thighbone. It can be torn if you suddenly twist your knee at the same time as bearing weight on it.

  • Knee bursitis. Some knee injuries cause inflammation inside the bursae, the small sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of your knee joint so that tendons and ligaments glide easily over the joint.

  • Patellar tendinitis. Tendinitis causes inflammation and inflammation of one or greater tendons — the thick, fibrous tissues that attach muscle tissue to bones. This irritation can happen while there is an injury to the patellar tendon, which runs from the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone and allows you to kick, run and bounce. Runners, skiers, cyclists, and those involved in leaping sports and activities may additionally develop patellar tendinitis.

Mechanical issues

Some examples of mechanical problems that can cause knee pain include:

  • Loose frame. Sometimes injury or degeneration of bone or cartilage can cause a bit of bone or cartilage to interrupt off and float within the joint area. This won't create any issues unless the loose body interferes with knee joint motion, wherein case the effect is something like a pencil caught in a door hinge.

  • Iliotibial band syndrome. This takes place whilst the difficult band of tissue that extends from the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee (iliotibial band) will become so tight that it rubs towards the outer portion of your thigh bone. Distance runners and cyclists are especially vulnerable to iliotibial band syndrome.

  • Dislocated kneecap. This occurs whilst the triangular bone that covers the front of your knee (patella) slips out of region, typically to the outside of your knee. In some instances, the kneecap may live displaced and you will be capable of seeing the dislocation.

  • Hip or foot ache. If you have hip or foot pain, you could exchange the way you walk to spare your painful joint. But this altered gait can cause more stress for your knee joint and cause knee ache.

Risk factors knee pain

A range of things can increase your hazard of getting knee troubles, which include:

  • Excess weight. Being obese or overweight increases stress on your knee joints, even in the course of regular sports including on foot or going up and down stairs. It also puts you at accelerated risk of osteoarthritis by way of accelerating the breakdown of joint cartilage.

  • Lack of muscle flexibility or energy. A loss of power and versatility can increase the risk of knee injuries. Strong muscle mass helps stabilize and protect your joints, and muscle flexibility allows you to acquire a full variety of movement.

  • Certain sports or occupations. Some sports put more stress to your knees than do others. Alpine skiing with its rigid ski boots and potential for falls, basketball's jumps and pivots, and the repeated pounding your knees take while you run or jog all book your hazard of knee damage. Jobs that require repetitive strain at the knees along with production or farming can also boost your danger.

  • Previous damage. Having a preceding knee damage makes it much more likely that you will injure your knee once more.

Complications knee pain

Not all knee pain is severe. But a few knee accidents and scientific conditions, inclusive of osteoarthritis, can result in growing ache, joint harm and disability if left untreated. And having a knee injury — even a minor one — makes it much more likely that you will have comparable injuries within the destiny.

How do I know if my knee pain is serious?

It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and diagnosis. That said, here are some signs that your knee pain might warrant medical attention:

  • Severe pain: If you are experiencing intense, unrelenting pain in your knee, it's crucial to seek medical attention immediately.

  • Swelling and redness: Persistent swelling and redness around the knee joint could indicate inflammation or an infection.

  • Inability to bear weight: If you find it difficult or impossible to put weight on the affected knee, it could be a sign of a more severe injury or condition.

  • Limited range of motion: If you are unable to fully bend or extend your knee, there may be a problem that needs medical evaluation.

  • Instability: Feeling like your knee might "give way" or buckle, especially during normal activities, could indicate an issue with the knee's ligaments or stability.

  • Popping or clicking: If your knee makes unusual sounds when moving, it may be a sign of an injury or cartilage problem.

  • Fever: If you have knee pain accompanied by a fever, it could suggest an infection and requires prompt medical attention.

  • Recent injury: If you've had a significant fall, sports-related incident, or any other traumatic injury to your knee, you should have it checked by a healthcare professional.

  • Persistent pain: If your knee pain continues for an extended period or worsens over time, it's important to get it evaluated by a doctor.

  • History of joint problems: If you have a history of joint issues, arthritis, or other musculoskeletal conditions, any new knee pain should be assessed by a healthcare professional.

Prevention knee pain

Although it is now not usually viable to save you knee pain, the subsequent hints may assist thrust back injuries and joint deterioration:

  • Keep more kilos off. Maintain a healthy weight; it is one of the satisfactory things you may do for your knees. Every extra pound puts extra pressure for your joints, increasing the danger of injuries and osteoarthritis.

  • Be in form to play your recreation. To prepare your muscular tissues for the demands of sports activities participation, take time for conditioning.

  • Practice flawlessly. Make sure the technique and movement styles you operate to your sports or hobby are the best they can be. Lessons from an expert may be very beneficial.

  • Get robust, stay bendy. Weak muscles are a main reason for knee injuries. You'll benefit from building up your quadriceps and hamstrings, the muscle mass on the back and front of your thighs that help guide your knees. Balance and balance training allows the muscular tissues round your knees work collectively greater successfully.

  • And due to the fact tight muscle tissues also can make a contribution to injury, stretching is critical. Try to include flexible sporting activities for your exercises.

  • Be clever about exercise. If you have got osteoarthritis, continual knee pain or routine accidents, you may want to alternate the way you exercise. Consider switching to swimming, water aerobics or different low-impact sports — as a minimum for a few days every week. Sometimes truly limiting high-effect sports will provide remedy.

Diagnosis knee pain

To diagnose the specific cause of knee pain, a healthcare professional will typically perform a physical examination, ask about your medical history, and might request imaging tests like X-rays or MRI. Based on the diagnosis, they will recommend an appropriate treatment plan, which could involve rest, physical therapy, medication, or, in some cases, surgery.

During the bodily examination, your medical doctor is possibly to:

  • Inspect your knee for swelling, ache, tenderness, warm temperature and seen bruising

  • Check to see how a long way you could circulate your decrease leg in one-of-a-kind guidelines

  • Push on or pull the joint to evaluate the integrity of the systems to your knee

Imaging assessments

In a few cases, your medical doctor would possibly suggest assessments along with:

  • X-ray. Your physician may additionally first advocate having an X-ray, that may assist hit upon bone fractures and degenerative joint disorder.

  • Computerized tomography (CT) test. CT scanners combine X-rays taken from many unique angles to create move-sectional pics of the inside of your frame. CT scans can assist diagnose bone problems and diffused fractures. A special type of CT experiment can accurately identify gout even if the joint isn't always infected.

  • Ultrasound. This era uses sound waves to provide actual-time images of the smooth tissue systems within and round your knee. Your medical doctor may additionally want to transport your knee into exceptional positions all through the ultrasound to test for specific troubles.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnet to create three-D images of the inside of your knee. This take a look at is particularly useful in revealing accidents to soft tissues which include ligaments, tendons, cartilage and muscle mass.

Lab tests

If your health practitioner suspects any contamination or inflammation, you're in all likelihood to have blood tests and sometimes a method called arthrocentesis, wherein a small amount of fluid is removed from within your knee joint with a needle and sent to a laboratory for evaluation.

Treatment knee pain

The treatment for knee pain can vary based on the underlying cause, severity, and individual factors. Here are some common approaches:

  • Rest: Give your knee adequate rest to allow it to heal. Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain or put excessive stress on the knee.

  • Ice: Applying ice to the affected area can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Use an ice pack wrapped in a cloth and apply it for about 15-20 minutes every few hours.

  • Compression: Wearing a compression bandage or knee brace can provide support and reduce swelling.

  • Elevation: Elevating your leg can also help reduce swelling. Prop your leg up on a pillow or cushion when resting.

  • Pain relief medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help manage pain and reduce inflammation. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.

  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can design exercises and stretches to strengthen the muscles around the knee, improve flexibility, and reduce pain.

  • Injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be recommended to reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief.

  • Weight management: If you are overweight, losing weight can help relieve stress on the knee joint, reducing pain and improving mobility.

  • Assistive devices: Using a cane or walking aid can help take some pressure off the knee while walking.

  • RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation is a standard approach for treating acute knee injuries.

  • Surgical options: If conservative treatments don't provide relief, surgery might be considered, depending on the specific knee problem.

Treatments will vary, depending upon what exactly is inflicting your knee pain.


Your health practitioner may prescribe medicines to assist relieve ache and to treat the situations causing your knee pain, including rheumatoid arthritis or gout.


Strengthening the muscular tissues around your knee will make it more strong. Your health practitioner may also endorse physical therapy or exclusive varieties of strengthening physical activities based totally at the unique situation this is inflicting your ache. If you're bodily active or exercise, you could want physical activities to correct motion styles that may be affecting your knees and to set up exact methods in the course of your recreation or hobby. Exercises to enhance your flexibility and stability are also critical. Arch helps, once in a while with wedges on one side of the heel, can assist shift strain faraway from the side of the knee most tormented by osteoarthritis. In positive conditions, exceptional varieties of braces can be used to assist defend and support the knee joint.


In some instances, your physician may additionally recommend injecting medications or other materials immediately into your joint. Examples include:

  • Corticosteroids. Injections of a corticosteroid drug into your knee joint may additionally assist reduce the signs of an arthritis flare and provide pain alleviation that could last a few months. These injections are not powerful in all instances.

  • Hyaluronic acid. A thick fluid, similar to the fluid that certainly lubricates joints, hyaluronic acid can be injected into your knee to improve mobility and ease aches. Although looking at results has blended approximately the effectiveness of this remedy, comfort from one or a chain of photographs can also last up to six months.

  • Platelet-wealthy plasma (PRP). PRP contains an awareness of many special increased elements that seem to lessen inflammation and sell healing. Some research has determined that PRP may additionally gain certain human beings with osteoarthritis, however greater studies are needed.


If you have any harm that can require surgical treatment, it's commonly now not essential to have the operation right away. Before you make a decision, do not forget the pros and cons of each nonsurgical rehabilitation and surgical reconstruction in relation to what is most crucial to you. If you pick out to have surgery, your options may additionally encompass:

  • Arthroscopic surgery. Depending on your injury, your medical doctor may be capable of studying and repairing your joint damage using a fiber-optic camera and lengthy, slim tools inserted through just a few small incisions around your knee. Arthroscopy can be used to unfasten our bodies from your knee joint, eliminate or repair broken cartilage (specially if it is causing your knee to lock), and reconstruct torn ligaments.

  • Partial knee substitute surgical procedure. In this method, your surgeon replaces the most damaged portion of your knee with components made of steel and plastic. The surgical operation can commonly be done via small incisions, so you're likely to heal more quickly than you are with surgical procedure to replace your complete knee.

  • Total knee replacement. In this technique, your medical professional cuts away damaged bone and cartilage out of your thigh bone, shinbone and kneecap, and replaces it with a synthetic joint made from metallic alloys, excessive-grade plastics and polymers.

  • Osteotomy. This procedure includes putting off bone from the thigh bone or shinbone to better align the knee and relieve arthritis ache. This surgical treatment may assist you postpone or avoid total knee alternative surgical treatment.

Lifestyle and home treatments Over-the-counter medicines — along with ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) — may assist ease knee pain. Some people locate alleviation by rubbing the affected knee with lotions containing a numbing agent, which include lidocaine, or capsaicin, the substance that makes chili peppers hot. Self-care measures for an injured knee encompass:

  • Rest. Take a detour from your regular sports to reduce repetitive pressure for your knee, supply the injury time to heal and help save you in addition to harm. A day or two of relaxation may be all you need for minor damage. More severe damage is likely to want an extended restoration time.

  • Ice. Ice reduces both ache and infection. A bag of frozen peas works nicely as it covers your complete knee. You can also use an ice percent wrapped in a skinny towel to guard your skin. Although ice therapy is generally secure and powerful, do not use ice for longer than 20 minutes at a time due to the chance of harm to your nerves and skin.

  • Heat. You may also revel in brief ache alleviation via applying a heat % or hot-water bottle to the painful place to your knee.

  • Compression. This helps save you fluid buildup in damaged tissues and maintains knee alignment and balance. Look for a compression bandage. It truly is lightweight, breathable and self-adhesive. It ought to be tight enough to support your knee without interfering with circulation.

  • Elevation. To help reduce swelling, attempt propping your injured leg on pillows or sitting in a recliner.

Alternative medicinal drug

Research shows that acupuncture may additionally help relieve knee ache because of osteoarthritis. Acupuncture includes the position of hair-thin needles into your skin at unique locations in your frame.

  1. Healthy foods for the musculoskeletal system
  2. Rehabilitation program and health tips for the musculoskeletal system

Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start with the aid of seeing your own family physician. Depending on the motive of your hassle, he or she might also refer you to a doctor focusing on joint sicknesses (rheumatologist), joint surgical procedure (orthopedic health practitioner) or sports medicine.

What you can do

Before your appointment, you could need to write a list of solutions to the subsequent questions:

  • When did you start experiencing signs?

  • Did a specific harm make your knee start to harm?

  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?

  • How extreme are your symptoms?

  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?

  • What, if whatever, appears to worsen your signs and symptoms?

  • What medicinal drugs and supplements do you take frequently?

What to count on out of your health practitioner

Your doctor may also ask a number of the following questions:

  • Do you exercise or play sports?

  • Was the pain due to harm?

  • Do you revel in any swelling, instability or locking of the knee?

  • Are you experiencing signs in other regions, or just on your knee?

  • Have you ever had a knee ache before? If so, do you understand what the purpose changed into?

General summary

  1. Treatment for knee pain depends on the underlying cause and severity of the pain. It can range from rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications for minor injuries to physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, or surgical interventions for more severe conditions.

  2. If you experience persistent or severe knee pain, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. They can help identify the underlying cause and recommend the most suitable course of action to alleviate the pain and improve the knee's function.

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