Knee pain can easily keep you from carrying out your daily duties. It’s essential to learn what causes knee pain, so you can actively protect yourself, and know how to treat it, so you can find relief. If you experience knee pain but don’t get it checked immediately, it may worsen and result in a more severe condition.
Knee pain usually originates in any of these three areas: ligaments, cartilage, or kneecap. Let’s discuss the most common conditions that cause knee pain in these areas.
Knee pain may be due to damaged ligaments, the tissues that keep bones, joints, and organs connected and in place. You may be familiar with sprains or damaged or torn ligaments.
The knee has four ligaments (the anterior cruciate ligament, lateral collateral ligament, medial collateral ligament, and posterior cruciate ligament), and each one helps maintain balance in the knee. Injury in the anterior cruciate ligament is the most common. Knee problems rooted in the ligaments are classified based on which ligaments are affected.
The knee has two types of cartilage: the menisci and articular cartilage. The menisci serve as shock absorbers and maintain the knee’s stability. Twisting or over flexing your knee can also result in a sprain. Particularly severe sprains can damage cartilage, resulting in a meniscus tear.
On the other hand, the articular cartilage is slippery and plays a significant role in moving around. Its slipperiness allows bones to move smoothly around each other. A patient may sustain an articular cartilage injury from sudden impact or natural everyday wear and tear.
The kneecap, also called the patella, is the triangular bone covering the knee. There are many types of knee pain associated with the kneecap or the area surrounding it.
Chondromalacia patella occurs when the cartilage under the kneecap softens, resulting in painful friction between the knee and thigh bone.
Kneecap dislocation is when the kneecap does not follow the thigh bone. This doesn’t always negatively affect patients, but it may result in total dislocation of the kneecap from the joint. Knee dislocations appear more often in individuals who engage in a lot of physical activity, especially young children. For instance, it might be the result of a sports injury.
The kneecap can get fractured from massive impact due to an accident, fall, or intense sports activity. Since the kneecap connects to the ligaments and tendons, a kneecap fracture may cause additional damage to these connective tissues.
Another condition is knee bursitis, wherein the bursa gets inflamed. Bursitis that occurs on the inner side of the knee is referred to as kneecap bursitis, which is the most common type of knee bursitis. Kneecap bursitis often occurs in people who kneel frequently due to their occupational responsibilities.
Lastly, patellar tendonitis refers to the irritation and inflammation of the patellar tendon.
Knee pain may also be due to arthritis or the wearing down of cartilage in the knee joint. There are many different types of arthritis, but the most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and gout.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage wears away due to injury, aging, or swelling. RA is associated with an autoimmune condition wherein the body mistakenly fights off its own cells and tissues. Lastly, gout is caused by an influx of uric acid in the bloodstream, leading to the formation of crystals in the joints.
Knee Problems in Young Adults
There are some knee problems that are more likely to develop among adolescents.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is the irritation of the growth plate, which is the part of the bone near the joint. The growth plate is sensitive in a growing child, because it consists of cartilage rather than bone. Tension in this area from repeatedly extending the leg may lead to the swelling of the growth plate. Osgood-Schlatter disease may be accompanied by patellar tendinitis.
Osteochondritis dissecans occurs when a part of a bone detaches from another bone, which is part of the side of the joint. This condition can appear in any joint, but children will most commonly have it on their knees. The exact cause of this condition is unknown, although some studies show that it may be due to hereditary factors.
Knee Specialist in Farmington, MI
Many conditions can cause knee pain. Depending on the exact cause, any part of the knee may be affected. The problem may be due to damage to a ligament, cartilage, or kneecap. Knee pain may also be due to arthritis.
No sweat in finding a knee specialist in Farmington, Michigan! Here at Tri-County Orthopedics, we offer effective knee pain treatment with the help of our highly-qualified orthopedic doctors and knee specialists. You can reach us at (248) 474-5575 or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to treating your knee pain!