knee pain

Knee Pain Can be Debilitating! Know Why

Knee Pain Can be Debilitating! Know Why.

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.

Many types of minor knee pain respond well to self-care measures. Physical therapy and knee braces also can help relieve knee pain.

Symptoms:

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

Causes of Knee Pain:

It is caused due to sudden injuries, strain injuries or any other underlying medical condition. The various causes of the knee pain are categorised as follows:

Injuries

* Injury of the anterior cruciate ligament, a ligament that connects the thigh bone and the shinbone

* Fractures

* Inflammation of knee brusae, a fluid sac around the joint cavity

* Inflammation of the patellar tendon, a tendon connecting quadricep muscles to the shin bone

* Torn meniscus, a cartilage present between the shin bone and the thigh bone

Mechanical problems

* Hip or foot pain

* Kneecap dislocation

* Loose, broken piece of cartilage or bone interfere with the joint movement

* Iliotibial band syndrome, a painful condition in which the connective tissue present on the outer portion of the thigh bone becomes stiff and rub against the thigh bone

Types of arthritis:

More than 100 different types of arthritis exist. The varieties most likely to affect the knee include:

* 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.

* Gout. This type of arthritis occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joint. While gout most commonly affects the big toe, it can also occur in the knee.

Risk factors:

A number of factors can increase your risk of having knee problems, including:

* Excess weight. Being overweight or obese increases stress on your knee joints, even during ordinary activities such as walking or going up and down stairs. It also puts you at increased risk of osteoarthritis by accelerating the breakdown of joint cartilage.

* Lack of muscle flexibility or strength. A lack of strength and flexibility can increase the risk of knee injuries. Strong muscles help to stabilize and protect your joints, and muscle flexibility can help you achieve full range of motion.

* Certain sports or occupations. Some sports put greater stress on 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 when you run or jog all increase your risk of knee injury. Jobs that require repetitive stress on the knees such as construction or farming also can increase your risk.

* Previous injury. Having a previous knee injury makes it more likely that you’ll injure your knee again.

Complications:

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.

Prevention:

Although it’s not always possible to prevent knee pain, the following suggestions may help forestall injuries and joint deterioration:

* Keep extra pounds off. Maintain a healthy weight; it’s one of the best things you can do for your knees. Every extra pound puts additional strain on your joints, increasing the risk of injuries and osteoarthritis.

* Be in shape to play your sport. To prepare your muscles for the demands of sports participation, take time for conditioning. Work with a coach or trainer to ensure that your technique and movement are the best they can be.

* Practice perfectly. Make sure the technique and movement patterns you use in your sports or activity are the best they can be. Lessons from a professional can be very helpful.

* Get strong, stay flexible. Because weak muscles are a leading cause of knee injuries, you’ll benefit from building up your quadriceps and hamstrings, which support your knees. Balance and stability training helps the muscles around your knees work together more effectively. And because tight muscles also can contribute to injury, stretching is important. Try to include flexibility exercises in your workouts.

* Be smart about exercise. If you have osteoarthritis, chronic knee pain or recurring injuries, you may need to change the way you exercise. Consider switching to swimming, water aerobics or other low-impact activities — at least for a few days a week. Sometimes simply limiting high-impact activities will provide relief.

Treatment of Knee Pain:

Treatment of the knee pain depends upon the cause. Mostly, knee pains are treated by orthopedic consultants. The various treatment options are discussed below:

· Medications:

The physician might prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers for treating pain. Medications for the underlying conditions are also prescribed.

· Physical Therapy:

Physical therapy is essential as it strengthens the muscles around the knee thereby, easing movement preventing injuries and stabilises balance.

· Injections:

In few cases, the physician directly injects corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid and platelet-rich plasma. Corticosteroids are injected for relieving pain and symptoms of arthritis. Hyaluronic acid is injected as it acts as a lubricant for the joints. Platelet-rich plasma helps in treating inflammation. In extreme cases, surgery may also be recommended.

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