Knee pain can be deeply frustrating, especially when you don’t know what’s causing it. Climbing the stairs, walking to the grocery store, or even standing still for too long can make your knee ache and throb. This can affect your work and make you reluctant to lead the active life you deserve.
The first step toward getting better is understanding what’s causing your pain. From sports injuries to chronic conditions, here are five of the most common causes of knee pain.
- Ligament tears
If you play a lot of basketball or tennis, or perform any other activity that involves a lot of jumping and pivoting, the cause of your knee pain may be a ligament tear.
Ligaments are tough, flexible tissues that connect the bones in your thigh and your lower leg, helping to keep the joints stable. Twisting or landing wrong can tear your ligaments, causing severe pain. Most ligament tears involve the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which is located in the middle of your knee.
- Cartilage tears (torn meniscus)
Like your ligaments, your cartilage can also tear. Located on each side of your knee, cartilage cushions your bones and absorbs shock. Forceful, sudden actions like twisting, turning, or halting can tear the cartilage in your knee. Lifting heavy weights can also lead to this injury, as can squatting or kneeling. In later life, you may even develop a cartilage tear due to simple wear and tear.
Arthritis is a common cause of knee pain, and it can affect people of all ages. Osteoarthritis, the most common form of the disease, often affects people in their 30s, though it most frequently develops in your senior years. This condition occurs due to the gradual wearing down of the tissues in your knees. Besides pain, symptoms include stiffness, limited range of movement, swelling, and grinding or catching.
Less common is rheumatoid arthritis, which causes your knee tissue to become thick and inflamed. It’s also possible to develop post-traumatic arthritis after a knee injury, like a fracture or ligament tear.
Over time, consistently putting pressure on your knees can cause the tendon that attaches your kneecap to your shinbone to become painful and inflamed. This condition is known as tendinitis.
Tendinitis is a common problem among runners and cyclists. It can also affect athletes who play jumping sports like basketball and tennis.
Bursitis occurs when the small sacs of fluid around your knee joints become inflamed. When this happens, you may experience swelling and pain. Common causes of bursitis include prolonged pressure on the knees, overuse or knee strain, trauma from a blow or fall, and infection.
Finding long-lasting relief from knee pain
At the Spine & Joint Center, we specialize in minimally invasive techniques like regenerative medicine and platelet rich plasma to help our patients find long-lasting relief. If knee pain is holding you back from doing the things you love, contact us today to find out how we can help you.