Knee Pain and Its Causes

Knee Pain and Its Causes

One of the most common reasons patients come to the pain
specialists at The Pain Center of Arizona is for knee pain. This affliction can
cause instability, difficulty when walking, and sometimes complete disability.
Whether knee pain is due to an injury or to a deterioration of cartilage
(common with arthritis and other degenerative conditions), the pain management
doctors at The Pain Center of Arizona are dedicated to helping knee pain
patients get back to their active lifestyle.

Unfortunately, knee pain has a wide variety of specific
causes. Knee pain can be due to injury, an affliction with another area of the
body, or a degenerative disease like arthritis or osteoporosis.

Some knee pain results not because of the knee itself, but
from some other body part. A quick example: If a patient's core is unstable,
the body will try to gain that stability somewhere else, usually the knees.
Also, a tight iliotibial band, hip flexors, or quadriceps muscles, dominant
hamstrings or quads, or weak hip rotators can all contribute to excessive
stress and strain being transferred to your knees.

Determining where it hurts is essential in figuring out
where knee pain is coming from. There are several areas where patients may feel

Pain above the knee, meaning pain from quadriceps muscle
strain and quad tendon inflammation, often occurs due to activities where the
knees come past the toes (this usually happens because of poor squatting
technique). Pain below the kneecap is caused by the patellar tendon (which
connects the knee cap to the top of the lower leg). Pain under the knee cap is
due to excessive compression of the knee cap and also from arthritic changes
underneath the knee cap.

If the pain is localized to the back of the knee, it can be
more difficult to diagnose, since  pain
can be found on the inside, the middle, or the outside. This is usually due to
hamstring or calf muscle tendon involvement and sometimes poor joint mobility
(especially when bending the knee).

Pain felt  on the
inside area of the knee can be due to tendinitis from the groin muscles and
where the tendon inserts. Another cause may be due to ligament strain of the
medial collateral ligament (MCL) or irritation to the medial (inside) meniscus.

If pain is experienced on the outside area of the knee, it
is usually due to tendinitis from a tight iliotibial (IT) band. Pain
may also be due to ligament strain of the LCL or irritation of the lateral
(outside) meniscus.

Patients at risk for knee pain include endurance athletes
(such as swimmers or runners), explosive athletes (such as skiers, cyclists,
and basketball players), and anyone who takes part in repetitive,
movement-based activities. Others who may also be susceptible to knee pain are
adolescents, taller people, and people who have poor strength.

Though there are many causes of knee pain, the symptoms are
fairly similar across the board. Patients will notice intense pain,
inflammation, and bruising at the site of the injury, patients will notice pain
when walking or getting up and down and with stairs, there will be reduced
motion and that motion may feel painful, and patients may feel their knees
locking, catching, giving out or buckling during weight-bearing activities.


advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes
only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician's advice or
judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned
here or in any other educational medical material.

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