Medical Article

Know Knee Pain

The knee relies on a number of fixings including bones, ligament, tendons and cartilage. It has the largest and most complex joint in the body. In one stage of life most of the people are suffering with knee pain. It is common in older and overweight individuals. Sports, exercise, and other activities can cause muscle strains, tendonitis and more injuries to the ligament and cartilage. Common causes of knee pain include osteoarthritis, torn menisci, torn ligament etc.
In order to understand the cause of knee pain, it is necessary to note the structure that contributes to the knee joint. Severe knee pain limits daily activities. Mild knee pain may be a chronic hindrance to the desired active lifestyle.

Structure of the Knee

The knee joint is made up of three bones, the lower end, the thigh bone or femur, the upper end, the tibia or the shinbone and the kneecap or the patella. The articular surfaces of the bones are covered with cartilage. Between femur and tibia are two semilunar cartilages, the medial and the lateral menisci. The quadriceps muscles straighten the knee from the front, while the hamstrings bend the knee from behind. The joints are stabilized by the ligaments within the knee and the tendons give stability to it.  The knee joint is enclosed in a capsule, which is lined on the inner surface by a tissue called the synovium.   The joints also contain a fluid. In disease conditions it increases and results in swelling.
Injury to any part of the joint causes knee pain, mainly the articular surface of the bone, cartilage lining the bones, menisci and ligaments.  An Orthopedic surgeon or a Rheumatologist could find solution to the sufferings.

Symptoms of knee pain

The location of knee pain varies with the structure involved. If there is an infection, the whole knee might be swollen and painful, in case of torn meniscus or fracture of a bone symptom will be in a specific location. The severity of the pain may vary, from minor ache to a severe and disabling pain. Other difficulties accompanying knee pain are difficulty in walking due to instability of the knee, limping due to discomfort, unable to bend the knee.

Causes of Knee pain

Knee Ligament Injuries :  The ligaments connect your thigh bone to your lower leg bones. They hold your bones together and keep the knee stable.  Knee ligament sprains and tears are very common in sports injuries, and can occur in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and medical collateral ligament(MCL).  Any of these injuries can result in severe knee pain and could require surgery.

Knee Cartilage Tears

Other injuries, including tears, can take place in the cartilage of the knee. Cartilage is a semi-hard (tough, but flexible) tissue that covers the end of your bones. Knee cartilage comprises the two menisci on either side of the joint; the medical meniscus,  located on the inside of the knee and the lateral menicus, positioned on the outside of the knee. You must have probably heard the phrase “meniscus tear”, a tear in the knee cartilage, is a common injury, and typically requires surgery.

Osteoarthritis : It can diagnosed by X-ray . In this case, the joint has chronic wear and tear. Such patients usually complain about pain, joint swelling and decreased motion. Most of the time, the symptoms are shown in older or overweight individual and can occur in young people with knee trauma.

Rheumatoid arthritis : In this autoimmune condition, the patient’s body produces certain proteins that attack joints. Joint swelling, morning stiffness and decreased range of motion are the symptoms. Usually the small joints of hands and feet are affected in the beginning. Both joints symmetrically get affected.

Gout : The condition occurs due to increased uric acid levels in the blood. The big toe is commonly affected by it. In this condition, the joints become sensitive and slight touch can cause pain. There will be pain, swelling and redness in knee joints. Blood and joint fluid testing for uric acid help to diagnose the condition.

 Reactive arthritis : The reason for this is urogenital or the intestinal tract infection. It is associated with reactive arthritis like conjunctivitis, urethritis and arthritis.
Injuries cause knee pain

Meniscal tear : From a twisting injury, tear in the medial or lateral meniscus may occur. The patient will not able to straighten the leg, locking, clicking or giving way of the knee and swelling. To confirm it MRI or arthroscopy test is preferred.

Cruciate ligament tears : Cruciate ligament tears result in some pain, instability of the knee joint. MRI or arthroscopy used to confirm the diagnosis.

Ligament injuries : Pain, swelling and instability of the joint is the symptom of ligaments injuries. Medial and lateral collateral ligaments injuries occur during contact sports. MRI preferred for diagnosis.

Patellar tendon injuries : Frequent injuries to the patellar tendon result cause inflammation or rupture. Due to this the patient will feel severe pain, swelling and an inability to move the leg at the knee joint. MRI and physical examination is the common way for diagnosis.

Bacterial and viral infection also cause knee pain . Some bacterial infections in knee joints cause pain, swelling and redness of the joint with fever. Viral infections, like Chikungunya, cause fever and pain in joints including knee.

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