Many of us have experienced knee pain at some point in our lives. The pain, discomfort and swelling when we try to walk is hard enough, but what if the pain is more than just a sign of overuse? While many times knee pain is simply due to overexertion or a minor injury, it’s possible that your knee pain may be a sign of something more severe.
What Conditions Cause Knee Pain?
There are a variety of conditions that manifest in knee pain, especially knee pain that occurs while bending. Some of the more common underlying reasons for knee pain include:
- Knee osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid arthritis, especially in older clients. This is swelling and pain associated with the natural deterioration of the knee as you age.
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) results in pain centered at the front of the knee and is especially pronounced while walking up stairs.
- Jumper’s knee, a type of PFPS that results in pain along the patellar tendon where it meets the shinbone.
- Meniscus tear – usually associated with a fall or other injury. A meniscus tear can generate pain anywhere throughout the knee.
- Ligament tears – separate from meniscus tears, tearing of the ACL, MCL, or PCL can cause extreme pain during the initial tear and injury and lead to discomfort after if not resolved.
- Cartilage tears may also be a cause of acute pain in the knee.
How do I know If My Knee Pain is Serious?
If your knee hurts when you bend or move it, you should take some time to review your injury and consider easy remedies before heading to a doctor. First, you should assess the intensity of pain. Does the pain go away with over-the-counter medications? Severe, sharp, significant, or consistent pain may be a sign that your injury requires more immediate medical attention. Additionally, consider the duration of the pain. Has this persisted for more than a few days? If knee pain does not go away after an initial intervention of rest, ice, compression, or elevation (the RICE principles), you may wish to make an appointment with a doctor. Finally, consider the location of the knee pain. If the knee pain persists through the whole of the joint rather than one localized spot, this may indicate a more severe injury.
If you find that your knee pain is particularly painful for a prolonged period of time, or severely limits your movement, seek assessment at an orthopaedic office near you.
Great Lakes Orthopaedics
If you’re seeking treatment for knee pain, you can find support with Great Lakes Orthopaedics. Reach out today to learn more about our highly specialized orthopaedic treatments and get back to living your best active life.
The information in this article is provided for general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional consultation with a healthcare provider familiar with your medical background and history.