Knee pain can not only make it difficult for you to move around and be active, but it can also make regular, small tasks incredibly painful. While some people experience knee pain from a traumatic injury, for many others it just gradually develops due to normal wear-and-tear over many years.
Pain in the knee can actually be caused by many different reasons, especially the following:
Osteoarthritis, which is usually referred to as simply “arthritis,” is characterized by pain, swelling, and/or stiffness of the knee joint. It may also cause the joint to become deformed over time if not treated, or if it doesn’t respond to treatment.
These symptoms occur because the protective cartilage is being worn away in the knee joint, or the cartilage has been damaged. The condition can be brought on by trauma, advanced age, repetitive injury (such as when playing sports), or even just genetics.
This type of arthritis, often referred to as RA, is actually an autoimmune disease. In cases of RA, your body mistakenly attacks itself, and parts of your joints take the brunt of it. Because of this, your joint may swell, experience pain, and even experience the loss of mobility in your knee.
Cartilage or Ligament Tear
Occurring most often in athletes, a torn meniscus (C-shaped section of cartilage) or ligament tear can happen in an instant. Your meniscus acts as a cushion in your kneecap, but one twist the wrong way could tear it or a ligament in your knee.
The signs to look for in these cases is extreme pain and instability of the knee. Your ligaments are what keep your knee stable and held together to run, walk, and stand.
Sprain or Strain
A sprain or a strain, though painful, is not very severe. These minor injuries can occur through any slight trauma or just from overuse. Sprains and strains can heal by resting and icing the affected area.
Bursitis, which is like a sprain, is a temporary condition that may be painful but is not permanent. Bursitis occurs when the bursa, the cushiony sac in your kneecap, gets irritated and swollen – likely from too much kneeling or overuse.
The signs to look for if you suspect bursitis is warmth of the affected area and swelling. You should consult a doctor if you experience a fever with these symptoms.
Just as tennis elbow occurs in your elbow joint, tendonitis in your knee is often due to “jumper’s knee.” This type of tendonitis occurs from overuse, and it’s due to inflammation of the tendon that connects your patella (kneecap) to your tibia (the long bone in the lower half of your leg).
Explore your options if you experience knee pain after a significant, sudden trauma – like a car accident or a fall. If resting and physical therapy aren’t helping, consult with a doctor to determine whether surgery would help alleviate your pain or other symptoms.
Another culprit of knee pain can be a fracture in your knee. Get X-rays to rule out a broken bone in your kneecap; your doctor will advise you of any necessary next steps.
Orthopedic Surgeon in Arkansas
If you would like to see a specialist about your knee pain, or you would like a second opinion, contact Dr. Bill Hefley at Bowen Hefley Orthopedics. We are here to provide both surgical and nonsurgical alternatives to help improve your mobility and to help lessen your pain and other symptoms.
Call us at (800) 336-2412 to schedule a consultation, or request an appointment online. We look forward to helping you get back to the active lifestyle you enjoy.