Knee pain is a very commonly reported issue. According to research, it affects about 25% of adults, causing limited joint mobility and function. Experiencing chronic knee pain may have you thinking about its cause and ways to prevent it – and who better to answer such concerns than an orthopedic doctor. Dr. William Hefley, our board-certified orthopedic surgeon, is here to answer all of your questions!
1. What Are the Signs of A Knee Injury?
Knee pain is the most common sign of a knee injury. The site and severity of pain mainly depends on the cause. Some of the signs and symptoms associated with knee injuries are:
- Pain in and around the knee
- Swelling in and around the knee
- Redness in and around the knee
- Tenderness in and around the knee
- Stiffness in the knee
- Weakness in the knee
- Limitation of movement in the leg
- Feeling of your knee giving out
- Clicking and popping noises in the knee
- Inability to fully extend your knee
2. What Causes Knee Pain?
Knee pain can occur due to either a direct physical injury, arthritis or other conditions. The site and severity of pain and the degree of limitation vary according to the cause of the problem.
It’s said that an active joint is a safe joint, and it’s true that moving and exercising can be a great benefit for your joints. However, injuries happen, and it can affect the bone and cartilage components of the joint, as well as ligaments, tendons, or bursae (small, fluid-filled sacs) surrounding it. Common injuries of the knee joint include:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear
- Fractures of the bone component of the joint
- Meniscus tear (a rubber-like cartilage that acts as a shock absorber)
- Inflammation of the bursae
- Patellar tendinitis
Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints, causing joint pain, stiffness, and limitation of movement. It is the most common cause of knee pain with increased incidence in old age. Many different types of arthritis exist. However, the most common ones are:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Septic arthritis
Chronic knee pain can often be due to an underlying cause, mechanical problem, or natural aging process. They include:
- Natural wear-and-tear of the joint
- Overuse of the joint
- Dislocation of the kneecap
- Loose piece of cartilage or bone
- Change of normal gait due to hip or foot pain
3. What Are the Risk Factors for Knee Pain?
Certain factors can gravely increase the risk of experiencing knee pain, such as:
Excess weight can produce increased stress on your knee joint, even during your daily activities. It can also increase the risk for osteoarthritis, as the extra stress promotes cartilage wear-and-tear.
Research shows that there is an association between weak lower limb muscles and increased risk for knee pain. Strong muscles play a role in stabilizing the joint and protecting it from injuries.
Certain sports can put an increased stress on your knee joints and have a high risk for falls such as basketball, soccer, and jogging. Also, some occupations that require heavy, repetitive use of the knee joint can increase the risk for knee pain.
Having experienced a previous knee injury makes you at high risk for re-injuring your knee again, as well as chronic pain.
4. How to Prevent Knee Pain?
Preventing knee pain isn’t always an option, as it can happen as a part of the natural aging process. However, there are some ways to keep injuries away and preserve a healthy joint for a long time.
Shedding the Extra Pounds
Keeping a healthy weight is crucial for healthy knees. With every extra pound, extra stress is exerted on your knees, increasing the risk for knee injuries and osteoarthritis.
Conditioning Is a Must
Sports activities are good for your joints and overall health. However, playing sports recklessly can cause more harm than good. Take time to prepare your body and muscles for the demands of the sport you are play.
Be sure to practice your sport in a perfect form in order to avoid sudden joint twists and injuries.
Strengthen Your Muscles
Weak lower limb muscles increase the risk of knee joint injuries. Building up strength in your quadriceps and hamstring muscles can decrease this risk greatly.
5. When to See an Orthopedic Doctor?
Experiencing knee pain isn’t always a serious medical condition, but in some cases, such as intractable knee pain, osteoarthritis, and movement limitation, seeing an orthopedic doctor is a must, as it can lead to joint damage and disability if left untreated.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s advised that you visit an orthopedic doctor near you:
- Intractable knee pain after knee injury
- A feeling of your knee joint is failing
- Marked swelling of the knee joint
- Unable to fully extend your knee
- Visible joint deformity
- Fever associated with knee joint swelling and tenderness
Orthopedic Clinic in Little Rock, Arkansas
If you are experiencing knee pain in a way that limits your daily activities and keeps you from doing the things you love, it is time to call our orthopedic clinic in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dr. William Hefley, our highly credentialed board-certified orthopedic surgeon, along with our entire team, are here to provide all of the solutions for your knee problems and get you back on track.
You can call us at (800) 336-2412 to arrange an appointment, or you can use our online form to request one.