Your knee is a very complex joint and has a big responsibility, which is to carry your body weight day in and day out. Whether you are getting out of bed, sitting down to eat, standing in the shower, or heading off to work, your knees make these activities possible. That is why knee pain makes any and all of these normal daily activities quite challenging.
There are many possible causes of knee pain, and they often relate to your fitness level, your daily activities, and your overall health. Let’s take a look at how the knees function, some of the typical causes of chronic knee pain, and who you can talk to about treatment that works for you.
Anatomy of the Knee
The knee is formed by the tibia (shinbone, or the large lower-leg bone), the femur (thighbone, or the upper leg bone), and the patella (kneecap), and they are connected by a network of ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Each of the bones is also covered with a protective layer of cartilage to serve as a shock absorber, to help the bones move smoothly and so they do not rub against each other as you move.
Any problem affecting the bones and soft tissues in this area can cause knee pain, because our joints are strong but delicate. Knee pain can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, swelling, stiffness, and the inability to bear weight.
Common Causes of Knee Pain
Knee pain is one of the most frequent reasons why patients see their doctors. Some of the most common causes of pain in the knee include the following:
Sprain or Strain
Either due to a sudden twisting motion or a direct traumatizing blow to the knee, a sprain to the ligament or strain to the muscle may cause knee pain.
Torn Meniscus (Cartilage Tear)
A direct blow to the knee or a forceful twisting or flexing may cause the cartilage to rip. Each knee has two sections of cartilage, and they are each called a meniscus because of their moon-like shape. The lateral meniscus is near the outer side of the knee, and the medial meniscus is near the inner side.
A torn meniscus is usually preceded by a popping sound and results in pain and instability. Wear-and-tear arthritis can also cause this type of injury to the cartilage.
Usually affecting either people who play sports or people of advanced age, osteoarthritis is caused by a thinning of the cartilage due to wear and tear in the knee. The lack of sufficient cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, which is very irritating and causes pain and inflammation.
The forceful hitting of the legs on the ground when jumping, running or jogging can cause tendonitis, which is the inflammation of one or more tendons. When this occurs due to the overuse of the patellar tendon (the tendon of the kneecap), it is called jumper’s knee.
Knee Pain Treatment in Little Rock
Our own board-certified knee surgeon, Dr. William F. Hefley, specializes in hip, knee, and shoulder surgery as well as sports medicine. He heads our compassionate and highly skilled orthopedic medical team, and our goal is to relieve your knee pain and restore your mobility so you can get back to your active lifestyle.
To request an appointment, call us today at (800) 336-2412 or fill out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to hearing from you.