Knee pain can be caused by a sudden injury, an overuse injury, or by an underlying condition, such as arthritis. Treatment will vary depending on the cause. Symptoms of knee injury can include pain, swelling, and stiffness. Multicare’s integrated team of specialists will do a complete evaluation of your knee and determine the best treatment options possible to help you get your life back. Call their office in Papillion, Nebraska, at (402) 505-7989 or schedule an appointment online for an evaluation of your knee pain.
The location and severity of knee pain may vary, depending on the cause of the problem. Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany knee pain include:
Swelling and stiffness
Redness and warmth to the touch
Weakness or instability
Popping or crunching noises
Inability to fully straighten the knee
Causes of knee pain
Knee pain can be caused by injuries, mechanical problems, types of arthritis and other problems.
Torn meniscus – A knee injury can affect any of the ligaments, tendons or fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that surround your knee joint as well as the bones, cartilage and ligaments that form the joint itself. Some of the more common knee injuries include:
ACL injury – An ACL injury is a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — one of four ligaments that connect your shinbone to your thighbone. An ACL injury is particularly common in people who play basketball, soccer or other sports that require sudden changes in direction.
Fractures – The bones of the knee, including the kneecap (patella), can be broken during falls or auto accidents. Also, people whose bones have been weakened by osteoporosis can sometimes sustain a knee fracture simply by stepping wrong.
Torn meniscus – The meniscus is the tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone. It can be torn if you suddenly twist your knee while bearing weight on it.
Knee bursitis – Some knee injuries cause inflammation in the bursae, the small sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of your knee joint so that tendons and ligaments glide smoothly over the joint.
Patellar tendinitis – Tendinitis causes irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons — the thick, fibrous tissues that attach muscles to bones. This inflammation can happen when there’s an injury to the patellar tendon, which runs from the kneecap (patella) to the shinbone and allows you to kick, run and jump. Runners, skiers, cyclists, and those involved in jumping sports and activities may develop patellar tendinitis.
Loose body – Sometimes injury or degeneration of bone or cartilage can cause a piece of bone or cartilage to break off and float in the joint space. This may not create any problems unless the loose body interferes with knee joint movement, in which case the effect is something like a pencil caught in a door hinge.
Iliotibial band syndrome – This occurs when the tough band of tissue that extends from the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee (iliotibial band) becomes so tight that it rubs against the outer portion of your thighbone. Distance runners and cyclists are especially susceptible to iliotibial band syndrome.
Dislocated kneecap – This occurs when the triangular bone that covers the front of your knee (patella) slips out of place, usually to the outside of your knee. In some cases, the kneecap may stay displaced and you’ll be able to see the dislocation.
Hip or foot pain – If you have hip or foot pain, you may change the way you walk to spare your painful joint. But this altered gait can place more stress on your knee joint and cause knee pain.
Types of arthritis
Arthritis of the knee
Osteoarthritis – Sometimes called degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It’s a wear-and-tear condition that occurs when the cartilage in your knee deteriorates with use and age.
Rheumatoid arthritis – The most debilitating form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can affect almost any joint in your body, including your knees. Although rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease, it tends to vary in severity and may even come and go.
Gout – This type of arthritis occurs when uric acid crystals build up in the joint. While gout most commonly affects the big toe, it can also occur in the knee.
Pseudogout – Often mistaken for gout, pseudogout is caused by calcium-containing crystals that develop in the joint fluid. Knees are the most common joint affected by pseudogout.
Septic arthritis – Sometimes your knee joint can become infected, leading to swelling, pain and redness. Septic arthritis often occurs with a fever, and there’s usually no trauma before the onset of pain. Septic arthritis can quickly cause extensive damage to the knee cartilage. If you have knee pain with any of the symptoms of septic arthritis, see your doctor right away.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a general term that refers to pain arising between the kneecap and the underlying thighbone. It’s common in athletes; in young adults, especially those whose kneecap doesn’t track properly in its groove; and in older adults, who usually develop the condition as a result of arthritis of the kneecap.
When to seek care
- Can’t bear weight on your knee or feel as if your knee is unstable or gives out
- Have marked knee swelling
- Are unable to fully extend or flex your knee
- See an obvious deformity in your leg or knee
- Have a fever, in addition to redness, pain and swelling in your knee
- Have severe knee pain that is associated with an injury
Your treatment options will depend on what our team of integrated physicians find during your evaluation. Treatment may include one or more of the following:
- Regenerative Injections
- Pain Modulating Injections
- Chiropractic Adjustment
- Manual manipulation
- Stretching / Strengthening Exercises
- Weight Management
- Movement Retraining
- Laser Therapy
- Ultrasound Therapy