Knee pain is increasingly an issue for Americans, especially as we live longer lives and carry around more weight than in earlier generations. Many different factors can lead to chronic knee pain, but common wear-and-tear experienced as a result of our daily lives contributes to many of the problems we see. Understanding the different types of knee pain and what treatment options exist will help you get the help you need and on the road to recovery.
1. Active Lifestyles
Despite all of the great benefits an active lifestyle provides, it's not without some drawbacks, particularly the wear-and-tear it puts on your joints. Runner's knee, medically known as Patellofemoral pain syndrome, is common not only amongst runners, but anybody who engages in activities that require frequent bending of the knee such as mountain climbing and cycling.
People who suffer from Runner's Knee experience pain behind and around the kneecap while bending their knees, particularly when walking down stairs.
Other common knee injuries we see as a result of active lifestyles include muscle strains and tendinitis.
2. Knee Ligament Injuries
Knee ligament injuries are also very common in those who engage in competitive sports. These injuries include knee ligament sprains as well as ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), and MCL (medial collateral ligament) tears.
These ligaments connect your thigh bone to your lower leg so tears can be extremely dangerous and often require surgery to ensure the body heals properly. If these injuries are not treated properly they can have a severe impact on your mobility later in life.
3. Knee Cartilage Tears
Knee cartilage is the tissue covers the end of your knee bones and is referred to as the meniscus. This cartilage is responsible for keeping your knee steady (preventing it from wobbling) by balancing your weight across the knee. A meniscus tear is a common but serious injury that is caused by twisting too quickly and typically requires corrective surgery to repair the meniscus and remove any parts of the cartilage that are too badly damaged.
4. Knee Arthritis
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America as it can make even basic mobility extremely painful. There are several types of arthritis of the knee but they all have this in common – they are a chronic degenerative disease that will grow worse over time and often eventually require surgery to repair.
Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Osteoarthritis typically affects people over the age of 45 and may be caused by injury, infection, being overweight, and in some cases it may be genetic.
Commonly referred to as "wear-and-tear arthritis" is caused when the natural cushioning between your knee joints begins to be worn away. As this happens and your joint bones rubs begin to rub against each other more closely, the condition worsens and will cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased mobility.
Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Knee
Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system disorder which causes the body to attack itself. It can occur anywhere in the body but it is especially common in your joints. What exactly causes rheumatoid arthritis to occur is unknown but it leads to pain, swelling, stiffness, and warmth around your knee joints.
Post-Traumatic Knee Arthritis
Post-traumatic knee arthritis is the wearing out of your knee joint caused by some sort of injury. The injury can be from anything but typically it is due to a vehicle accident, a sports injury, or a fall.
These injuries often cause damage that changes the mechanics of your knee joints which causes them to wear out faster.
Whatever is causing your knee pain, the orthopedic experts at Augusta Health's Joint Center are ready to help get back your active lifestyle. If you're ready to take action and get on the road to recovery, call us today at (540) 332-5047 to talk to one of our experts and take the first step to taking back control of your life!