Knee pain occurs when an injury or underlying condition affects the knee, bringing on frequent pain. This can be uncomfortable and does not discriminate, targeting people of all ages and activity levels. Doctors frequently see patients in their offices complaining of this ailment.
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Causes of Knee Pain
The causes are nearly infinite. The knee has four significant parts that can become damaged quickly. These four parts are the bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. When any of these parts of the knee are hurt, it can become painful. Some exact causes include:
- Injury to the knee
- Body posture when walking
Not only can an injury to the knee shatter a bone or tear an important ligament, but this pain can also be a sign of arthritis. The overuse of your knee in physical activities can wear down the cartilage in your knee, causing pain as the bones grind against each other.
Interestingly, a change in body posture when walking can also cause pain when more weight is being shifted onto the knees than usual. Before seeking treatment and relief for knee pain, however, it is vital to know the symptoms.
Symptoms of Knee Pain
This pain can be caused by so many different parts of the knee, that all symptoms vary. Not everyone suffering from knee pain will feel or see the same symptoms. However, those suffering will generally experience:
- Pain when walking
- Swelling in the knee
- Burning pain
- Sore pain
- Pain that shoots down the rest of the leg
If you notice any of the symptoms associated with knee pain, it is important to get help from a doctor to diagnose and understand why the pain is there.
Diagnosing Knee Pain
Since there are so many causes, two different tests need to be performed to diagnose the pain and understand the exact cause. This will allow for doctors to properly treat the pain before it worsens.
X-Ray: Doctors may recommend getting an X-ray to take pictures of your knee bone. This is especially important if you have injured yourself. X-rays are painless and only take a few minutes. They can be done on the same day as your visit to the doctor.
MRI: An MRI is another test used to diagnose and find the exact cause of the pain. During an MRI, patients will need to remove all metal pieces on themselves as to not trigger the machine and let it work appropriately. The device works by taking pictures of your knee. Unlike an X-ray, MRIs can show the doctor the knee bone, ligaments, and cartilage.
Treating Knee Pain
Once a diagnosis and cause have been found, the next step is to get treatment. Every cause has a different course of treatment, but the common treatments for this pain are surgery and physical therapy.
Surgery: During surgery, the pain is fixed by replacing and repairing the broken bones and ligaments that are causing the discomfort. Kneecaps can be replaced with metal during surgeries if that is the cause of the patient’s knee pain.
Physical Therapy: You may need physical therapy if you have strained a muscle. While the pain is uncomfortable, it does not require surgery as the muscle can heal itself over time and with rest. Physical therapy teaches patients to use their bodies after being dormant. It can be painful, but, in the end, it treats the discomfort.
Preventing Knee Pain
Everyone can prevent this by maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. For instance, discomfort and injuries are more likely to develop if you are obese. While knees are built to hold our weight, it can become too much for the knee and cause issues like arthritis when someone gains too much weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential.
Not only can weight loss help prevent the pain but so can stretching. Injuries mainly occur because athletes do not stretch properly. There are muscles in your knees that need to be stretched prior to running, jumping, and exercising.
- Can knee pain come back after treatment? If you injure your knee again, it will come back. This is common and it may come back after treatment too.
- When should you see a doctor? If you are feeling abnormal pain, even if it is not intense, go see a doctor. This is especially important if the pain is not going away on its own or with pain medications.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!