From young athletes to older adults, knee pain is something the vast majority of people will experience at some point during their lives. Connecting the thigh to the shin and calf, the knee joint plays an extraordinary role in virtually all full-body activities. We engage our knees without even having to think about it whenever we perform simple tasks, such as standing and walking, or more advanced, dynamic actions like jumping and running.
Common Risk Factors That Can Contribute to Knee Pain
Thanks to general wear and tear, as well as injuries, the knees are one of the most common sources of acute and chronic pain. Several risk factors can also increase the risk of experiencing any kind of knee pain.
Age and Knee Pain
Knee pain becomes increasingly common as we get older because the various muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage of the knee gradually deteriorate from everyday use. After a lifetime of counting on your knees to support your weight and movements, it makes sense that these tissues would start to break down over time. Plus, older adults are more likely to develop conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis, both of which can cause or exacerbate knee pain.
Body Weight and Knee Pain
The knees support the bulk of our weight whenever we are standing or performing other upright activities. When we walk, the pressure of this weight increases. Individuals who have a high BMI are more likely to experience pain in their knees because of the increased weight and pressure that’s exerted on them.
Physical Activity and Knee Pain
Overexertion during physical activities such as sports or running can often be a source of knee pain. Knee pain from physical activity or exercise can be caused by hard impacts on the knee joint, repetitive motions, incorrect positioning, or sudden movements. Fortunately, knee injuries and pain related to physical activity can often be prevented by wearing proper equipment, paying attention to body alignment, practicing proper safety precautions, and regularly stretching and exercising the body to provide support for the knees.
Common Types of Knee Conditions That Cause Pain
There are many conditions and injuries that can cause knee pain. One of the most common is injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The ACL is a band of tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone and provides stability during dynamic movement. The ACL can be torn or sprained when pivoting quickly and suddenly, or if the knee experiences a sudden impact when hyper-extended. When you experience an ACL injury, the effect is typically immediate, with patients often experiencing pain, a popping sensation, or instability at the moment of injury.
Another common source of knee pain is chondromalacia patella, otherwise known as “runner’s knee". It is also sometimes referred to as patellofemoral pain syndrome. This is a common complaint amongst runners and athletes that engage in lots of running and jumping. Runner’s knee occurs when the cartilage under the kneecap, known as the patella, becomes damaged due to overuse or injury. Runner’s knee pain typically feels like a dull pain that spreads around the front portion of the knee, and it generally feels worse when walking or going up and down stairs. In many cases, pain associated with runner’s knee can often be relieved with rest, over-the-counter pain relievers, and applications of heat and ice.
Meniscus tears are another common cause of knee pain. The meniscus is a piece of fibrous cartilage that provides shock absorption and stability to the knee. Meniscus tears are often caused by twisting the leg while the knee is under strain. Symptoms of a meniscus tear can often appear about 24 hours after the initial injury. These symptoms generally include throbbing pain accompanied by swelling and the inability to straighten or bend the knee.
See an Orthopedic Knee Pain Specialist in Hudson County, NJ
Although many forms of knee pain can go away on their own with at-home care without the need for medical intervention, you should consider seeing a doctor if your pain is chronic or limiting your life in any way. However, if you recently suffered an injury that’s causing pain in your knee, or if you’re experiencing other symptoms, like swelling, a popping sensation, instability, or the inability to stand, it’s recommended that you seek the care of an orthopedic knee pain specialist right away.
At The Orthopedic Health Center, treating knee pain of all kinds is one of our areas of expertise. Whether you’re suffering from an acute knee injury or a chronic knee problem, we will come up with a personalized treatment plan that addresses your unique situation. We also take a conservative approach so that we can avoid the need for surgery whenever possible. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our offices in Hoboken and Jersey City.
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