Overview of Knee Pain

Overview of Knee Pain

Your knee is a complex joint connected by bones, joints, muscles and ligaments that serve to help you move and support your weight. The knee can be hurt in many different ways, so it’s important to learn about knee injuries and what options you have for treatment.

Some cases of knee pain may be minor due to strain or overuse. In these cases, some simple resting, icing and pain medication may be all you need to feel better. However, more severe cases of knee pain need attention from a health care professional like a physical therapist.

If you’re suffering from severe or chronic knee pain, do not hesitate to get help. Ignoring knee pain can result in permanent disability. Continue reading to learn more about the signs of serious knee pain, what causes it and what you can do for treatment.

Symptoms of knee pain

The symptoms of knee pain may appear suddenly or develop over time depending on the nature and severity of your condition. Signs of serious knee pain include:

  • Severe pain or long-lasting pain
  • Swelling
  • Loss of motion
  • Knee feels unstable or wobbly
  • Knee feels too weak to support weight
  • Cannot straighten your leg

If your knee injury occurred from an impact or a twisting or rolling motion, you might have heard or felt a loud pop. This is also a sign of serious injury, and you should get medical help immediately.

These symptoms may affect your entire knee or only a part of it. Either way, if you notice any of them, you should seek medical assistance.

Causes of knee pain

As mentioned before, the knee is a complex joint, so the causes of knee pain can vary quite a bit. Some of the most common causes of knee pain include:

  • Bursitis — The bursae are sacs of fluid in your joints that help reduce friction. Bursitis is when they become inflamed and cause pain and stiffness.
  • Tendinitis — Overuse can cause inflammation in the tendons of your knee, which is known as tendinitis. This is common in athletes who run a lot or remain in bent positions for long periods of time.
  • ACL injury — The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the ligaments in your knee that prevents your knee from twisting. Impact or severe twisting motions can sprain or tear your ACL.
  • Meniscus tear — The meniscus is a soft, tough type of cartilage in your knee that can become torn if your knee twists too hard
  • Fracture — the bones in your knee are prone to fractures if they are hit hard or if you develop osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones grow weaker and break easily.
  • Arthritis — Arthritis can wear down the cartilage and bones, causing pain and loss of mobility.

Diagnosing knee pain

No matter what causes your knee pain, you have hope from treatments like physical therapy. To receive effective treatment, though, your health care provider will need to determine the cause.

An accurate diagnosis will include an examination of your symptoms and a review of the events leading up to your pain. Your physician will also ask questions about your medical history and perform some tests. These tests may include:

  • CT scan
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound

These tests can help your doctor see the bones and soft tissue so he or she can identify the source of your pain and determine a course of action.

Treating knee pain

Treatments for knee pain depend on factors like the severity of the pain, age, sex and medical history. Extreme cases of knee pain may require surgery, but most cases respond to medication and physical therapy.

Physical therapy for knee pain focuses on strengthening and stretching the muscles and ligaments to reduce pain and provide the joint the support it needs. Many knee pain treatments include:

  • Stretching and exercising
  • Massage
  • Cold and hot therapy
  • Ultrasound
  • Controlled movements

If you  require surgery to treat your knee condition, you can still benefit from physical therapy. Physical therapy helps surgery patients recover more fully and quickly. If you have to have knee surgery, find a physical therapist who can help you prepare for surgery and recover afterward.

Schedule an appointment for knee pain at Advent Physical Therapy

The team at Advent Physical Therapy has been treating conditions like knee pain for more than 20 years. If you are suffering from knee pain and would like help reducing your pain and regaining your ability to move, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists.