Knee pain is a common condition that can vary in severity, ranging from minor localized pain to swelling, tenderness and crippling pain. Some individuals with knee pain may also experience a feeling of weakness or tingling in the affected knee. Several different conditions can cause knee pain, including traumatic injury, overuse or degenerative diseases. Home remedies and specialized treatment from a doctor, such as corticosteroid injections, can usually relieve and reduce moderate cases of knee pain. For some individuals, however, knee pain is a chronic condition resulting from osteoarthritis that is difficult to fully relieve without drastic treatments, such as surgery.
The Causes of Knee Pain
The knee is a complex network of muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons. These components work together to help people move, but their constant use makes the knees a prime target for injury and stress. Blunt trauma, such as slipping and falling down directly on the knees, can cause a painful injury that leads to bruising and swelling. Improper bending and twisting of the knee can also injure the joint. Some intense sports, such as basketball and alpine skiing, may put participants at a high risk of knee pain.
Two of the most common knee conditions, bursitis and tendinitis, are often caused by overuse of the knees. For example, failing to take rest days while training for a marathon can overwork the tendons, leading to tendinitis of the knees. Workers whose jobs force them to routinely kneel and put pressure on their knees, such carpet layers and gardeners, often develop bursitis in their knees. In addition, walking on harsh and unforgiving surfaces, such as concrete slabs, can also cause knee pain over the course of many years.
Obesity can also increase the likelihood of knee pain. If an individual is overweight, their knees must carry an extra load each time the individual moves. Other health conditions can lead to knee pain, including flat feet or misaligned knees. Individuals with arthritis may also experience knee pain as the cartilage in their joints breaks down and fails to properly cushion the bones.
Treatment options for knee pain depend on the cause and severity of the pain. For acute cases of knee pain, simple at-home remedies can help relieve the pain. For example, resting and applying ice to the affected joint can reduce swelling. Taking an over-the-counter medication can relieve both the pain and swelling that accompanies knee pain. However, these solutions are ineffective for severe or long-term knee pain.
Doctors can prescribe more aggressive treatments for more severe cases of knee pain. Corticosteroid injections, for example, can provide immediate pain relief and reduce swelling in the knees; patients who suffer from chronic knee pain can receive multiple injections over time. For severe cases of knee pain, doctors can perform a total knee replacement for the patient. Knee replacement is especially effective for those whose knee pain is caused by extensive damage or osteoarthritis.
Knee pain is a common condition that can affect anyone at any age. This condition causes a number of uncomfortable symptoms, ranging from pain to swelling. In mild and moderate cases, rest and proper care at home can reduce the symptoms over a few days. However, in more serious cases, the affected individual may need injections or a knee replacement to regain full joint motion.