Pain in the knee can result from several different reasons. Knee pain in fact involves any pain in or around the knee joint but it is not always felt directly over the knee. Instead, you may feel it in the middle of your shin, in your thigh or even in your hip. Knee pain may actually reflect a problem in your back, rather than your knee itself.
Knee pain can be felt suddenly after an injury (acute pain) or it can be due to extension of a chronic medical condition. Ligament injuries or fractures are a primary and serious cause of sudden knee pain after a trauma. These kinds of injuries are more common in the young adult. Osteoarthritis is the main cause of chronic knee pain in the adult population.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder in the world and affects something like 9-10 million British. In western countries it is one of the most frequent causes of pain, disability and loss of function in adults. Osteoarthritis is mainly characterized by cartilage breakdown within the joint. As cartilage wears and tear, bones begin to rub against one another and cause pain. Osteoarthritis can also occur due to trauma. This condition, when at a late stage, is treated with a total knee replacement.
What are other possible causes of knee pain?
Other forms of arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis, traumatic arthritis, Septic arthritis and so on…
Sprains or strains of the ligaments or muscles
These types of injuries often occur when the knee undergoes a twisting injury or receives blunt trauma. Sprains and strains most often occur during contact sports such as football or rugby but they may also occur during normal activities due to a sudden twisting movement.
Torn Anterior or posterior cruciate ligament.
The anterior and posterior cruciate ligament are important stabilisers of the knee joint and are often torn or sprained due to trauma.
This kind of injury need often surgical reconstruction.
Turn soft cartilage (Menisci)
Menisci are thin structures of fibrous cartilage (soft cartilage) interposed between the femur (thighbone) and the tibia (shinbone). They are there as shock absorbers and to stabilize the knees by preventing abnormal movements that may lead to injury. They may tear if a wrong movement occurs. If torn the menisci may not be able to function proper and cause pain.
Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa (a shock absorber in the front of the knee) that may cause severe knee pain. They can sometimes get infected.
Chondromalacia of the Patella
With the term chondromalacia we describe the breakdown and softening of the cartilage. Chondromalacia often happens in the patella and causes anterior knee pain. It often affects young females more than males, but may cause pain in adults as well.
Low back pain and sciatica
Osteonecrosis of the knee
Osteonecrosis of the knee is a progressive condition that affects the cartilage of the knee and that leads to severe pain, stiffness, disability and loss of function. This condition when at a late stage cam be treated with surgery to reduce the pain and often more functionality.