Knee pain is a very common condition. Understanding what is causing your knee pain must be understood in the context of the pain. How old are you? Was there a traumatic event? Where is the pain located? Did the symptoms develop immediately or over time? Once these questions are answered, you can begin to investigate the symptoms. Putting the symptoms together with the history often leads to a diagnosis. The following are some of the common knee symptoms.
OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE KNEE is one of the more commonly seen knee conditions. It is a degenerative joint disease caused by injury, joint overuse and aging that results in the wearing away of the cartilage that is designed to cushion the surface of the joint.
Damage to the cartilage results in a decrease in padding and can lead to bone on bone grinding of the joints. This is both painful and permanently damaging.
The standard way of assessing arthritis of the knee are to take weight-bearing x-rays to determine the grade of the arthritis to then best decide on the appropriate treatment. If found early, the effects of arthritis can be limited by exercises and appropriate bracing, however if left to the final stages, then more intensive treatment such as injectable therapy or surgical procedures may be needed. It is best not to ignore knee pain for too long, as the damage may be permanent and severe.
INFRAPATELLAR TENDONITIS is the inflammation, swelling and irritation of the tendon below the kneecap. It is one of the most common forms of knee injury, resulting in pain, tenderness and stiffness near the joint, which is aggravated by movement.
The pain is often worse with ascending or descending the stairs, or when getting up from a seated position, and at night. When the condition first develops the pain may only be mild and occur during or after exercise.
Shockwave therapy and rehabilitation are very effective at treating this condition.
PATELLAR MALTRACKING/ PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN SYNDROME this is an imbalance in the side-to-side forces pulling on the kneecap, that results in pulling it outwards as it slides upwards in the patellar groove. This leads to excessive friction on the cartilage on the inner surface of the knee and subsequently pain. This “maltracking” of the kneecap can also be caused by mal-alignment of the knee as in osteoarthritis.
CHONDROMALAIA PATELLAE is a condition affecting young, healthy athletic individuals. Irritation of the undersurface of the kneecap cartilage results in pain. This pain is typically felt after prolonged sitting, like for a movie, and so is called “movie goers knee”.
OSGOOD SCHLATTER’S is the rupture of the growth plate at the tibial tuberosity (front of the shin bone). The condition occurs in active pre-teen and early teenage boys and girls, coinciding with periods of growth spurts. It occurs more frequently in boys than in girls.
The presenting symptom is very intense knee pain that occurs during activities such as running, jumping, squatting, and especially ascending or descending stairs and during kneeling. The pain is worse with high impact. The pain can be reproduced by: extending the knee against resistance, or stressing the quadriceps, or striking the knee.
Bilateral symptoms (both knees) are observed in 20-30%of patients.
MENISCUS TEARS are a defect or injury in one of the two semi-circular cartilages of the knee as a result of either injury or wear and tear.
They can occur in any age group, including young athletes, degenerative middle age and the geriatric age group.
They usually include a painful “click or snap” with pain in the joint line, decreased movement and swelling. There is increased pain with twisting, squatting, and bending of the knee.