The largest joint in the body and vital for movement, the knee endures a great deal of stress from sporting activities like running, jumping, and cycling, as well as from everyday activities like kneeling, climbing, and walking. The knee is a complex hinge joint that allows the leg to flex and extend while also providing a small degree of rotation. This rotating ability, along with the pressure, weight, and impact endured by the knee on a regular basis makes it particularly vulnerable to pain and injury. It’s no wonder, then, that knee pain is the number one reason people visit orthopedic specialists.
The bones that make up the knee provide weight-bearing support and are comprised of the shin bone (tibia) and the thigh bone (femur). The calf bone (fibula) provides additional support and the kneecap (patella) covers and protects the knee joint. Other components of the knee include muscles, which control movement, ligaments and tendons that provide stability, and special fibrocartilage and synovial fluid which allows for smooth, pain-free movement.
With the knee being such a complicated joint, there are a number of issues, injuries, and conditions that can affect any of the components that make up the knee and cause pain. Every day, millions of people of all ages are afflicted with knee pain. Whether due to a sports-related injury, diseases such as osteoarthritis and inflammation, or just regular wear and tear, chronic knee pain can have a detrimental effect on your overall quality of life.
Common Causes of Knee Pain
There are a number of diseases or injuries which could cause knee pain, but some of the more common ones are:
- Torn ligaments or cartilage
- Wear and tear
- Tendonitis or Tendon Tears
Knee pain is classified as either acute (immediate), typically caused by injury or infection, or chronic (long-term) often caused by inflammation or injuries.
Symptoms of knee pain are dependent on the underlying cause but could result in:
- limited mobility
- swelling or stiffness
- reduced strength and stability
- restricted movement of the knee joint
- Inability to reach full extension of knee
Interesting Knee Pain Statistics
- Nearly a quarter of all U.S. adults suffer from frequent knee pain
- The leading cause of knee pain in adults 50 years or older is osteoarthritis
- Obesity can also lead to knee pain
- More women than men report knee pain
Common factors contributing to knee pain include excess weight, improper techniques when exercising, sport activities, poor muscle strength and flexibility, overuse, and previous injuries.
There are some measures you can take to prevent or reduce your chances of experiencing knee pain. For example, excess weight puts an enormous amount of strain and pressure on your knee joints which can increase your risk of injury, so be sure to maintain a healthy weight. When exercising or playing a sport, be diligent about using proper form and technique so as to not cause undo stress on your joints. Finally, keep your muscles strong and flexible as they play a critical role in supporting your knee and maintaining proper range of motion.
When to See an Orthopedic Specialist
If treated in a timely manner, some cases of knee pain can be completely alleviated. Knee pain left untreated for too long, though, could result in chronic knee pain, joint damage, and disability. Many people suffer through the pain or just live with it, but they could be making their condition worse. Don’t compromise your quality of life. Be sure to visit an Orthopedic Specialist right away if you experience any of the following:
- Noticeable swelling of the knee area
- Pain and discomfort when any pressure is put on the knee
- Feeling like your knee might give out if you put any weight on it
- Redness, pain, and tenderness of the knee
- Soreness and stiffness of the knee after being sedentary for long periods of time
- Inability to fully extend or flex your knee
- Decreased range of motion
- Dull or sharp knee pain that won’t go away
Orthopedic specialists are experts in conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system. They specialize in diagnosing and treating issues affecting joints, bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Orthopedic doctors can devise a plan of treatment, surgical or non-surgical, to help you get back your range of motion and lessen or eliminate your knee pain. The most important thing is to not wait too long to see an orthopedic specialist when you start experiencing knee pain. Early treatment and diagnosis can go a long way in preventing further damage.
Coastal Orthopedics has the answers you need.
An untreated or improperly treated knee injury can result in permanent damage. If you are currently experiencing knee pain, don’t put it off; schedule a consultation with an Orthopedic Specialist today. At Coastal Orthopedics, our experienced specialists can quickly diagnose and effectively treat your condition to get you back to doing what you love most. Call 941-792-1404 or request an appointment here today.