Knee pain is a common complaint among people of all ages, and may be the result of an injury or simple wear and tear of the knee joint, one of the most heavily used joints in the body. Many athletes experience knee pain as a result of torn cartilage in the knee, from injury or overuse. There are multiple conditions that result in knee pain.
The knee is a hinged joint that is formed from the connection of the large bone of the thigh, the femur, and the tibia, one of two bones that make up the lower leg. There is a bone in front of the joint called the patella, which protects the joint.
Joints are connected by fibrous tissue known as ligaments, and the knee has ligaments in the front, known as the anterior cruciate ligament, that connects the tibia to the femur. Another ligament behind the anterior cruciate ligament is known as the posterior cruciate ligament, and prevents backward motion of the tibia.
Each side of the knee joint has collateral ligaments, known as the medial and lateral collateral ligaments that also stabilize the movement of the joint. The bones of the knee are cushioned by a cartilage layer that covers the end of the tibia and of the femur. These pads of cartilage cushion the joint, and are known as the lateral and medial meniscus.
Knee Pain Conditions:
Because the knee joint is complex, the cause of knee pain may not be immediately diagnosed.
- The ligaments may become torn or swollen, or pieces of bone or cartilage may break off and cause the joint to freeze in place
- There are sacs of fluid known as bursa that exist outside of the joint itself, but their purpose is to cushion the joint
- Baker’s cyst, which cases swelling in a bursa at the back of the knee, can result from overuse or injury
- Housemaid’s knee may result from kneeling frequently, and is the second major form of inflammation of the bursa
There is a band of tissue that travels from your hip to your shin, known as the iliotibial band. When it becomes inflamed, it may swell and result in knee pain in the lateral, or outside, portion of the knee. Any of the tendons of the knee may become inflamed, and cause a condition known as tendonitis. There is also a fold of tissue in the knee joint, known as a plica that may become inflamed from overuse, causing pain and swelling at the knee. This is known as medial plica syndrome.
Osteoarthritis is a very common cause of knee pain as a result of degeneration of the cartilage that comprises the surface of the bones of the knee. It often results in pain, especially with movement. The tendons that connect the bone and muscles of the knee may become swollen and inflamed. This type of knee pain is known as tendonitis. The patella, or kneecap, may slide out of place, resulting in swelling and pain. This is usually not a result of injury, but occurs as a result of the particular anatomy and growth pattern of the patient, usually in adolescent females.
Finally, there is a disorder known as Osgood-Schlatter disease, which causes pain and swelling below the knee as a result of inflammation and overuse of the tendon the patella that connects to the tibia.
Symptoms tend to occur when you move or straighten your knee, and there is often associated swelling. If you are experiencing knee pain and swelling, you will need a thorough physical examination in addition to imaging studies that may include an X-ray of the knee or an MRI. If you are experiencing knee pain that is recurrent or persistent, you should call today for a consultation with a pain specialist who can diagnose and treat your condition and potentially prevent further injury.
Metropolitan Pain Consultants offers two forms of regenerative medicine for knee pain: Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMC). Please contact us at 201-729-0001 for an evaluation of your injury and what nonsurgical alternatives may be right for you. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. You can find us at our conveniently located clinics in West Orange, Aberdeen, and Lyndhurst.