Knee Pain Facts (cont.)
Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Knee pain facts
- What is knee pain?
- What are knee pain symptoms and signs?
- What causes knee pain?
- What are risk factors for knee pain?
- When should people with knee pain call a health-care professional?
- What are some of the complications of knee pain?
- How do physicians diagnose knee pain?
- What is the treatment for knee pain?
- Are there any home remedies for relief of knee pain?
- What is the prognosis of knee pain?
- Pictures of Osteoarthritis: A Visual Guide to OA - Slideshow
- Exercises for OA of the Knee - Slideshow
- Take the Pain Quiz!
What causes knee pain?
Knee pain can be divided into three major categories:
- Acute injury: such as a broken bone, torn ligament
- Medical conditions: arthritis, infections
- Chronic use/overuse conditions: osteoarthritis, patellar syndromes, tendinitis, and bursitis
Below is a list of some of the more frequent causes of knee pain. This is not an all-inclusive list but rather highlights a few causes of knee pain in each of the above categories.
Fractures: Direct trauma to the bony structure can cause one of the bones in the knee to break. This is usually a very obvious and painful injury. Most knee fractures are not only painful but will also interfere with the proper functioning of the knee (such as kneecap fracture) or make it very painful to bear weight (such as tibial plateau fracture). All fractures need immediate medical attention.
Ligament injuries: The most common injury is the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury. This is often a sports-related injury due to a sudden stop and change in directions.
Meniscus injuries: The menisci (medial and lateral) are made of cartilage and act as shock absorbers between bones in the knee. Twisting the knee can injure the meniscus.
Dislocation: The knee joint can be dislocated, which is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. This injury often occurs during a motor-vehicle accident when the knee hits the dashboard.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that can affect any joint in the body. It can cause severe pain and disability.
Gout is a form of arthritis that is most commonly found in the big toe, though it can also affect the knee.
With septic arthritis (infectious arthritis), the knee joint can become infected; this leads to pain, swelling, and fever. This condition requires antibiotics and drainage treatments as soon as possible.
Chronic use/overuse conditions
Patellar tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendons connecting the kneecap (patella) to the bone of the lower leg. Patellar tendinitis is a chronic condition often found in individuals repeating the same motion (such as runners and cyclists).
Osteoarthritis: A wearing down of cartilage of the joint due to use and age
Children can develop inflammation of the point of bony insertion of the patellar tendon (Osgood-Schlatter disease).
Viewers share their comments
Find out what women really need.