The Knee is one of the most common pain in many active and sedentary individual.  More common source of pain in knee is due to localized problem, but in some cases it could be referred pain from other joint such as back or hip.  There are several factors which causes knee pain, some of which present suddenly due to a specific incident, others which develop gradually over time.

  • Knee Joint:

The knee is the largest joint in the body.  The knee joins thigh to lower leg with two anatomical articulations.  One between femur (thigh bone) and tibia (lower leg), other one between femur (thigh bone) and patella (knee cap).  Upper and lower knee bones are separated by meniscus which helps in absorbing shock and all bones are connected with ligaments, tendons and muscles.   The knee joint serves the relatively simple purpose of allowing our joint to bend (flex) or straighten (extend) to allow the body to perform many activities.  Knee also allows some rotations at joint.  Since knee supports nearly the whole weight of the body, it is common for both acute injury and the development of arthritis.

  • Causes:

Listed are the common causes of knee pain.

Sprains are injuries to ligament which is caused by putting tension on ligament beyond their capacity. It is caused by forced twisting, sudden stop while running, blow to the knee, landing awkwardly after jumping.  Most common sprains in knee are MCL, ACL, LCL, PCL sprains.

Strains are injuries to muscles which are caused by putting tension on muscle beyond their capacity. Strains are common among professional and amateur athletes, but also might occur during everyday activities.  Most common strains in knee are quadriceps, hamstring and patellar tendon strain.

Meniscus is C shape disc like cartilage in the knee joint which act as shock absorber.  There are two meniscus in our body medial and lateral. Twisting injuries can cause tears in meniscus, but tears can also occur due to wear and tear (degenerative tear).

Bursitis is inflammation of one or more bursa.  It can happen due to an acute injury to due to overuse chronic problem.  Most common Bursitis in knee is prepatellar bursitis (housemaid’s knee), infrapatellar bursitis, pes anserine bursitis.

Tendinitis is an inflammation of tendon.  It can develop from sports, repetitive overhead activities.  Most common tendinitis in knee is patellar tendinitis (jumper’s knee) and hamstring tendinitis.

Osteoarthritis is most common type of knee arthritis.  Synovitis may occur along with arthritis.  It is more common in people over 40.  It happens normally due to wear and tear in joint with aging.

Baker’s cyst is caused by swelling in the knee.  It normally occurs with meniscus injury, arthritis other knee problems.

Fractures are common around knee area from sports, fall, and trauma.  It could be femur, tibia, and patella fracture.  It is treated conservatively or surgically depends upon type and extends of injury.

Dislocations are not that common around knee.  Most common knee dislocation is patellar dislocation.  It can happen due to sudden trauma or direct blow to the joint.

Iliotibial (IT) band friction syndrome is pain along lateral side of knee, it happens due to friction of IT band.  It generally happens with biking, running, hiking, cycling, and repeated squatting activity.

Patello-femoral pain syndrome occurs due to overuse, lateral patellar tracking, roughening under patella due to other reasons.  In this condition patient usually complains of pain in front of knee has trouble going down stairs more then up, unable to sit on floor with cross leg.

Osgood-Schlatter disease is common causes of anterior knee pain in adolescents.  It happens due to running, jumping, and other sports.

  • Surgery:

Most common knee surgeries are arthroscopic meniscus repair, ACL repair, total knee replacement.  You might not want to rush into knee surgery. Physical therapy can be just as good for a common injury as per researchers.  Although patient who has tried all conservative method and still in pain and agony should go for surgery.

  • Physical Therapy:

Physical therapy is widely recognized as being the best form of treatment for most of the knee conditions listed above.   Depending on the type of injury our therapist will evaluate you and plan personalized treatment to achieve painless, full function and minimize recurrence in the future.  Early treatment helps patient for faster recovery. Please call our office if you have any questions and one of the physical therapist will be happy to answer any question you may have.