The knee joint is one of the largest joints in the human body. It is subjected to a large load, because it takes almost the entire weight of our body. The knee joint is often injured.
The presence of knee pain can be a sign of a serious pathology. Knee joint pain not only restricts movement and causes discomfort, it can cause disability.
What is knee pain?
Knee pain is a common complaint and can occur in people of all ages. Pain in the knee joint itself can be not only the result of an injury, but also a sign of a serious disease (osteoarthritis, gout).
There are two types of pain: acute and chronic. Acute knee pain most often occurs as a result of trauma or is a sign of an acute inflammatory process.
Chronic knee pain is characterized by a gradual increase in pain. The main cause of chronic pain is the development of degenerative-dystrophic changes or chronic inflammatory process in joint tissues. Pain in the knee joint is most characteristic of the chronic process.
By nature, knee joint pain can be arching, painful, and also be accompanied by a number of other manifestations:
- Swelling and redness in the joint area;
- joint deformation;
- limitation of movement in the joint;
- Cramping in the joint during movement.
Causes of knee pain
Knee pain can be a result of aging and wear and tear on the components of the knee joint. The most common cause of acute knee pain is trauma and damage to the joint. The most common knee injuries are:
- fractures and bruises, which most often occur during a fall and are accompanied by acute pain;
- torn ligaments or tendons;
- rupture of the meniscus;
- Dislocations of both the knee joint itself and the patella.
Against the background of injury and damage to the knee joint, such diseases as bursitis and tendonitis can develop.
Other causes of knee joint pain include the presence of degenerative-dystrophic changes in joint tissues, as well as inflammatory processes:
- Bursitis. Bursitis is an inflammation of the joint bag, which is accompanied not only by pain, but also by swelling.
- tendinitis. Tendonitis is inflammation of one or more tendons. This inflammation can occur when the patella tendons are damaged. Very often they are found in people who are professionally engaged in running, jumping, skiing, as well as in cyclists.
- Arthritis is inflammation of a joint. Osteoarthritis is the most common. Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease in which all components of the joint are damaged, mainly cartilage, ligaments, capsules and muscles. Joint inflammation can also be infectious (septic arthritis) and autoimmune (rheumatoid arthritis).
Less common causes of knee pain include cysts and tumors that compress the surrounding tissues, causing pain in the knee joint.
Several factors can increase the risk of knee pain:
- Excess weight. Being overweight or obese puts more stress on the knee joints, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis.
- Presence of knee joint injuries in the past.
- certain sports. Some sports put a lot of stress on the knee joint, which increases the risk of chronic injury.
- The presence of diseases such as osteomyelitis and osteoporosis, which cause brittle bones, thereby increasing the risk of fractures.
Knee pain while walking
Pain in the knee joint, which increases with movement, is most often a sign of degenerative-dystrophic diseases (osteoarthritis). Pain occurs due to contact during movement of the articular surfaces, which are somewhat devoid of cartilage tissue.
Pain in the knee during extension and flexion
Knee pain during extension and flexion indicates an inflammatory process in the tendinous-ligamentous apparatus of the knee joint and is also manifested by inflammation of the joint bag (bursitis). Inflammation in the tendinous-ligamentous apparatus of the knee joint can occur when the patella tendon is damaged. Most often, this pathology occurs in people involved in sports.
The second cause of pain in the knee joint during flexion and extension is degenerative-dystrophic changes in the cartilage tissue of the joint (osteoarthritis).
Knee pain at rest
Painful knee pain at rest, especially at night, is most often a sign of osteoarthritis. Other causes include sprains, meniscus damage, cartilage damage, inflammation of the tendons (tendinitis), inflammation of the periarticular sac (bursitis).
Knee pain at night increases with age and is common in overweight people.
What not to do with pain syndrome
First of all, you should not self-medicate, but it is better to immediately consult a specialist. In no case, if a dislocation has occurred, do not try to straighten the joint.
Avoid sudden movements, do not create a big load on the joint - this can only increase the pain.
If you have pain in the knee joint, you should consult an orthopedic doctor. First of all, the specialist asks the patient, collects complaints and conducts a thorough examination. To rule out concomitant pathologies, the doctor may order a consultation with other specialists, for example, a neurologist.
Instrumental diagnostic methods include radiological examination, magnetic resonance or computer tomography (MRI/CT) and ultrasound of the knee joints.
Laboratory research methods are general and biochemical blood tests.
Treatment of knee pain
Depending on the nature of the injury, the specialist determines a specific treatment plan. Often, the treatment of knee pain is complex and includes drug and non-drug therapy.
Drug therapy includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and analgesics. These drugs reduce inflammation and pain in the joint. A group of slow-acting drugs or chondroprotectors are also prescribed in courses of 3 to 6 months, which help to reduce inflammation, joint pain, and also help to slow down the destruction of cartilage, for example, these drugs include combined drugs that contain glucosamine. and chondroitin sulfate.
Non-narcotic therapy is based on physiotherapeutic methods: UHF, massage, physiotherapeutic exercises, mud therapy, magnetotherapy and others. It is also recommended to wear special orthopedic underwear or shoes individually selected by the doctor.
If conservative methods are ineffective, the treatment of knee pain requires a more serious approach: the doctor may recommend different surgical methods of treatment.