Mystery of Knee Pain

Mystery of Knee Pain

Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. Knee pain may be the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. Medical conditions — including arthritis, gout and infections — also can cause knee pain.

With any kind of activity that you are doing: walking, running, golfing, biking, going up stairs or simply rising from a chair, your knees do important work.

Sometimes that work leads to pain. To get the relief you need, your doctor have to identify the right cause. Here are the few of the factors that go into that process:

Where is your pain?

Searching for the cause of your knee pain is key for the right treatment plan. Knee is formed of more than one compartment/location, and each one can have pain caused by different source.

For example, pain below your kneecap might be a sign of patellar tendonitis, or inflammation in the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. Pain above the kneecap often means Quadriceps Tendonitis.

Pain on the inside or outside of your knee could has truly varied causes. It might be a sign of a torn ligament (the medial collateral ligament on the inside or lateral collateral ligament on the outside). But it also could indicate a torn meniscus.

Those are just examples of the causes, not including various types of arthritis. Location is important, but we also ask other questions, such as…


When do you feel better or worse?

You’ve probably heard the “RICE” acronym before. That’s rest, ice, compression and elevation, and it’s a decent guideline for conservative management of minor pain — at least as a starting point.

But nobody is at rest all the time. So when do you feel your pain the most?

For instance, does walking up or down a flight of stairs trigger pain behind your kneecap? That could be a sign of osteoarthritis. With osteoarthritis, pain also tends to get worse over the day as you’re more active.

On the other hand, pain that starts strong in the morning and gets better as you move during the day sounds more like an inflammatory condition, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.

If you are seeing a doctor, make note of all of this. The smallest details — even the resting positions that bring you the most relief — will help in finding the right diagnosis.

How do you describe your pain?

I know, it’s not an easy question sometimes. But you probably can tell the difference between a dull, throbbing pain and a sharp, burning sensation.

That’s important. A sharp, burning (some say “knifelike”) sensation more often indicates an irritated nerve rather than a joint or ligament problem. On the other hand, you might describe pain from arthritis as more constant and achy.

Is anything different associated with your pain?

For example, can you still flex your knee all the way? Most patients get frightened when their knee locks and can’t straighten anymore. Often the culprit is called Baker’s cyst, a fluid-filled sac behind the knee caused by inflammation.

A clicking sound also triggers concern for many patients. Nobody wants to hear a click with every step. Sometimes, it’s harmless, but if that clicking comes with pain, you might have a mechanical problem such as a torn meniscus.

These are just a few examples among many. The knee is a complicated — and critical — part of your everyday life. So when you have pain that comes with serious symptoms or lasts for more than a week or two, seek the right diagnosis by getting a physical exam and any necessary imaging that comes with it.

Give Us a Call today to schedule your Appointment and start the treatment process.

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