Are you worried about your Knee Pain?
If you have injured your knee doing exercise, in an accident or because of playing sport, you may have a sudden, intense pain caused by a more serious injury. Common sporting injuries include an ACL, a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament, one of the strong bands of tissue that connects the thigh bone to the shinbone, or a torn meniscus, a tear to the layer of cartilage between the tibia and femur, caused by over rotation or twisting of the knee joint. Pain in the knee joint could also be cause by Osteoarthritis, the most common cause of arthritis is the cartilage between the joint wearing down over time resulting in bone rubbing against bone, causing significant discomfort. You are at higher risk or developing osteoarthritis as you get older with women more likely to develop the condition. Another possible explanation could be gout, which can cause sudden and intense pain in joints, caused by a build-up of uric acid in your system leading to crystals forming in the joint. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol regularly, eating rich, fatty foods or being less active or overweight can increase your chances or developing gout. If you are concerned about the pain in your knee or cannot see any obvious reason for the onset of the pain, then it is a good idea to consult a doctor to investigate the underlying cause.
Knee pain is often caused by a strain or sprain to a tendon or muscle of the joint and can be very uncomfortable and painful to experience, the symptoms will likely make it very difficult for you to maintain your usual routine and may prevent you from doing certain activities completely while you recover. If you have experienced a sprain or strain then it is very important that you rest for a while, avoiding strenuous activities like exercising or heavy lifting, that may exacerbate your symptoms. If you feel the need, you can take pain killers to help with the pain, over the counter paracetamol, ibuprofen tablets or gels, will help. An ice pack on the affected area will help reduce the blood flow and therefore reduce any swelling. With knee injuries it is beneficial to reduce swelling further by elevating the injury, raising your leg, or propping your foot up on cushions. While putting something cold on the muscle may help, it is best to avoid using any heat packs, hot water bottles or warm baths as this will not help. It is ill-advised to treat a sprain by massaging the muscle as this could aggravate the area and cause an increased pain level. Unfortunately, it may take months for your knee joint to recover and return to normal but as your condition improves it is important to begin increasing your level of activity and gently and gradually reintroducing movement and putting weight back on to the knee as this will help prevent the knee joint from becoming too stiff through lack of use and encourage healing. Remember that while it may not always be possible to avoid muscle injuries, you can prevent them from happening by ensuring that you always warm up by stretching before participating in any exercise or sports.
Mild or moderate sprains and strains that affect the muscles and tendons of the knee joint, while painful or uncomfortable, are unlikely to be a sign of serious illness or injury and should respond to treatments you can perform at home, such as rest, ice packs, compression support bandaging, pain relief medication and elevation. If you are worried about your symptoms, you have noticed significant swelling, redness, sensitivity around the joint or currently have a fever you should book a consultation with a doctor to discuss the underlying cause of your discomfort. However, if you have recently been involved in an accident or suffered an injury because of exercise or playing sports, and the pain you are experiencing is intense or accompanied by any of the symptoms listed below then you may be suffering from a more serious injury, requiring urgent care, and should seek immediate medical attention.
- The knee joint appears deformed
- You heard a crack or loud popping noise at the time your knee was injured
- If the joint cannot bear any weight and you are unable to walk on it
- You are experiencing intense or severe pain
- If the knee joint has swollen excessively and the skin appears discoloured
- ACL injury
- Avascular necrosis
- Baker's cyst
- Broken leg
- Collateral ligament injury
- Gout (arthritis related to excess uric acid)
- Iliotibial band syndrome
- Knee bursitis (inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the knee joint)
- Medial collateral ligament injury
- Osteoarthritis (disease causing the breakdown of joints)
- Osteochondritis dissecans
- Osteomyelitis (a bone infection)
- Patellar tendinitis
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
- Referred pain from hip area
- Septic arthritis
- Torn meniscus