In this HealthHearty article, we take a look at some of the major causes of knee pain that is constant and/or recurring. Chronic knee pain, as this condition is referred to by the medical profession, can be debilitating, but a few simple remedies can reduce the intensity of the pain.
The knees are subject to the entire weight of your entire body, and thus usually tend to wear out if adequate care is not taken. This wearing out manifests in knee pain, which depending on the cause, can be either acute or chronic in nature. Acute knee pain lasts only for a few days, but chronic knee pain can continue to bother for several months.
There are many factors that can trigger knee pain. Some of the most commonly found causes and their characteristics have been described below.
There are various forms of arthritis that can affect the knee joint. Osteoarthritis is the most common among them, which is caused due to degeneration of the cartilage present in the joint. It is found more in elderly people as their cartilage wears out due to aging. The pain is at its worst in the morning, but decreases in the later part of the day. It makes moving up and down the stairs very difficult. Besides this, rheumatoid arthritis and gout are other types of arthritis that can affect the knee joint, along with other joints of the body.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
The iliotibial band is a thick fibrous ligament tissue that extends from the hip bone to the shin bone passing through the outer part of the knee. It facilitates straightening of the knee joint. When it is overused, it becomes tight and gets rubbed against the knee bone. As a result, a burning pain in the thigh and knee is often experienced. Here, the origin of the pain is the knee but it tends to move up to the outer part of the thigh. Long distance runners are highly susceptible to iliotibial band syndrome.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
This knee problem, also known as runners knee, can affect non-athletes as well. Here, a sharp pain is felt at the front part of the knee just below the knee cap. It can affect people of any age group. Those who have a dislocated knee are at a higher risk of getting this problem. This chronic pain worsens when pressure is exerted upon the knee joint due to climbing stairs, running, or prolonged periods of sitting.
This results from inflammation in the patellar tendon, which is attached to the quadriceps muscles present at the frontal part of the thigh with the shinbone. The swelling in tendons in the knee mainly occurs due to overuse of the knee joint. It is commonly found in people who are associated with sports activities like skiing and cycling.
A cyst is can be formed at the back of the knee due to a meniscal tear, and is often referred to as Baker’s cyst. When the size of the cyst is small, it does not give any painful symptoms, but as it grows larger, one gets pain in the back of the knee that may even restrict knee movement. Knee bursitis occur when the bursae sac present at the front of the knee cap becomes inflamed. It is mostly triggered by a direct injury to the knee.
When you are suffering from chronic pain in the knees, you must visit a doctor to ascertain the exact cause behind this problem. Usually, doctors first try to treat the condition with the help of conservative methods of treatment. These include easing off the pressure from the knee joint, and staying away from all such activities that tend to aggravate the pain.
Regular application of ice packs bring a lot of relief from the pain. The duration of each application should not be more than 15 minutes, but you can repeat it a number of times throughout the day. For severe pain, anti-inflammatory medicines are prescribed for oral administration. Sometimes, corticosteroid injections are required for controlling chronic arthritic knee pain.
Physical therapy is highly beneficial for relief. Physical therapists recommend knee exercises that can add strength and stability to the joint. Knee braces are helpful for osteoarthritis patients, as it provides adequate protection and support to the knee joint. In case the osteoarthritis is at an advanced stage where other options fail to give any relief, knee replacement surgery is required. Surgery for inner knee pain or any other kind of knee pain is rare and is taken as a last resort.
Chronic knee pain when bending can be prevented to a large extent by keeping the muscles around the knee strong and flexible. This can be achieved with the help of regular knee strengthening exercises. Proper warm up is a must before any kind of high impact activities. Maintain good body weight so that the knees are not subjected to unnecessary pressure. Wear the right kind of shoes during sports activities. If you get any knee injury, let it recover fully before you resume your regular activities.