Most people experience knee pain at some point in their lives. While some may have only mild or sporadic symptoms, others may experience knee pain so severe that it interferes with daily activities or reduces quality of life. The degree of knee pain you’re experiencing usually depends on the complexity of the condition or injury.
Here are five possible conditions that are common sources of knee pain:
Inflamed bursae may cause knee pain in some people. Bursae are small pockets of fluid that lubricate the tendons of the hips, shoulders and knees in order for them to move freely along joints. Pain from bursitis builds up gradually or can be sudden and severe, especially if calcium deposits are present.
2. Knee Ligament Injuries
The ligaments are what connect your thigh bone to your lower leg bones; they hold your bones together and keep the knee stable. Knee ligament sprains and tears are very common sports injuries, and can occur to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL). These injuries cause significant pain, and they require medical attention and oftentimes surgery.
3. Patellar Tendinitis
If you have this condition, you have inflammation in the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone. Tendons are tough bands of tissue that connect muscles to your bones. When you overdo exercise, they can become inflamed and sore. You may also hear it called “jumper’s knee” because repetitive jumping is the most common cause.
Osteoarthritis – commonly known as “wear and tear arthritis” – may affect men, women and children, with women over the age of 55 at the highest risk. The condition induces pain from the loss of cartilage, which causes the bones to rub together and produce intense discomfort. It may also form from joint malformations present at birth, injuries caused in active sports or work conditions that require repetitive movements. Those with osteoarthritis typically experience pain that increases when you’re active, but gets better with rest; stiffness in the knee, especially in the morning or after sitting for a while; and/or a creaking/crackly sound that is heard when the knee moves.
5. Damaged Meniscus
According to the Mayo Clinic, a torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries in adults. Any activity that causes you to twist or rotate your knee can lead to a torn meniscus. Menisci are thin layers of cartilage that act like a cushion between your shinbone and thigh bone. If too much stress is placed on the knees, the meniscus may tear, which can cause pain and interfere with the knees proper functioning. A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling and stiffness. You might also feel a block to knee motion and have trouble extending your knee fully. How your orthopedic surgeon treats your tear will depend on the type of tear you have, its size and its location.
A new treatment option for meniscus pain is available in select European markets. The NUsurface® Implant is the world’s first medial meniscus replacement. As an alternative to knee replacement, the implant – which is made of medical grade plastic and inserted into the knee through a small incision. While it’s not meant to take the place of a total knee replacement later in life, it can serve as an opportunity to treat knee pain and keep patients active until much more invasive knee surgery is a viable option – while potentially reducing the need for second knee replacement surgeries later in life.