Like many in today’s technologically driven society, you’ve likely had phases in your life where you became sedentary. With the majority of individuals working in an office setting that involves lots of sitting and experiencing life outside work involving little healthy activity, the result can often be problems with joints.
It’s no wonder, then, that many experience knee pain in their lifetime. A sedentary lifestyle happens to be a major cause of knee pain.
Knee pain can also be a byproduct of an overuse injury, sheer wear and tear, or even lack of rest and recovery for those who do happen to live active lifestyles. Knee pain can also occur regularly in those with chronic conditions, such as arthritis or patellofemoral syndrome.
It’s true that chronic knee pain is quite common and has a wide range of causes.
In what follows, we’ll be discussing the causes, symptoms, and potential treatments of knee pain. The discussion will help you understand the basic reasons why knee pain is so prominent and some of the preventative measures to take to avoid the problem in the first place.
Causes of Knee Pain
Knee pain has several causes, some resulting in very mild symptoms and others resulting in debilitation and immobility. It’s interesting that some who experience knee pain can’t recall the circumstances surrounding the time their knee pain began. When individuals have this scenario, they often wonder, “Could my knee pain be arthritis?”.
It certainly can be. In fact, with over 100 different types of arthritis, the likelihood of arthritis is high considering that you didn’t experience any trauma or injury to the knee.
It’s important to note the difference between temporary knee discomfort and chronic, persistent knee pain. The difference resides in the level of pain experienced and how one should treat it.
The following are the most common causes of knee pain:
• Arthritis (more specifically, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout)
At its most basic, arthritis is simply the inflammatory swelling of joints, ultimately causing tenderness and pain at the source.
• Tendonitis (more specifically, patellar tendonitis)
Another inflammatory condition, tendonitis, results in pain, tenderness, and soreness of the tendons surrounding the knee bone.
• Overuse Injuries (torn ligaments, ruptured tendons, and meniscus tears)
Typically caused by lack of rest and recovery, natural wear and tear, or trauma
• Tumors or Infection (bone cancer)
• Physiological Issues (poor posture, poor walking mechanics, and lack of physiological awareness)
• Patellofemoral Syndrome A syndrome often occurring in active individuals and elderly individuals, causing pain between the knee and thighbone(femur).
• Osgood-Schlatter Syndrome A condition prevalent in adolescent children and young teens, caused by the rapid growth and bony changes at the area of the tibial tuberosity (just below the patella), resulting in marked tenderness.
Having the ability to pinpoint symptoms and having the proactive mindset to address them, either on your own or with the help of a medical professional, will ultimately encourage a speedy recovery.
As always, the best medicine is prevention. However, sometimes prevention isn’t possible, in which case being as proactive as possible with symptom identification and treatment is your next best solution.
Common Patterns of Knee Pain
These are the patterns of symptomatic knee pain that should be noted:
• Persistent aches and pain in any part of the knee
• Relentless throbbing
• ‘Pins and Needles’ sensation
• Lack of mobility
• Waxing and waning pain
• Sharp pain with movement
The thing to pay close attention to is whether or not the pain improves or remains persistent. Persistent pain for a prolonged period of time should be addressed, and it’s best to seek medical attention from a physician.
Whatever the case, if you experience any symptoms, mild to severe, the first step you should take no matter what is rest. This will help you make the correct subsequent decisions. But, remember that a delay in diagnosis means a delay in treatment and recovery.
Treatments of Knee Pain
Knee pain is often the byproduct of a poor lifestyle. The knees take on a lot of the load of our body weight. Poor lifestyle often leads to being overweight and inactive, and the knees are going to take the brunt of the force and suffer the most health problems.
If you haven’t experienced any acute trauma or injury, and you aren’t suffering from chronic conditions like arthritis or tendonitis, a poor lifestyle is the likely cause of knee pain.
Thus, the first and best treatment outside of prevention in the first place is lifestyle changes. Examples of such changes include frequent exercise, dietary changes, weight loss, and stretching.
Other medical treatments of knee pain include:
• Steroidal injections
• Anti-inflammatory prescription medication
• Muscle relaxants
• Rest and recovery
• Physical rehab
There have been many advancements in the surgical treatment of arthritic knees, including the total knee replacement. As time has gone by, this surgery has become much more common and has had continued improvement in outcomes. It can truly be the saving grace to many people who have chronic knee pain due to degenerative disease of the knee.
With knee pain being such a prevalent issue in many individuals, young and old, the importance of prevention can’t be stressed enough. By taking part in low-impact exercise, making lifestyle changes as necessary, resting and recovering by listening to your body, and even making a footwear change, you can often combat knee pain on your own.
Once you begin to experience knee pain, it begins to hinder other aspects of your life and may even lead to other sources of pain in your ankles, back, and neck.
The good news is that knee pain is often preventable and widely treatable, no matter how mild or severe. If you become concerned, the best course of action is consultation with your doctor.