Unfortunately, knee pain is a common problem that most people experience at some point in their lives. We’re always on the move, so our knees are constantly being put to work. Exercise, heavy lifting, sports, a bad fall, and other activities can cause both minor and serious injuries in and around the knee. Knee pain also varies in severity, as well. For some, knee pain is just a minor ache, but for others it can limit their daily activities. Regardless, the pain coming from the knee is your body’s way of telling you something isn’t quite right, and it shouldn’t be ignored.
Below, I will give a brief overview of various causes of knee pain and what you can do to help alleviate painful symptoms.
- Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome – Runners are the most common group of people to have this knee issue; this pain can be caused from other repetitive movements like squats or lunges. This is a mild knee pain cause by pain underneath the kneecap. Physical therapy, rest, and strength training help reduce this kind of pain. Getting the quadriceps (front thigh muscles) stronger is very important for this problem. For acute relief, a patellar strap brace can be very helpful.
- Meniscus Tear – This type of injury is caused by pivoting and twisting motions, usually abrupt. If you hear loud, painful clicks in your knee while squatting or climbing stairs, this is a good sign of a meniscus tear. Instability or locking of the knee is a common sign of significant meniscus injury. Surgery isn’t always needed for these tears, and often, rest and physical therapy is enough to heal it. Athletes commonly have these tears.
- Chondromalacia Patella – This issue occurs when the cartilage under the kneecap wears down usually from a pounding on the knee; this conditions is common in runners and other athletes. Pain can range from mild aches to severe pain that can keep people from exercising. Crackling sounds can often be heard with this condition. As in the patellofemoral syndrome quadriceps strengthening/bulking is very important. Supplementation of certain nutrients can help improve joint and cartilage health if the problem isn’t too far advanced. There are potential side effects and limited efficacy with various supplements. It is recommended you consult with your physician before embarking on any product trials. A clear diagnosis is also important to avoid unnecessary product use.
- Knee Ligament Injuries – The ligaments keep the knee stable, but are often sprained or torn during activities like sports. An ACL, PCL, or MCL injury could require surgery, especially if remaining very active is important to your lifestyle. Orthopedic surgeons are the specialists for this.
- Arthritis of the Knee – Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative condition and it can cause knee pain and disability. People can experience stiffness and swelling; the knee may be hard to bend.
With minor knee pain, supplements, pain relievers (acetaminophen, NSAIDs), rest followed by strength training exercises will do the trick. Sometimes, minor to moderate pain issues will require physical therapy. Mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee can respond well to visco-therapy injections. Dr. Kordonowy does perform common joint injections for the proper indications. For severe end stage osteoarthritis, orthopedic surgery is usually called for.
If you’re uncertain of what kind of knee pain you have or what cause it, it’s best to talk to a doctor to diagnose the problem before it gets any worse. If you’re looking for a doctor in the Fort Myers area, Dr. Kordonowy of Internal Medicine, Lipid & Wellness offers affordable medical services and will be able to help diagnose and treat your knee pain. To set up an appointment with Dr. Kordonowy, click here or call 239-362-3005, ext. 200.