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Common Causes of Knee Pain and When to See a Doctor

Common Causes of Knee Pain

Are you suffering from knee pain and wondering if you are among a handful of people who experience it? Well, you are not alone. Knee pain is a global issue with a very high prevalence amongst a vast population. Statistics show that in the USA itself, more than 100 million people suffer from some chronic pain, and knee pain is the second most common cause. Whatever the cause of knee pain, we all sadly experience it, especially as the prevalence increases significantly after age 45.
Women are more susceptible to knee pain. Studies show knee pain is more prevalent in women than in men. Men are also not spared by the mayhem of knee pain. Let us delve into the various causes of back pain affecting men and women.

Categories Of The Causes Of Knee Pain

Before we discuss which causes you must visit the doctor, we must distinguish the causes of knee pain to understand internal and external factors.

External Factors Causing Knee Pain

Before you consult your doctor to get relief from paining knees, it is essential to look at these factors:

  • Overweight: Is your excessive weight putting too much burden on your knees? Knees are prone to regular wear and tear, but this wear and tear may accelerate if they are constantly bearing too much weight. The result may be knee pain and discomfort. 
  • Improper Footwear: Check your footwear. Does it lack support or cushioning? If yes, regular use of such footwear may lead to knee pain.
  • Overuse/Excessive Use: We all must play sports and be inclined to include physical activities for a healthier body and mind, but repetitive activities can strain the knee joint and lead to overuse injuries.
  • Improper Form: If you exercise in the gym at home or perform daily activities with poor form/technique, you may experience knee pain. 

Once the external causes of knee pain have been assessed, it is time to focus on the internal factors to gain a better insight into what is causing the knee pain.

Trauma and Injuries:

  • Ligament Sprains: Did you hear a popping sound when your knee twisted suddenly? That may be a ligament tear that attaches the thighbone to the shinbone. It is the usual cause of a sprain in the knee when the knee twists or bends suddenly while the feet are entirely on the ground. 
  • Meniscus Tears: These occur when forcefully twisting or rotating one’s knee. You must be more careful if you are an athlete, as you are at a higher risk of getting them. 
  • Tendonitis: Are you experiencing pain, swelling, and difficulty moving your knee joint? Then, it may be an inflamed tendon. 
  • Patellar Dislocation: The knee cap at its ideal position is vertical, but a fall, collision, or any other force may dislocate it to any side. The result is a painful knee that does not let you walk comfortably. 
  • Broken bones: Any break in the bone, partially or entirely, caused by an accident or injury can cause knee pain to become very intense, requiring medical intervention as well. 

Degenerative Conditions

Knee Osteoarthritis: the loss of cartilage with time and regular wear and tear happens, and elderly people, usually after the age of 50, are at their receiving end. The loss of cartilage leads to friction, making your knees hurt, swell, and stiff. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease, a chronic condition in which the immune system damages healthy tissues, such as cartilage and ligaments. It makes it hard and challenging to perform simple daily activities, bringing the simple joys of life to a major halt. 

Gout: Have you ever experienced abrupt, intense flare-ups of redness, swelling, pain, and tenderness in one or more joints, usually the big toe? Well, the reason for it may be gout. It is a form of Arthritis that can be managed with more mindful self-care and medical supervision. 

Psoriatic Arthritis: The worst cause of knee pain is degenerative conditions. They are all autoimmune, where the body’s immune system attacks its healthy tissues, leading to swelling, stiffness, pain, redness, and too much discomfort. Psoriatic Arthritis is a condition that affects people already with psoriasis, a skin disease. 

Besides these causes, some other causes of knee pain may be: 

Gender-Specific Considerations

  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injuries
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)
  • Meniscal Tears

Some more medical causes:

  • Patellar Instability
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
  • Baker’s Cyst
  • Osgood-Schlatter Disease
  • Septic Arthritis
  • Leg Length Discrepancy

The list of causes is extensive but needs to be expanded. A professional orthopedist can diagnose the precise cause of knee pain. You may decide to see your doctor to understand the right cause of knee pain if these conditions persist: 

  • Severe pain and inability to walk: Urgent care – likely ligament tear or fracture.
  • Swelling, redness, hot around the knee
  • Knee pain that lingers for weeks
  • Pain that gets worse, especially at night
  • Knee locking or clicking
  • Past injuries or health conditions that seem to be deteriorating over time
  • Pain that starts to limit daily activities

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