Knee pain can be experienced by young and old and shouldn’t be ignored! Without proper treatment, mild knee pain could become a life-long issue that not only affects the knee, but could cause hip, ankle, back, or other joint issues in the long run. If you are experiencing knee pain, here are just a few things you need to know!
The thigh bone’s connected to the shin bone … by the knee joint.
… and the knee, a hinge joint, is supported by four ligaments ~ the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), lateral collateral ligament (LCL), medial meniscus ligament (MCL), and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL); couple those four ligaments with two rings of cartilage and you basically have the knee!
When one part of the knee gives way, pain slips in. Here are five common types of knee pain a person can experience:
Anterior or knee cap pain – happens when the patella (aka knee cap) decides to relocate from where it is supposed to reside. Many times this pain is related to repetitive overuse exercises such as squats, box jumps, and climbing stairs.
Lateral or outer knee pain– shows itself when the iliotibial band (ITB) (a stabilizer that crosses both the hip and knee joint) becomes inflamed after repeatedly crossing over the bony structure of the knee. It is common in runners and can usually be felt when the foot strikes the ground.
Medial or inner knee pain – presents when the MCL gets testy or is directly injured. The MCL pain is also another overuse injury and can be felt when descending stairs, walking hills, or squatting down.
Torn ligament pain – creates immediate pain and a wobbly sensation when attempting to stand on it. This one is usually created by having the foot planted and the knee is over rotated in either direction or the knee has taken a direct hit causing one of the four ligaments to tear.
Osteoarthritis – takes place when the cartilage breaks down and the knee now becomes bone on bone. Walking, bending, knee contraction and knee flexion all cause pain.
Prevention & Treatment: Proper weight, nutrition, and warm-ups can help alleviate injury along with Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (R.I.C.E.) when things are sore, but once knee pain kicks in, it may be time to see a physical therapist to help prevent further damage.
A physical therapist can help diagnose and develop a plan to get the knee back on the track. As established, knee pain can be caused by a variety of issues and trying to treat serious pain without a proper diagnosis could worsen the issue and/or cause permanent damage. If you feel that you might need a knee evaluation please contact Move Better Physical Therapy where you will always be seen by a highly trained doctoral level therapist (DPT) at every visit.