WHAT IS KNEE PAIN?
Knee pain is the most common skeletomuscular problem that can occur due to various reasons such as the strain put on the ligaments, tendons, bones, or the fluid-filled sacs called bursae surrounding the knees.
There are multiple reasons for Knee pains, the most common ones being:
- overuse and straining of the joints
- deficiencies or underlying diseases.
Generally, the cause of the knee pain is diagnosable and with physiotherapy, rest, medication, surgeries or retaliatory treatment the patient can feel better.
SYMPTOMS OF KNEE PAINS:
Some common knee pain complaints are:
- Swollen knees
- Increased warmth of the knees
- Stiffness of the joints
TYPES OF KNEE PAINS:
The severity and type of knee pains may depend upon the cause of it.
- Acute knee pain may be experienced due to a sudden or a previous injury may cause acute or sharp and sudden knee pain, which is usually temporary
- Chronic knee pains that result from progressive diseases may vary in intensity and frequency, depending upon the patients’ condition. This kind of knee pain can have adverse effects on the patient’s quality of life.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I HAVE ACUTE KNEE PAIN?
If the knee pain is acute, i.e., due to a sudden or a previous injury, it is likely go away within a couple of days. One of the most scientifically effective treatment is called “R.I.C.E”, which stands for:
R – Rest
- Give the injured area i.e.; the knees some rest, for the first 48-72 hours
I – Ice
- Apply ice this will ease the swelling and reduce the numbness of the pain
C – Compression
- Wrap a compressive bandage around the knee to increase blood flow and decrease the load on the knee joint and surrounding soft tissues (muscles/ ligaments/ tendons)
E – Elevation
- Keep your knee elevated, for example: on a big pillow
In case of severe pain, use walking aids till you feel better
Your doctor might also prescribe some Anti-Inflammatory drugs to help with the pain and the swelling.
If these do not help with your pain, you might have Chronic Knee Pain.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I HAVE CHRONIC KNEE PAIN?
Chronic Knee Pain can be due to
- ACL Injuries
- Meniscal tear
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome
- Osgood-Schlatter disease
- Patellar tendinitis
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome
Signs of Chronic Knee Pain
- Increase in Pain over time
Chronic pain usually starts slowly. You may notice morning stiffness, and pain in your knees once you wake up in the morning. Your knees might hurt while climbing stairs while exercising, cycling, jumping, jogging and in another day to day activities.
If your knee pain wakes you up at night and knee pain in the morning, this might be chronic and most probably due to arthritis.
Chronic diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis can cause pain on both sides of the body i.e; for example, knee pain in both the knees. The areas affected tend to be symmetrical. RA is also characterised by redness and warmth of the joints.
With time, these pains tend to increase and conventional ways to reduce pain (R.I.C.E) are not effective anymore.
- Swelling of the Knee
If your knee joint swollen and the inflammation is more noticeable after a long duration of inactivity, for example, after waking up in the morning, this might be an indication of OA. In bursitis when the fluid-filled sacs-bursae, get infected, it might cause localized swelling, warmth, and tenderness accompanied with knee pain. Bursitis in its early stages can be acute but over time develop into a chronic disease. So, if you have been experiencing pain over a long time then you must visit your orthopedic.
Swelling can he hard and stiff, or soft. Hard swelling is common in osteoarthritis and is due to bone extensions in the areas where 2 bones meet. These are called bone spurs or osteophytes. Soft swelling might be due to fluid accumulation around the joints.
- Locking and stiffness of the joints
Locking and stiffness of the joints are caused due to pain and swelling. The swelling due to building up fluids or due musculoskeletal irregularities in degenerative chronic ailments can cause pain and in turn stiffness.
This can be caused due to Arthritis, gout in the knees, tumours or cysts.
Injured ligaments are due to trauma and are not chronic, but severe injury can result in internal bleeding, resulting in pain and stiffness . Similarly, you might experience a Meniscus tear which will cause stiffness. This happens when the cartilage between 2 bones worn away.
- Cracking and Popping sounds
The cracking or popping sound which your knee makes when you walk or straighten your legs is caused due to a decrease in the cartilaginous mass in between the bones . The rough surfaces of the bones or the bone spurs rub against each other and cause this
- Movement becomes hard
Chronic pain will severely affect your mobility. Initially, the patient might be able to endure the pain and carry out their day to day activities, but over time the negligence becomes detrimental. Worn out joints in the knees makes it hard for people to move. Knee pain due to affected ligaments or tendons, might cause unbearable pain and stiffness rendering the patient immobile.
- Loss of Joint space and deformities in the knees
X rays depicting reduced space in between the knees in the case of arthritis and deformation of the knees in the cases of injuries or trauma are an indication of chronic ailments.
#insert XRay images
WHEN SHOULD I GO TO THE DOCTOR?
If the patient is facing any of these issues, it is imperative for them to visit a doctor. Skeletomuscular problems in their early stages might seem endurable, but with time they get more chronic. If this is not looked into, it might be too late for the patient to revert back to their normal lifestyle.
Immediate medical attention can relieve the patient of their pain for time being or even forever in most the case. In case of Chronic Knee Pain such as Arthritis constant rehabilitation care, physiotherapy or knee replacement in the later stages can help the patient.