Why do my knees hurt?
Knee pain is a common symptom that affects people of all ages. As we age, consequently, chronic knee pain becomes more of a daily battle and it grows into a chronic condition. Not all knee pain is the same. Knee pain hurts, but in what way? Do your knees hurt when walking, bending or going up stairs? Are your knees swelling, stiff, red, numb or popping and locking with pain? There are several knee problems and painful conditions. It is important to identify the cause of your knee pain before seeking treatment.
What causes chronic knee pain?
Depending on your age, weight and level of activity, chronic knee pain can be traced back to certain causes. For example, athletes and former athletes are more prone to knee pain than a non-athlete. Injuries on the field can come back and hurt your knees later. Even if you do not experience a sports-related injury, the overuse of this joint can lead to chronic knee pain problems.
Examples of chronic knee pain conditions include:
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tears– Pain toward the center of the knee that is common in athletes, especially for soccer, football and basketball players.
- Collateral Ligament Tears– Pain on either side of the knee from twisting or tearing. This pain is similar to ACL tears.
- Knee Arthritis– Major pain anytime the knee joint is used. One of the most common knee problems in the United States.
- Knee Fractures– Any broken bone of the knee or connected to the knee is called a fracture.
- Loose Bodies– Broken piece of cartilage within the knee that causes sharp pains.
- Multi-ligament Knee Injuries (Knee Dislocation)– Two or more parts of the knee are in pain from serious tearing.
- Osteochondral Defect (OCD)– Pain, swelling or locking knees when the femur bone comes loose from the knee joint.
- Patella (Kneecap) Dislocations– Outer portion of the kneecap is twisted, torn or even chipped in more extreme cases.
- Synovitis– Pain, stiffness or swelling from the inflammation of tissue surrounding the knee joint.
- Tendon Ruptures (Patella and Quadriceps)– Tendons are torn to a point where the knee cannot extend beyond a certain point.
- Juvenile Arthritis– general conditions that involve inflammation and joint pain, it affects patients who are usually 16-years-old or younger.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis– general swelling around the joints, but this condition comes in various forms.
How do I know if I have chronic knee pain?
There are some factors that give patients a higher chance of chronic knee pain. Some factors can be lowered with lifestyle changes while others are irreversible. You may have a higher chance of knee problems depending on your:
- Level of Activity
- Previous Injuries
What are chronic knee pain symptoms?
Symptoms of chronic knee pain can vary depending on the specific condition that you suffer from. The overall symptom associated with any chronic knee condition is aching pain. If any movement of the knee hurts for you, consider further treatment. Also look for other knee pain symptoms such as:
- Aching all day
- Sharp or burning pain
- Swelling and redness
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Popping and locking knees after sitting or standing
- Unable to bend knees or walk even short distances
How do I prevent chronic knee pain?
You are not powerless against chronic knee pain. There are ways to prevent these conditions and types of pain. Prevention is easy if you take caution and follow this advice before your knees start to ache with pain. To prevent chronic knee pain, remember:
- Maintain a healthy weight that your knees can comfortably carry.
- Always stretch before playing sports or regular exercise activities.
- Mix light exercises into your routine so less pressure is put on your knees.
- Wear appropriate gear and sports equipment when playing contact sports.
- Stand up straight and keep good posture even when sitting down.
What can I do at home for chronic knee pain?
If you are currently suffering from chronic knee pain and are looking for at-home treatment, try some of this knee pain advice. These treatments are quick and easy things you can do at home when your knee problems may be swelling, burning or aching. At-home treatments include:
- Icing your knee while resting at home.
- Elevating your knee when swelled with pain.
- Taking a warm shower or using a heating pad.
- Losing weight to reduce the amount of stress on your knees.
- Allowing your body and knees to rest in between activity.
- Wearing supportive shoes that give your feet and knees cushioning.
- Sleeping flat on your back or with a pillow in-between your knees.
Remember, at-home treatment can only do so much. If you believe your chronic knee pain is more serious, consult an orthopedic specialist who is trained in caring for chronic knee pain conditions.