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Four Common Causes of Chronic Knee Pain

Four Common Causes of Chronic Knee Pain

Along with the ankles and hips, your knees are weight-bearing joints. The knees support movement when you walk, run, jump, and bend your legs. They’re a strong and complex joint susceptible to damage and pain. 

Knee pain can make it difficult to walk and can sideline you if you lead an active lifestyle. When you’re dealing with knee pain that doesn’t go away on its own, an accurate diagnosis is key to getting a treatment plan that will reduce your pain and restore function. 

An orthopedic specialist like Dr. Brian K. Rich here at aCELLerated Interventional Orthopedics is in the best position to help you with your chronic knee pain. Dr. Rich performs a comprehensive evaluation to determine the cause of your knee pain and recommends the most appropriate solution to get you feeling and functioning better. 

Knee pain can have many causes. In this month’s blog post, Dr. Rich discusses some of the most common reasons your knee may be hurting. 

1. Ligament damage

Knee ligaments play a key role in keeping your knee stable. They connect the thigh bone to your lower legs and keep the knee in place. Sprains and tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and medial collateral ligament (MCL) are extremely common sports injuries. However, people who do not play sports can injure any of these vital ligaments. 

Partial and complete tears of knee ligaments are very painful. You’re more likely to injure your knee ligament if you play sports that require jumping, quickly changing directions, or abrupt starting and stopping. 

Common signs of ACL injuries include:

Many people describe a popping sensation that occurs when the ACL tears. 

2. Cartilage tears

Cartilage is a strong tissue that covers the ends of your bones. Knee cartilage contains the two menisci on either side of the joint: the medial meniscus on the inside of the knee and the lateral meniscus on the outside.

A meniscus tear is a common injury that typically requires surgery to repair. Unlike a ligament injury, which can develop in a variety of ways, a meniscus tear is usually caused by a single movement, such as an abrupt twist or turn.

Meniscus tears become more common as people get older because the cartilage weakens and thins, making it more vulnerable to rip. A cartilage tear in the knee can cause stiffness, knee pain, and a popping sound when you move. 

3. Tendonitis

Patellar tendonitis, commonly known as jumper’s knee, refers to inflammation of the patella. It’s important to address knee tendonitis because it weakens the tendon and can lead to a tendon tear if left untreated. 

Knee tendonitis is a common sports injury related to overuse, but you don’t have to play sports for it to develop. Any repeated stress on the knee can cause patellar tendonitis. 

4. Knee arthritis

Both inflammatory and “wear-and-tear” knee arthritis are common reasons for knee pain. While arthritis can attack any joint, it most often affects the knee. Arthritis is chronic, tends to worsen over time, and requires ongoing care to manage. 

Depending on the type of arthritis you have, you may experience

Knee arthritis can make it hard to perform everyday activities, but the right treatment can help manage your pain so you can stay active.

Managing knee pain

A knee specialist is your best resource for diagnosing and managing knee pain. Identifying the cause of your pain is the first step in the journey to finding the right treatment plan. If you still have knee pain despite at-home measures like rest, ice, and heat, it’s time to see a knee specialist. 

Effective treatment depends on the cause of your knee pain. Most often, a combination of therapies and lifestyle changes is needed to bring adequate relief. 

Nonsurgical approaches to managing knee pain may involve

In some cases, nonsurgical treatment doesn’t provide enough pain relief and surgery may be necessary. Surgery is also needed for injuries that cause significant damage, such as full ACL or MCL tears. 

Getting relief from knee pain

When knee pain strikes, you need an expert that can help. You don’t have to live with the pain, discomfort, and activity limitation that knee pain brings. We can zero in on what’s causing your knee pain and create an individualized treatment plan. 

To learn more about options for treating knee pain, call or click to schedule an appointment with us at aCELLerated Interventional Orthopedics. We have clinics in Southlake, Texas, and Lawton, Oklahoma. 

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