What Causes Knee Pain?

Knee pain can be caused by a wide range of factors, as the knee joint is a complex structure that undergoes significant stress and movement. Some common causes of knee pain include:

  • Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of bones wears down over time, leading to pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee.
  • Injuries: Acute injuries, such as ligament tears (like ACL or MCL tears), meniscus tears, and fractures, can cause sudden and severe knee pain.
  • Tendinitis: Tendinitis is the inflammation of the tendons around the knee joint, often due to overuse or repetitive movements.
  • Bursitis: Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursae (fluid-filled sacs) that cushion and reduce friction between the bones, tendons, and muscles around the knee joint.
  • Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome: This condition involves pain around the front of the knee, often caused by overuse, muscle imbalances, or abnormal patellar tracking.
  • Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome: IT band syndrome results from inflammation of the iliotibial band, a thick band of tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh and inserts near the knee joint.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that can affect the knee joint, leading to pain, swelling, and joint damage.
  • Gout: Gout is a form of arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joint, which can lead to severe knee pain and inflammation.
  • Ligamentous Laxity: Some individuals have naturally loose or lax ligaments, which can make the knee joint less stable and more susceptible to injuries and pain.
  • Obesity: Excess body weight can put additional stress on the knee joint, leading to pain and an increased risk of developing knee conditions like osteoarthritis.
  • Overuse or Repetitive Movements: Engaging in activities that place repetitive stress on the knees, such as running or jumping, can cause knee pain over time.
  • Infections: Infections in the knee joint or surrounding tissues can lead to pain and swelling.
  • Nerve Compression: Nerves around the knee joint can become compressed or irritated, causing pain and discomfort.

It’s important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis if you experience persistent knee pain. The treatment for knee pain depends on the underlying cause and may include rest, physical therapy, pain medications, knee braces, corticosteroid injections, or, in severe cases, surgery. Early diagnosis and appropriate management can help prevent further complications and improve knee function and overall quality of life.