knee pain

Knee pain is a common health issue that affects men and women from all walks of life. The most common signs and symptoms that often come with knee pain include stiffness and swelling, instability or weakness, redness and warmth to the touch, and popping noises. 

Common Causes Of Knee Pain

Knee pain can be especially frustrating for athletes who cannot perform at their highest level due to conditions and injuries involving the knee. While some knee pain is mild, other knee pain is severe and debilitating. So, what exactly causes knee pain? South Shore Orthopedics has put together a guide to the most common causes of knee pain.

1. ACL Injuries

Your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is a ligament that connects your shinbone to your thighbone. If you tear your ACL, you are likely to experience knee pain. ACL injuries are widely seen in athletes who play soccer, basketball, or other sports that require abrupt direction changes. According to the National Institute of Health, there are approximately 400,000 ACL reconstructions every year in the United States.

2. Fractures

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), a fracture is a broken bone, the same as a crack or a break. A bone may be completely fractured or partially fractured in any number of ways. Sports-related incidents, falls, or accidents are common triggers for this type of knee injury. If you have weakened knees due to a condition like osteoporosis, you may fracture it just by stepping in the wrong way. 

3. Osteoarthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis 

The most common type of arthritis that affects the knee is osteoarthritis. It causes the joint cartilage to slowly wear away over time and is usually diagnosed in middle-aged and older individuals. Repeated injury or being overweight often leads to this condition. 

Rheumatoid arthritis is similar to osteoarthritis but is more common in younger individuals. It may cause the knee to swell up and destroy the cartilage, causing knee pain.  

4. Patellar Tendinitis

Patellar tendinitis is when there is pain below your kneecap and at the top of your shin that worsens when you participate in activities like running or going up or down stairs. If you have patellar tendinitis, you are putting too much strain on the patellar tendon.

5. Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome refers to pain on the outside of the knee. It affects the iliotibial band (ITB), which runs from your hip to your knee, crossing the knee joint. There is a fluid-filled sac called the bursa between the ITB that gets squeezed and causes pain when your ITB is tight.

6. Patellofemoral Syndrome

Patellofemoral syndrome, also known as runner’s knee, is a condition characterized by pain in the front of the knee, around the patella (kneecap). It is a common knee problem, especially among athletes, runners, and individuals who engage in activities that involve repetitive knee movements. Patellofemoral syndrome occurs when the patella doesn’t move smoothly or becomes irritated due to factors such as overuse, muscle imbalances, injury, or malalignment of the patella.

Fortunately, most knee pain can be resolved through conservative measures such as medications, rest, physical therapy, ice, and compression. In the event conservative measures are ineffective, surgery may be necessary. Surgery is typically performed to fix structural damage to the knee.

Contact South Shore Orthopedics

South Shore Orthopedics is a multi-subspeciality orthopedic practice that serves patients on the South Shore and in the Boston area using the latest proven techniques in surgery and rehabilitation. We want you to be informed and involved in the decision-making process regarding your care, from pre-operative preparation to rehabilitation protocols. If you are suffering from knee pain, call South Shore Orthopedics at (781) 337-5555 to schedule an appointment.