There are days when people wake up in the morning and feel that sharp pain in their knees and this, unfortunately, will dictate what kind of day he will have. Many, especially the elders, have undergone the experience of chronic knee pain which can happen on one or worse, on both of the knees. The pain usually lingers, accompanied by some sensitivity and swelling. There are many factors that can contribute to chronic knee pain and each person’s experience can be different from others. Fortunately these days, we have many treatments that can alleviate the condition of those who suffer from knee pain.
Chronic knee pain should not be confused with temporary knee pain. The latter usually involves pain caused by an accident or injury. And as it describes itself, the pain is temporary and will eventually go away even without treatment. Chronic knee pain, on the other hand, won’t go away that easy and it’s not caused by accidents or injuries. Treatment is required to alleviate the pain and the cause is usually the result of different conditions. Physical diseases or conditions may cause chronic knee pain. Also, here are some of the most common factors that can make chronic knee pain worse:
- Bad posture and form when engaging in physical activities.
- Improper stretching of the muscles.
- Not warming up or cooling down before and after any physical activities.
- Strains and sprains
Most Common Causes of Chronic Knee Pain
The knee is one part of the body that’s always prone to injuries. Its structure is complex as it’s where the kneecap, the thighbone, and the shinbone all connect. Aside from these bones mentioned, the knee also includes:
Cartilages. This is a resilient and smooth elastic tissue, a rubber-like padding that covers and protects the end parts of long bones at the joints. This tissue allows the bones to smoothly rub over each other as the person straightens and bends his legs.
Ligaments. This refers to a short band of tough, flexible fibrous connective tissue which connects two bones or cartilages or holds together a joint, giving the stability to the knee.
Menisci. Generally, the term ‘meniscus’ is used to refer to the cartilage of the knee and serves as a cushion between the tibia and femur that also act as shock absorbers. Each person has two of these menisci. First, there’s one located at the exterior aspect known as the lateral meniscus. The other one is located on the interior aspect and it’s known as the medial meniscus.
Tendons. These are connective tissues which attach the leg muscles to the bones which they control. As long as the muscles and tendons work hand-in-hand, the knee is expected to work as it’s supposed to. Tendons protect the bones from any impact to prevent injury. Also, they allow people to freely move.
When any of these components aren’t working as they should, the person may start to notice inflammation, pain, and a lot of other symptoms associated with chronic knee pain. Here are the most common causes of chronic knee pain:
Trauma. These are often associated with physical activities, accidents, and falls. Usually, traumatic injuries occur when the knee is exposed to extreme strain. Injuries from falling from heights, getting a direct hit on the person’s knee, making abrupt directional changes are a few samples of situations which can cause trauma. As a result of these, a person can incur dislocated kneecaps, torn ligaments, and bone fractures.
Metabolic Disorders. This type of disorder is associated with how the body converts food into energy. All organisms need the energy to function and they get the energy from food. There could be a link between metabolism and chronic knee pain. For instance, let us talk about gout. This is a metabolic disorder that can cause a lot of knee pain since gout causes a build-up of uric acid crystals in a person’s joints. As a result, painful inflammation would set in which affects the knee movements.
Degenerative Tissue Disorders. One very common chronic condition which involves the joints is osteoarthritis, a type of degenerative disease that occurs because of the “wear and tear” of a person’s joints over long periods of time. Stiffness and pain of the joints, especially after long resting periods, are the disease’s most common symptoms. Aside from that, the person may also experience swollen knees after some extended activities. Osteoporosis is also a common disorder which can bring damage to cartilages and connecting tissue of the knee since the supporting bone has been lost.
Connective Tissue Disorders. The most common connective tissue disorder is rheumatoid arthritis and this can cause chronic knee pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues. For knee pains, arthritis would be attacking the tissues of the knees.
Bacterial Infection. Infections caused by bacteria like cellulitis may also cause chronic knee pain. This is a bacterial infection involving the inner layers of the skin. It specifically affects the dermis and subcutaneous fat. Bacteria usually are present on the outer part of the person’s skin. In some instances, they find their way underneath the protective surface of the skin and infect the underlying tissues.
Cellulitis can invade the knee and may cause an infection of the joint, especially when there is no immediate treatment. The infection can cause swelling, pain, stiffness, and redness. Eventually, this can result in chronic knee pain.