Knee pain is one of the most common symptoms that patients seek from orthopedists and other specialists. Many people, considering it age-related and almost natural, completely reject the appearance of unpleasant feelings. However, there are many preconditions for pain in the knee joint, because it has a complex structure, affected by a number of external and internal damaging factors. Some diseases are serious and require urgent treatment.
Who is more likely to have a knee injury?
The knees are made up of several bones connected by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. There are also 5 synovial sacs - cavities surrounded by membranes designed to protect the joints. Between the joints of the bones is the intervertebral cartilage - the meniscus, which helps the knee to move freely. Impairment of even a part of the knee joint causes the appearance of unpleasant symptoms.
Pain in the knee joint is especially common in people with flat feet. This is a pathology of the foot that impairs the ability of the limbs to absorb shock. With age, increasing loads on the joints lead to their destruction and the development of inflammation - pain syndrome is visible. Similar results have different deformities of the foot, lower leg.
There are a number of factors that make knee pain more common:
- passive lifestyle;
- High sports loads;
- Vascular diseases;
- Old age;
- Knee surgeries and injuries;
- Work with increasing load on the legs.
The causes and treatment of knee pain are as different as the severity of the feelings. If the knee hurts a lot, the cause may be an injury or an advanced stage of osteoarthritis, a severe inflammatory process. Sometimes the symptoms are persistent, even at rest, and are accompanied by swelling, redness and itching of the skin. All these symptoms should alert a person and force him to see a doctor.
Pain due to bruises on the knee
Bruising is the most common of the traumatic causes of joint dysfunction. If the symptoms were just before a small bruise, why does the knee hurt? Even a minor injury is accompanied by bleeding into the soft periarticular tissues, their swelling. As a result, the nerve roots suffer, pain appears.
In more severe cases, the pain in the knee increases with bending and extension of the leg, and the person stops moving due to sharp sensations in the joint. Swelling of the foot may be noted on palpation, it is warm to the touch. How can such an injury be treated? You should contact a traumatologist, take an X-ray, follow all the recommendations and ensure the comfort of the foot.
Often, traumatic hemarthrosis is the cause of pain in the knee joint after a banal bruise. This is edema, a flow of blood into the joint cavity that causes swelling of the synovial membranes. As a result, the joint is filled with blood, and inflammation begins inside. Without proper treatment, the injury can lead to the development of chronic osteoarthritis, even at a young age.
Other types of knee injuries
If the foot in the knee is sore and the trauma causes these sensations, the causes may be various damage to the components of the joint. The main ones are:
- Meniscopathy. This is a flattening or tearing of the meniscus. Injuries are especially common in professional athletes, people engaged in extreme sports, as well as domestic injuries. A person feels a sharp pain in the knee, the nature of the sensations pierces, daggers, the joint loses mobility for a while.
- Ligament damage. Tightening of the ligaments occurs when the foot is bent and stretches to the extremity in an unnatural position after the jump. There is a sharp pain, the foot swells, the position of the joint changes, it becomes loose.
- Tearing of the transverse ligament. Because these ligaments are located inside the joint, the injury often causes bleeding into the knee cavity. Only one puncture will help pump blood and make an accurate diagnosis.
Painful pain in the knee joint is sometimes accompanied by chronic dislocation of the patella. In some patients, dislocation becomes chronic without treatment of acute injury and results in regular relapses. In children, this pathology causes an X-shaped curvature of the foot and a serious impairment of its function. Sometimes the pathology affects the knees on both feet.
Inflammatory diseases of the knees
Often, standard treatment for knee pain is ineffective. In this case, not the joint itself, but the surrounding soft tissues may be affected. Thus, tendonitis or tendon inflammation, increased stress on the joint, past leg injuries, allergies, drug reactions, and so on. Pain in the knee joint with such a disease, as a rule, the pain decreases during the day or evening. In the acute stage, the mobility of the joint is severely limited, the syndrome is persistent, it is not suitable for treatment with ointments and creams. Palpation of the side of the knee also causes sharp sensations.
If the knees ache regularly, the symptoms worsen after hypothermia, the cause may be synovitis - inflammation of the synovial membranes. An inflammatory exudate appears inside the joint, causing an explosion and pain. The causes of pathology are different:
- autoimmune diseases;
- Metabolic diseases;
- Injuries in the past;
Another "popular" disease that hurts the knees is bursitis. Occurs when the bursa (joint sac) becomes inflamed. In addition to the pain syndrome, there is redness, swelling, increased sensitivity of the patella area. If you do not clarify in time how to treat bursitis, it is almost always chronic.
Neoplasms of the knee joint
Malignant tumors of this localization are rare, pain syndrome is characteristic of them only at a very late stage. More often, aching pain in the knee joint is characteristic of benign formations:
- Baker's cyst. This tumor occurs under the knee, on the back surface. Apparently, the skin on the cyst is normal, not inflamed, and there may be no swelling in the curved form. In the steady state, a well-defined, soft, elastic formation appears at the site of cyst localization. Appears after a unilateral knee injury, cartilage is damaged. Often the cyst is accompanied by chronic synovitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis. Large cysts cause not only pain in the knee, but also severe limitation of mobility of the extremities. Other symptoms due to constriction of blood vessels and nerves are cold skin, pallor, bloating and numbness.
- Meniscus cyst. In the outer or inner meniscus, a cavity with fluid inside the cartilage is visible when localized. In this case, the knees ache after high loads or towards the end of the day. Large cysts can be seen on the side of the joint, while small ones can only be seen on ultrasound or radiography.
A rare pathology is Hoff's disease - the transformation of adipose tissue in the joint, which becomes fibrous and causes joint dysfunction. Against the background of this pathology often develops osteoarthritis, which causes pain in the knee joint. Causes - hormonal disorders, menopause in women.
Joint infectious pathologies
Against the background of infection, the knee joint hurts sharply, sharply, and providing rest does not create relief. Even genitourinary and intestinal infections can cause complications in the musculoskeletal system, resulting in reactive arthritis. Bacteria (salmonella, chlamydia, gonococci, etc. ) penetrate the bloodstream into the articular cavity of the bones, settling in the tissues and causing inflammation. The tendons are also usually inflamed, so the knee swells and becomes hot to the touch.
Tuberculosis is a serious disease. Mycobacterium tuberculosis multiplies in bone tissue, causing bone resorption and necrosis of cartilage and soft tissues. Without emergency treatment, the knee joints ache and collapse, and the process covers more and more large areas. As a result, fistulas appear - purulent cavities drain and can damage the whole body.
An acute, urgent disease is bone osteomyelitis. What to do if your knees hurt and the process is accompanied by weakness, muscle aches, fever up to 40 degrees? If the pain in the knee is dull, exploding and the tissues themselves are swollen, red, blue, you should immediately call an ambulance and go to emergency surgery. Otherwise, you may lose your leg or die.
Knee pain - the cause of degenerative nature
Many people over the age of 50 have knee pain. Prerequisites are aging of the body, wear and tear of the joint apparatus and the development of the most common pathology - osteoarthritis (gonarthrosis). By changing the shape of the bone heads, it leads to thinning and destruction of cartilage. Often, in the early stages of the pathology, the knee hurts on one side, and after a few years the lesion becomes bilateral. In the morning, the stiffness of the foot is disturbing, but it passes quickly. Strengthening the senses is possible after physical activity, intense exercise, long walks.
In the advanced stages, the articular tissues collapse, and osteophytes grow to the sides of the joint cavity. These are spikes made of bone tissue that break in severe cases and cause unbearable pain. There are a number of degenerative pathologies, the symptoms of which are similar to gonarthrosis:
- Osteochondropathy. Affects the articular surface of the bone, trauma is associated with exercise. Adolescents can develop for no reason.
- Arthritis. It occurs with rheumatoid, psoriatic, gout, provokes chronic inflammation and joint destruction.
- Chondromatosis. The etiology is unclear. The disease causes the appearance of nodules in the synovial membranes that restrict the movement of the knee and cause pain.
Menopausal women often have knee pain due to osteoporosis - thinning of the bones, which increases their fragility. The disease is accompanied by cramps in the legs, pain in the spine, periodic fractures.
Other prerequisites for knee pain
When the knees ache, the etiology of the sensations may also be in the defeat of the peripheral nervous system. Thus, against the background of spinal cord injury, sciatic nerve neuropathy causes a number of symptoms. The person's knees are broken, the thighs ache, the joints of the joints weaken, and the sensitivity of the skin is impaired. Leg reflexes also change.
Sometimes the whole knee joint hurts due to vascular damage. Only during adolescence you should not worry too much - due to the rapid growth of the body, the vessels do not have time to supply blood to the bones. The condition normalizes with age - usually by the age of 18-20 the pain stops completely.
In old age, in the presence of atherosclerosis, the knees also often ache, what to do in this situation? Without normalizing fat metabolism, plaque will continue to build up inside the arteries. The vessels become clogged, stopping the joint from feeding completely. Osteoarthritis develops, the pain becomes chronic. Unpleasant sensations in the knee area can also be varicose veins, thrombophlebitis and vascular thrombosis.
How to make a diagnosis?
People's knees often hurt - how to treat the condition can be determined only after examination. Both sharp and cramping pains in the knee are characteristic of many pathologies, some of which are very dangerous. You should contact a surgeon, orthopedist, neurologist, rheumatologist, traumatologist for diagnosis. He will conduct a survey, study the exact symptoms of the disease, identify the accompanying symptoms. At the initial appointment, the doctor will also perform a series of tests and physical examinations to determine the nature of the problem.
What to do when your knees hurt, what instrumental methods will help determine the causes? Usually assigned:
The choice of the exact technique should be left to the doctor. Thus, ultrasound is a good reflection of changes in the leg with osteoarthritis, meniscus damage. Radiography perfectly shows bone deformities, the presence of osteophytes. MRI and CT provide complete information and are indispensable for complex diseases. In addition, the doctor will order blood tests to rule out inflammation and rheumatism, and a joint biopsy if necessary. Densitometry is required with osteoporosis - this will show the density of bone tissue in a patient.
Treatment of knee pain
If the pathology is traumatic in nature, traumatologists are involved in the treatment, sometimes in a hospital. Mild bruises disappear on their own within a few days, it is recommended to apply ointments to the knee for rapid resorption of the hematoma. With pain, it is necessary to rub ointments with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory components.
How to treat pain with an inflammatory lesion of the knee? In the acute stage of bursitis, synovitis, arthritis, the injured foot needs rest, it can be applied ice compresses for 15 minutes for the first 3 days. Severe pain is relieved by injections of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, injections of anesthetics directly into the joints. After the pain subsides, physiotherapy and exercise therapy are prescribed to prevent chronic inflammation in the joint.
What should a person do if he has knee pain due to gonarthrosis? The main drugs for treatment are chondroprotectors and hyaluronic acid injections. These drugs are designed to restore the nutrition of articular cartilage, resulting in its cessation. It should also be prescribed for knee rehabilitation:
- vascular medications;
- Vitamin complexes.
Infectious diseases of the joints are an indication for the introduction of antibiotics into the joint cavities or oral administration of drugs. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove the tissue affected by the pus. Surgical intervention is also used to treat advanced forms of osteoarthritis with the growth of osteophytes. Sometimes just replacing a joint with a prosthesis allows a person to maintain their ability to walk normally.