People of all ages can suffer from knee pain. From serious injuries to general everyday wear and tear, many things can cause knee pain and discomfort. It is essential to recognize and monitor your symptoms so you can determine the severity of the pain and see a doctor if needed.
The knee is composed of three different parts:
- The tibia (the shin bone or more prominent bone in the lower leg)
- The femur (the thigh bone or upper leg bone)
- The patella (the kneecap)
The knee is a vulnerable joint due to how much stress it bears from everyday activities. What are the most common causes of knee pain? Here are the top seven, in no particular order.
1 – Aging
Unfortunately, there is no real method to stop aging. It happens to everyone, so the best way to prepare for it is to be educated on what will happen to your body. Chronic knee pain as you get older is often the result of osteoarthritis.
The menisci, the tough tissue between the bones of the knee, gets thinner and more brittle as the human body ages. The articular cartilage, which protects the kneecap, can also deteriorate. The cartilage can even, eventually, disappear completely. With no cartilage as a buffer, this results in excruciating bone-on-bone pain that can only be fixed with a knee-replacement surgery. Fortunately, regenerative therapies can help your knees before the situation devolves to the point where surgery is required.
There are several ways to care for your knees as you age to prevent pain and discomfort. Getting adequate exercise is always important, but especially as the body ages. You can protect your aging joints by adapting your exercise routine to fit your body’s needs. Also, never underestimate the impact of proper footwear. While the shoes that are best for your feet and, in turn, your body may not be as cute, they make all the difference in the long run.
2 – Arthritis
In the United States, 24% of adults have arthritis, which is inflammation of one or multiple joints. Arthritis most commonly occurs in the hands, hips, and knees. Knee arthritis can make daily activities difficult, such as walking and climbing stairs.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid are the most common forms of arthritis. As mentioned above, osteoarthritis is a degenerative form of arthritis that occurs as the body ages, and it’s most prevalent in people 50 or older.
On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that attacks many joints throughout the body, including the knee, and can occur at any age. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system attacks its own tissue. Even children can have rheumatoid – referred to as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and it applies to kids aged 16 or younger.
While arthritis has no cure, there are many treatments and remedies to ease the pain it causes. Switching from high-impact exercises (like jogging and tennis) to lower-impact activities (like swimming and cycling) can reduce knee stress. Applying ice and heat can also relieve pain. Plus, regenerative therapies using stem cells for the knees can also reduce pain and encourage healing.
3 – Dislocation
Like other joints, the knee can become dislocated. Kneecap dislocation happens when the patella moves or slides out of place. Dislocation of the kneecap often occurs after a sudden shift in direction when your leg is firmly planted, putting stress on the kneecap. Kneecap dislocation is common when playing certain sports, such as basketball.
Kneecap dislocation can be recurring. The first couple of times, it causes pain and leaves the injured person unable to walk. If dislocations continue to happen, the pain may lessen. However, it is essential to seek treatment even if you do not feel pain because kneecap dislocations damage your knee joint.
Dislocations are easily preventable by practicing proper techniques when exercising and playing sports. Focusing on keeping your knees strong and flexible will prevent painful missteps. Wearing appropriate footwear is also crucial to supporting strong knees.
4 – Torn Meniscus
A torn meniscus – or the cartilage in the knee that acts as a shock absorber – is a widespread type of knee injury. Cartilage is the primary type of connective tissue in your body and is found throughout the joints, bones, spine, lungs, ears, and nose.
If you have a torn meniscus, you might experience popping in your knee, swelling or stiffness, pain, difficulty straightening the knee, feeling that your knee is locked in place, or feeling your knee giving away. Seek medical treatment if you suspect you have a torn meniscus. Regenerative medicine can help – contact our team for more information or a free consultation.
Preventing a torn meniscus is as easy as being consistent with knee-strengthening exercises. Slowly ease your way into new activities rather than going too hard or fast. Wear a knee brace if your knee feels weak or unstable.
5 – Strain or Sprain
Knee strains and sprains are incredibly common. Causes of a strain or sprain include trauma or sports injuries, overuse, muscle weakness, reduced flexibility, and running form. Symptoms of a strain or sprain include pain or tenderness in the knee, stiffness, bruising, swelling, instability when walking, and possibly a popping noise when injured.
It is difficult to diagnose a knee strain or sprain due to the complexity of the joint. Contact a doctor immediately if you suspect your knee may be strained or sprained. In addition to rest, ice, and compression, physical therapy and rehabilitation are beneficial tools to get your injured knee back in shape. Additionally, regenerative therapies can help with the pain and the healing process – reach out to see if you are a candidate.
Preventing a knee strain or sprain can be done by warming up before and cooling down after workouts. Staying hydrated is incredibly important since dehydration is a major contributor to sports injuries.
6 – Patellar Tendinitis
Patellar tendinitis is an injury to the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shinbone. The patellar tendon works the muscles in the front of the thigh, allowing you to extend the knee to kick, run, and jump. The first symptom of patellar tendinitis is pain between the kneecap and the shinbone.
Patellar tendinitis is often the result of overuse caused by repeated stress on the patellar tendon. Catching and treating patellar tendonitis early is essential, as continued use could lead to larger tears. Patellar tendinitis can be prevented by listening to your body and stopping any activity when you feel pain, strengthening your thigh muscles, and improving your technique.
7 – Human Error
Humans are notorious for overestimating their own abilities. This presents itself in a variety of ways that often result in pain or injury. When working out, small things like wearing the incorrect shoe size or style can significantly impact your overall comfort.
Stretching both before and after working out is incredibly important as well. Avoiding stretching before and after a workout can cause your muscles to tighten up. Stretching properly allows your muscles and tendons to loosen, increasing your range and flexibility during a workout.
Another surefire way to cause pain is by going too hard too fast. The key to building endurance is slow and steady. Don’t go too hard in a workout by lifting too much or running too fast to where you injure yourself. Overconfidence won’t get you very far, especially in the gym. The human body is a complex machine. A seemingly unimportant injury can become much worse if not properly treated. So listen to your body and rest when needed.
Tired of Knee Pain? Reach out to NeoGenix today!
If you are experiencing knee pain, NeoGenix is here to help. Knee pain can be debilitating. It can make the most mundane tasks, like walking or climbing stairs, feel impossible. Our team of professionals is here to help you get back on track. Contact us today to fix your knee pain!
Dr. James Altizer has been performing stem cell therapy treatments in North Carolina since January of 2016. Dr. Altizer received expert training from recognized leaders in the regenerative medicine field, including training on bone marrow aspiration with Duke University-affiliated physicians. He has performed thousands of stem cell and growth factor procedures, more than any other medical doctor in the Carolinas.