Why Does My Knee Hurt??

Knee pain is a common complaint and can affect anyone, from young growing children, to the elite runner or jumping athelete, or the more sedentary and ageing population.


Knee pain may be result of:

1) Acute, traumatic injury, or

2) Long term loading habits, overuse and irritation

Looking aside from the acute injuries that affect the knee, many of the overuse injuries frequently occur due to poor core strength and hip muscle strength and poor knee control.


Persistent loading of the uncontrolled knee make it vulnerable to injury and irritation or degeneration of the surrounding tissues. Some common overuse injuries are:


  • Tendonitis

  • Patello-femoral joint syndrome

  • ITB syndrome

  • Arthritis

  • Meniscus damage

What Are These Conditions? How Do I Know Which One I Have?


Read on to see what you'll feel with each of these injuries

TENDONITIS: Patella Tendonitis also known as Jumper’s Knee

This is an overuse injury affecting the patella tendon running from base of knee cap to the bony protrusion just below. The tendon connects the quadriceps to your shin bone. The tendon is stressed when there is load on the quadriceps muscle eg. landing, running, kicking and stair climbing. Excessive and continual loading on the tendon may lead to micro-trauma and without sufficient time to repair this may lead to the development of tendonitis.


**SIGN AND SYMPTOMS**

  • Pain is localised over the patella tendon

  • Aggravated with jumping, landing or running activity and also prolonged sitting

  • Pain comes on gradually and may be related to changes in activity

  • Morning stiffness

  • Tendon may appear thicker or bigger than other side

  • Initially you may have pain with warm up which then eases and returns after exercise, and gradually progresses to more persistent pain

  • Tight quadriceps

PATELLO-FEMORAL JOINT SYNDROME

Refers to irritation between the under surface of the knee cap as it moves along the femur (thigh bone). Irritation may be due to poor knee alignment, excessive joint pressure, muscle imbalance, reduced knee control and poor foot posture.


**SIGN AND SYMPTOMS**

  • Gradual onset of pain

  • Pain with bending the knee and prolonged sitting

  • Aggravated by squatting, kneeling, jumping, running and stairs

  • Crepitus - audible grating sound when bending knee - especially downstairs

  • Pain may be vague around the front of knee and behind knee cap

ITB FRICTION SYNDROME “Runner’s Knee”

ITB friction syndrome is classified as an overuse injury. The ITB inserts on the outside aspect of the leg, just below the knee. It is in this area that friction may occur as the tight band rubs along the femur with repeated knee flexion and extension (as seen in running). This leads to microtrauma and with, inadequate healing time, can lead to pain along the outside of the knee. Runner’s knee is often the result of poor running biomechanics and muscle imbalance, which often includes:


  • Weakness through the hips

  • Weakness through the core

  • Poor foot posture.

  • It may also be caused by increased training load and hill running (downhill most frequently)

**SIGN AND SYMPTOMS**

  • Burning/ sharp pain outer surface of knee

  • Aggravated by running or repetitive activities

  • Pain bending your knee

  • Possible swelling

  • Gradual worsening of symptoms

MENISCAL INJURY

The menisci are the cartilage shock absorbers of the knee and may be torn or injured suddenly with a twisting injury. A meniscus injury can also develop due to degeneration with age. Pain typically presents deep in knee and you may sore to touch along the joint line of the knee. You may experience clicking, clunking or even locking of the knee and pain with squatting.


ARTHRITIS

Arthritis involves wearing of the cartilage within the knee. It is commonly associated with age but can occur in younger population generally due to previous injury. “Wear and tear” is normal but the cartilages ability to heal decreases as we age and may occur for a multitude of reasons such as genetics, infection, weight gain, overuse and injury. Once again lower limb biomechanics and knee control play a pivotal role in the loading of the knee and may be a significant driver of arthritis. Gentle exercise is very beneficial in optimising joint health and managing the signs and symptoms of arthritis.


**SIGN AND SYMPTOMS**

  • Stiffness

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • May be warm and/or red in periods of increased inflammation

  • Decreased range of motion

  • Bone spurs may be evident on scans

  • Pain typically develops slowly and worsens over time

There are many causes of knee pain, all which can be effectively managed with appropriate advice, treatment and an exercise plan. Booking an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists can help determine the exact cause of your knee pain. We will teach you how to address muscle imbalances, improve biomechanics and provide direction by creating a specific rehabilitation plan to see you regain pain free function of your knee.


If you are struggling with knee pain and just need some answers, why not book in to see one of our physiotherapist to get you on the road to recovery. Our Online Booking system is really easy to use.


Aspire Physiotherapy

18 Partridge Street Glenelg

8376 8816

Other blogs to link that may be of interest:

- How Do I Stretch Tight Hip Flexors?

- Which Running Shoes Should I Buy?

- Tight Calves: What To Do About Them

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Aspire Physiotherapy SA

18 Partridge St Glenelg, Adelaide, SA 5045

8376 8816

Fax: +61 8 8219 0061

admin@aspirephysiotherapysa.com.au

Open 6 days - M-F 8:30am-6pm, Sat 8.30am-1pm

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