Your knees are one of the most important joints in your body. We use our knees to walk, run, bend and jump – so if you are experiencing aches and pains in your knee, it can have a big impact on your life. Knee pain can be caused by a variety of conditions:
Your knee is like a hinge. Cartilage covers the ends of the bones, to allow smooth movement when you bend or straighten it.
Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage is gradually worn away with age or after injury, mainly at the points of greatest pressure. The two surfaces rub against each other – sometimes you can hear or feel it. This can lead to pain, stiffness, loss of movement, swelling and deformity. It can lead to your knees giving way because the muscles around the joint can become weak.
Injury and disease can cause severe knee pain and discomfort which interferes with normal movement and mobility. Your doctor may advise you to consider knee replacement surgery if you have tried other treatments which have not been successful in reducing that pain and improving the quality of life.
Total knee replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is when a damaged, worn or diseased knee is replaced with an artificial joint.
Anterior knee pain (AKP) is pain felt at the front of the knee around the knee cap area. The exact location of the pain may be difficult to describe and there may not be an obvious reason as to why the pain has started.
Your doctor will ask you several questions to help rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms. They will also need to examine your knee to look for any swelling at the knee joint. If other conditions are ruled out then it is likely that the problem is AKP. If your doctor finds that the knee joint is swollen (this is called an effusion) then it may be that something else is causing the symptoms.
At this point the doctor usually suggests getting some X-rays of the knee joint and taking a blood test from you. The results of these investigations will help us to work out what might be causing the swelling and will help your doctor decide on the best way to manage your symptoms.
The most common reason why people get this condition is due to weakness in the quadriceps muscles (thigh muscles). If this muscle is strengthened then it is likely that the symptoms of AKP will settle down and improve.
It is very important to note that the symptoms of AKP can take a long period of time to settle down and it is not unusual for symptoms to initially worsen when exercises are first started. It is expected that the following exercises will need to be continued on a regular basis over at least a 12 week period, and often longer, for benefits to be seen.
Although a number of different exercises can be done to strengthen the thigh muscles, one of the best ways to do this is by doing a mini squat.
Firstly a full assessment of the knee is required to ascertain whether other structures within the joint have been damaged by the injury. (eg. MCL and meniscus) An MRI scan is usually performed Treatment may be non-surgical with physiotherapy and knee bracing or surgical with repair of the damaged ligament. There are various techniques used to repair the ACL and which is used depends on the patient, the severity and location of the tear and the degree of damage to other structures in the knee.
This pain on the outside of your knee, is also called Runner’s Knee.
The iliotibial band, a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the leg, works in coordination with several of the thigh muscles to provide stability to the knee and to help in flexion of the knee joint. When irritated, movement of the knee joint becomes painful. Usually the pain worsens with continued movement, and resolves with rest.