Causes of knee pain and effective treatment of diseases

knee pain photo 1

Knee pain is one of the most common symptoms for which patients turn to orthopedists and other specialists. Many people completely ignore the appearance of unpleasant sensations, considering them age-related and almost natural. But there are many prerequisites for pain in the knee joint, because it has a complex structure, it is affected by a number of external and internal harmful factors. Some diseases are serious and require urgent treatment.

Who is most likely to have knee injuries?

The knees are made up of several bones connected by muscles, ligaments, tendons. There are also 5 synovial sacs - cavities surrounded by membranes designed to protect the joint. Between the joints of the bones are the interarticular cartilage - the menisci, which help the knee move freely. Violation of the work of even part of the knee joint leads to the appearance of unpleasant symptoms.

Especially in people with flat feet, pain in the knee joint often appears. This is a pathology of the foot, which violates the shock-absorbing abilities of the limbs. With age, increased loads on the joints cause their destruction and the development of inflammation - a pain syndrome appears. Similar consequences have various types of deformation of the foot, lower leg.

There are a number of factors under the influence of which knee pain appears most often:

  • overweight;
  • Passive lifestyle;
  • High sports loads;
  • Diabetes;
  • vascular diseases;
  • Old age;
  • Knee operations and injuries;
  • Work with a greater load on the legs.
knee exam for pain

The causes and treatment of knee pain vary greatly, as does the severity of the sensations. If the knee hurts a lot, the cause could be an injury or an advanced stage of osteoarthritis, a severe inflammatory process. Sometimes the symptom becomes permanent, even at rest, accompanied by swelling, redness of the skin and crunching. All these signs should alert a person and force him to visit a doctor.

Pain due to knee bruising

Among the traumatic causes of joint dysfunction, bruises are the most common. Why does the knee hurt if the symptoms were preceded only by a slight bruise? Even a mild injury is accompanied by hemorrhage in the soft periarticular tissues, their swelling. As a result, the nerve roots suffer, pain appears.

In severe cases, the pain in the knee increases with flexion and extension of the leg, the person stops moving due to acute sensations in the joint. On palpation, swelling of the leg may be noted, it is hot to the touch. How to treat such an injury? You should contact a traumatologist, take an x-ray, follow all advice and ensure peace of mind in the leg.

Often, traumatic hemarthrosis becomes the cause of knee joint pain after a minor bruise. This is an outpouring of blood into the joint cavity, causing edema, swelling of the synovial membranes. As a result, the joint is filled with blood, inflammation begins. Without proper treatment, an injury can lead to the development of chronic osteoarthritis, even at a young age.

the doctor examines the knee for injury

Other types of knee injuries

If the knee leg hurts and the trauma has contributed to these sensations, the causes may lie in various damage to the components of the joint. Here are the main ones:

  • Meniscopathy. It is a flattening or tear of the meniscus. Especially the injury is observed in professional athletes, people involved in extreme sports and home injuries. A person feels that the knee is seriously ill, the nature of the sensations is piercing, dagger, the joint loses mobility for a while.
  • Damage to the ligaments. A tear (sprain) of the ligaments occurs when the leg is twisted, after a jump, the limb is extended into an unnatural position. There is severe pain, the leg swells, the position of the joint changes, becomes loose.
  • Cruciate ligament rupture. Since these ligaments are located inside the joint, an injury often leads to an outpouring of blood into the knee cavity. Only a puncture will help pump blood and make an accurate diagnosis.

Aching pains in the knee joint sometimes accompany chronic patella dislocations. Without treatment of an acute injury in a number of patients, the dislocation becomes chronic and causes regular relapses. In children, this pathology causes an X-shaped curvature of the leg and leads to a serious violation of its function. Sometimes the pathology affects the knees on two legs.

knee pain image 2

Inflammatory diseases of the knees

Standard treatment for knee pain is often ineffective. In this case, not the joint itself, but the surrounding soft tissues may be affected. Hence, tendonitis, or inflammation of the tendon, can be triggered by increased stress on the limb, leg injuries in the past, allergies, drug reactions, etc. The knee joint hurts with such a disease, as a rule, during the day or in the evening, at night the pain subsides. In the acute stage, the mobility of the joint is severely limited, the syndrome is persistent, not amenable to therapy with ointments, creams. Acute sensations are also observed on palpation of the lateral part of the knee.

If the knees hurt regularly, the symptom worsens after hypothermia, the cause may be synovitis - inflammation of the synovial membranes. An inflammatory exudate appears inside the joint, which causes sensations of bursting and pain. The causes of the pathology are various:

  • Autoimmune diseases;
  • metabolic diseases;
  • Injuries in the past;
  • Arthrosis.

Another "popular" disease in which the knees hurt is bursitis. It occurs when the bursa (joint bag) becomes inflamed. In addition to the pain syndrome, there is redness, swelling, increased sensitivity of the patella area. If it is not clear in time how to treat bursitis, it almost always becomes chronic.

knee pain image 3

Knee joint tumors

Malignant tumors of this localization are rare, the pain syndrome is typical for them only in the very advanced stage. Most often, aching pain in the knee joint is inherent in benign formations:

  • Baker's cyst. This tumor occurs below the knee, on its back surface. In appearance, the skin over the cyst is normal, not inflamed; in a folded form, swelling may not be at all. In an upright position, a clearly defined soft and elastic formation appears at the site of localization of the cyst. Appears after a unilateral knee injury, suffered cartilage damage. Most often, the cyst accompanies chronic synovitis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis. Large cysts cause not only pain in the knee, but also severe limitation of limb mobility. Due to the compression of blood vessels and nerves, other symptoms are coldness of the skin, paleness, goosebumps and numbness.
  • Cyst of the meniscus. It appears in the external or internal meniscus, when a cavity with liquid is localized within the cartilage. The knees in this case hurt after high loads or towards the end of the day. Large cysts may be visible on the lateral side of the joint, while smaller ones are only visible on ultrasound or X-rays.

A rare condition is Hoff's disease: the transformation of fatty tissue in the joint, which becomes fibrous and causes joint dysfunction. Against the background of this pathology, osteoarthritis often develops, which causes pain in the knee joint. Causes - hormonal disruptions, menopause in women.

osteoarthritis of the knee as a cause of pain

Infectious diseases of the joint

Against the background of the infection, the knee joint hurts, sharply, provided that rest does not cause relief. Urogenital and intestinal infections can also cause complications in the musculoskeletal system, resulting in reactive arthritis. Bacteria (salmonella, chlamydia, gonococci and others) penetrate the cavity of the bone joint with the bloodstream, settle on the tissues and cause inflammation. Usually the tendons are also inflamed, so the knee is swollen and warm to the touch.

Tuberculosis is a serious disease. Mycobacterium tuberculosis multiplies in bone tissue, causing bone to melt, cartilage and soft tissue necrosis. Without emergency treatment, the knee joints ache and collapse, and the process covers larger and larger areas. As a result, fistulas appear - cavities with pus, which can leak out and cause damage to the whole organism.

An acute and urgent disease is osteomyelitis of the bone. What to do if your knees hurt, and the process is accompanied by weakness, muscle aches, fever up to 40 degrees? If the knee pain is dull, explosive, and the tissues themselves are swollen, red, with blue, you should urgently call an ambulance and undergo an emergency operation. Otherwise, you can lose a leg or die.

knee joint pain photo 4

Knee pain - causes of a degenerative nature

After the age of 50, a huge number of people have knee pain. The prerequisites are aging of the body, wear of the joint apparatus and the development of the most common pathology - osteoarthritis (gonarthrosis). It leads to thinning, destruction of cartilage with a change in the shape of the bone heads. Most often, at an early stage of the pathology, the knee hurts on one side, after a few years the lesion becomes bilateral. In the morning, stiffness in the leg worries, but it passes quickly. Improvement of sensations is possible after physical work, intensive sports, long walks.

In the advanced stages, the joint tissues collapse, osteophytes grow on the sides of the joint space. These are spikes of bone tissue, which in severe cases detach and cause unbearable pain. There are a number of degenerative pathologies, the symptoms of which will be similar to gonarthrosis:

  • Osteochondropathy. Affects the articular surface of the bone, is associated with trauma, sports. Teens can develop for no apparent reason.
  • Arthritis. It happens rheumatoid, psoriatic, gouty, causes chronic inflammation and destruction of the joint.
  • Chondromatosis. The etiology is unclear. The disease causes nodes to appear on the synovial membranes, which restrict the movement of the knee and cause pain.

Postmenopausal women often have knee pain due to osteoporosis - thinning of the bones, increasing their fragility. The disease is accompanied by leg cramps, pain in the spine, periodic fractures.

knee joint pain photo 5

Other prerequisites for knee pain

When the knees hurt, the etiology of the sensations can also lie in the defeat of the peripheral nervous system. Thus, neuropathy of the sciatic nerve against the background of damage to the lumbar vertebrae leads to a number of symptoms. A person's knees break, the thigh area hurts, the joints of the limb are weakened, the sensitivity of the skin is disturbed. Leg reflexes also change.

Sometimes the entire knee joint hurts due to vascular disorders. Only in adolescence you should not worry much: due to the rapid growth of the body, the vessels do not have time to supply blood to the bones. With age, the state of the joint normalizes - usually by the age of 18-20, the pain stops completely.

In old age, in the presence of atherosclerosis, even the knees often hurt, what to do in this case? Without normalizing fat metabolism, plaque will continue to build up within the arteries. The vessels become clogged, they stop feeding the joint to the maximum. Arthrosis develops, pain becomes chronic. Unpleasant sensations in the knee area can also be caused by varicose veins, thrombophlebitis and vascular thrombosis.

How to make a diagnosis?

People's knees hurt quite often - how to treat the condition that has arisen can only be determined after examination. Both sharp and pulling pains in the knee are characteristic of a mass of pathologies, some of which are very dangerous. For the diagnosis, it is necessary to contact a surgeon, an orthopedist, a neurologist, a rheumatologist, a traumatologist. He will conduct a survey, find out the exact symptoms of the disease, determine the accompanying signs. In addition, the doctor at the initial appointment will conduct a series of physical tests and examinations to clarify the nature of the problem.

What to do when your knees hurt, what instrumental methods will help identify the causes? Usually assigned:

  • ultrasound;
  • magnetic resonance;
  • TC;
  • X-ray.

The choice of the exact technique should be left to the doctor. So, ultrasound well reflects changes in the leg with arthrosis, damage to the meniscus. X-ray perfectly shows bone deformities, the presence of osteophytes. MRI and CT provide comprehensive information, they are indispensable for complex diseases. In addition, the doctor will prescribe blood tests to rule out inflammation and rheumatism, a biopsy of the joint will be performed if necessary. With osteoporosis, densitometry is required - it will show the density of bone tissue in a patient.

diagnosing the causes of knee pain

Knee pain treatment

If the pathology is of a traumatic nature, traumatologists are involved in the treatment, sometimes it is carried out in the hospital. Light bruises disappear on their own within a few days, for rapid resorption of the hematoma, it is recommended to apply absorbable ointments on the knee. With pain, it is necessary to rub ointments with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory components.

How to treat when the knee hurts with its inflammatory lesion? In the acute stage of bursitis, synovitis, arthritis, the affected leg needs rest, ice packs can be applied for 15 minutes during the first 3 days. Intense pain is relieved by injections of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, injections with anesthetics directly into the joint. To prevent chronic inflammation of the joint after the pain subsides, physiotherapy and physical therapy are prescribed.

knee massage

When a person has knee pain due to gonarthrosis, what to do in this case? The main drugs for treatment are chondroprotectors and hyaluronic acid injections. These drugs are designed to restore the nutrition of the joint cartilage, as a result, it stops breaking down. Also for knee rehabilitation the following must be assigned:

  • vascular drugs;
  • Physiotherapy;
  • Gym;
  • Massage;
  • Vitamin complexes.

Infectious diseases of the joints are an indication for the introduction of antibiotics into the joint cavities or for the oral administration of drugs. In some cases it is necessary to perform an operation, removing the tissues affected by the pus. Surgery 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 the ability to walk normally.