Knee pain is a common symptom in people of all ages. It may start suddenly, often after an injury or exercise. Knee pain may also begin as a mild discomfort, and then slowly worsen. Simple causes of knee pain often clear up with proper rest. Being overweight can put you at greater risk for knee problems.
Most knee problems fall into four major categories:
- Tendon inflammation (bursitis or tendinitis) or tendon tear
- Instability (ACL, PCL, MCL and/or LCL)
Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that are located in joints throughout the body, including the knee. They act as cushions between bones and the overlying soft tissues,and help reduce friction between the gliding muscles and the bone.Sometimes, excessive use of the knee leads to inflammation and swelling of the bursa between the upper leg muscles and the tibia and patella or knee cap. Many tissues in the knee can become inflamed and painful. Many daily activities, such as climbing stairs and rising from a seated position may become difficult.
A tendon is a cord that connects muscle to bone. Most tendinitis is a result of a wearing down of the tendon that occurs slowly over time, much like the wearing process on the sole of a shoe that eventually splits from overuse.
Generally, tendinitis is one of two types:
- Acute - Excessive squatting, running or other sports injuries can lead to acutetendinitis
- Chronic - Degenerative diseases like arthritis or repetitive wear and tear dueto age, can lead to chronic tendinitis
The most commonly affected tendons in the knee are the patellar tendon and the distal end of the IT band. The patellar tendon attaches the lower portion of the knee cap to the tibia in the lower leg. The IT band or Ilio-tibial band runs from the outside of the hip down to the outside of the knee where the end of the thigh bone (femur) meets the top of the shin bone (tibia).
Four main ligaments connect these two bones:
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL) runs along the inside of the knee and prevents the knee from bending out
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) runs along the outside of the knee and prevents the knee from bending in
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is in the middle of the knee and prevents the shin bone from sliding out in front of the thigh bone
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) works with the ACL and prevents the shin bone from sliding backwards under the femur
Osgood-Schlatter disorder is a painful swelling of the bump on the upper part of the shinbone, just below the knee. This bump is called the anterior tibial tubercle. Osgood-Schlatter disorder is thought to be caused by small injuries due to repeated overuse before the knee area is finished growing. The quadriceps muscle is a large, strong muscle on the front part of the upper leg. When this muscle squeezes (contracts), it
straightens the knee. The quadriceps muscle is an important muscle for running, jumping, and climbing. When the quadriceps muscle is used a lot in sports activities during a child's growth spurt, this area becomes irritated or swollen and causes pain. It is common in adolescents who play soccer, basketball, and volleyball, and who participate in gymnastics. Osgood-Schlatter disorder affects more boys than girls.
Source: Medline Plus. www.nlm.nih.gov
At Sarasota Sports Medicine, Dr. Kaufman can diagnose your condition and provide the very best options to fully resolve your problem. If your condition will respond to the conservative treatments provided at Sarasota Sports Medicine, a plan will be provided with detailed information. If your problem requires a referral to a different health care provider, he will make the proper recommendation.
If you have or think you have any of these conditions, please send us an inquiry to the right of the page. Or, call us at 941-927-0546 today!