Causes of knee pain and effective treatment of diseases

knee pain picture 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 damaging factors. Some diseases are serious and require urgent treatment.

Who is more likely to get knee injuries?

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

Especially often pain in the knee joint appears in people with flat feet. This is a pathology of the foot, which violates the shock-absorbing capabilities 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 more often:

  • overweight;
  • Passive lifestyle;
  • High sports loads;
  • Diabetes;
  • Vascular diseases;
  • Elderly age;
  • Operations and injuries of the knees;
  • Work with increased 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 may be an injury or an advanced stage of arthrosis, a severe inflammatory process. Sometimes the symptom becomes permanent, even at rest, accompanied by swelling, redness of the skin, and a crunch. All these signs should alert a person and force him to visit a doctor.

Pain due to bruises in the knee

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

In more serious cases, pain in the knee increases with flexion and extension of the leg, the person stops moving due to sharp sensations in the joint. On palpation, swelling of the leg can 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 the recommendations and ensure peace of mind for the leg.

Often, traumatic hemarthrosis becomes the cause of pain in the knee joint after a banal 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 in it. Without proper treatment, an injury can result in the development of chronic arthrosis, even at a young age.

doctor examines knee in case of injury

Other types of knee injuries

If the leg in the knee hurts, and trauma 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 tearing of the meniscus. Especially often the injury is observed in professional athletes, in people involved in extreme sports, as well as in domestic injuries. A person feels that the knee is sharply ill, the nature of sensations is piercing, dagger, the joint loses mobility for a while.
  • Ligament damage. A tear (sprain) of the ligaments occurs when the leg is twisted, after a jump, or the limb is extended in an unnatural position. There is a sharp pain, the leg swells, the position of the joint changes, it becomes loose.
  • Rupture of the cruciate ligament. Since these ligaments are located inside the joint, often an injury leads to an outpouring of blood into the knee cavity. Only a puncture will help to pump out blood and make an accurate diagnosis.

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

knee pain picture 2

Inflammatory diseases of the knees

Often standard treatment for knee pain is ineffective. In this case, not the joint itself, but the surrounding soft tissues may be affected. So, 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. Sharp 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 bursting and aching feelings. The causes of pathology are varied:

  • 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 zone. If you do not clarify in time how to treat bursitis, it almost always becomes chronic.

knee pain photo 3

Neoplasms of the knee joint zone

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

  • Baker's cyst. This tumor occurs under the knee, on its back surface. In appearance, the skin above the cyst is normal, not inflamed; in a bent form, swelling may not be at all. In a standing position, a clearly defined, soft, elastic formation appears at the site of the localization of the cyst. It appears after a unilateral knee injury, suffered cartilage damage. Very often, the cyst accompanies chronic synovitis, arthrosis, rheumatoid arthritis. Large cysts cause not only pain in the knee, but also a serious limitation of limb mobility. Due to compression of blood vessels and nerves, other symptoms are coldness of the skin, pallor, goosebumps, and numbness.
  • Meniscus cyst. Appears in the external or internal meniscus, when a cavity with liquid is localized inside 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 pathology is Hoff's disease - the transformation of the adipose tissue of the joint, which becomes fibrous and causes dysfunction of the joint. Against the background of this pathology, arthrosis often develops, which provokes pain in the knee joint. Causes - hormonal disruptions, menopause in women.

arthrosis of the knee joint as a cause of pain

Infectious pathologies of the joint

Against the background of infection, the knee joint hurts sharply, sharply, providing rest does not cause relief. Even urogenital and intestinal infections can give complications to the musculoskeletal system, resulting in reactive arthritis. Bacteria (salmonella, chlamydia, gonococcus and others) penetrate into the cavity of the articulation of the bones with the blood flow, settle on the tissues and cause inflammation. The tendons are usually inflamed too, so the knee is swollen and hot to the touch.

Tuberculosis is a severe disease. Mycobacterium tuberculosis multiplies in bone tissue, causing bone melting, necrosis of cartilage and soft tissues. Without emergency treatment, the knee joints hurt and collapse, and the process covers more and more large areas. As a result, fistulas appear - cavities with pus, which can pour out and cause damage to the whole organism.

An acute, 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 pain in the knee is boring, bursting, and the tissues themselves are swollen, red, with blue, you should urgently call an ambulance and go for an emergency operation. Otherwise, you can lose a leg or die.

pain in the knee joint 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 the aging of the body, wear and tear 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, the stiffness of the leg worries, but it quickly passes. Enhancement of sensations is possible after physical work, intensive sports, long walking.

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

  • Osteochondropathy. It affects the articular surface of the bone, is associated with trauma, sports. Adolescents can develop for no apparent reason.
  • Arthritis. It happens rheumatoid, psoriatic, gouty, provokes chronic inflammation and destruction of the joint.
  • Chondromatosis. The etiology is unclear. The disease causes the appearance of knots on the synovial membranes, which limit the movement of the knee and cause pain.

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

pain in the knee joint photo 5

Other Causes for Knee Pain

When the knees hurt, the etiology of sensations can also lie in the defeat of the peripheral nervous system. So, 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 aches, the joints of the limb weaken, skin sensitivity 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 the bones with blood. With age, the state of the joint normalizes - usually by the age of 18-20 the pain completely stops.

In old age, in the presence of atherosclerosis, knees also often hurt, what to do in this case? Without normalizing fat metabolism, plaque will continue to build up inside the arteries. The vessels are clogged, stop feeding the joint to the fullest. It develops arthrosis, the 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 be determined only after the examination. Both sharp and pulling pains in the knee are characteristic of a mass of pathologies, some of them are very dangerous. For diagnosis, you should contact a surgeon, orthopedist, neurologist, rheumatologist, traumatologist. He will conduct a survey, find out the exact symptoms of the disease, determine the accompanying signs. Also, the doctor at the initial appointment will conduct a series of tests and physical 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;
  • MRI;
  • CT;
  • Radiography.

The choice of the exact technique must be left to the doctor. So, ultrasound reflects well the changes in the leg with arthrosis, meniscal damage. Radiography perfectly shows bone deformities, the presence of osteophytes. MRI and CT provide complete information, they are indispensable for complex diseases. In addition, the doctor will prescribe blood tests to exclude inflammation and rheumatism, if necessary, a biopsy of the joint will be made. With osteoporosis, densitometry is needed - it will show the density of bone tissue in a patient.

diagnosis of causes of knee pain

Treatment of knee pain

If the pathology is traumatic in nature, traumatologists are involved in the treatment, sometimes it is carried out in a hospital. Light bruises go away on their own within a few days, for quick resorption of the hematoma, it is advisable to apply absorbable ointments to the knee. With soreness, 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 compresses can be applied to it for 15 minutes during the first 3 days. Severe pain is relieved by injections of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, injections with anesthetics directly into the joint. To prevent chronic inflammation in the joint after the pain subsides, physiotherapy and exercise therapy are prescribed.

knee pain 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 articular cartilage, as a result, it stops breaking down. Also for the rehabilitation of the knee must be assigned:

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

Infectious diseases of the joints are an indication for the introduction of antibiotics into the joint cavities or oral administration of drugs. In some cases, it is necessary to do an operation, removing the tissues affected by pus. Operative intervention is also used to treat advanced forms of arthrosis with the growth of osteophytes. Sometimes only the replacement of a joint with a prosthesis allows a person to keep the ability to walk normally.