What Causes Knee Pain?
Pain can occur in the knee from diseases or conditions that involve the knee joint, the soft tissues and bones surrounding the knee, or the nerves that supply sensation to the knee area.
In fact, the knee joint is the most commonly involved joint in rheumatic diseases, immune diseases that affect various tissues of the body including the joints to cause arthritis.
Arthritis is inflammation within a joint. The causes of knee joint inflammation range from non inflammatory types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, which is a degeneration of the cartilage of the knee, to inflammatory types of arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout).
Swelling of the knee joint from arthritis can lead to a localized collection of fluid accumulating in a cyst behind the knee. This is referred to as a Baker cyst and is a common cause of pain at the back of the knee.
Infections of the bone or joint can rarely be a serious cause of knee pain and have associated signs of infection including fever, extreme heat, warmth of the joint, chills of the body, and may be associated with puncture wounds in the area around the knee.
These infections are often diagnosed by aspirating joint fluid accumulations with a needle (joint aspiration) and examining the fluid microscopically and with microbial culture techniques.
Treatment of the arthritis is directed according to the nature of the specific type of arthritis. Many people suffer from arthritis; the pain and discomfort can be so limiting that some patients may require a total knee joint replacement.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is caused by chronic inflammation at the area of the tendon below the kneecap where it attaches to the tibia bone. This can cause local pain and tenderness of the attachment point.
It requires treatments to reduce inflammation, restricted activity, and gradual rehabilitation. Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common cause of pain in the front of the knee in children.
Chondromalacia patella refers to a softening of the cartilage under the kneecap (patella). It is a common cause of deep knee pain and stiffness in younger women and can be associated with pain and stiffness after prolonged sitting and climbing stairs or hills.
Bursitis of the knee commonly occurs on the inside of the knee (anserine bursitis) and the front of the kneecap (patellar bursitis, or “housemaid’s knee”).
Suggestions For Managing Knee Pain
Knee pain due to inflammation is generally treated with ice packs, and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin and may require local injections of cortisone medication. Exercise therapy to develop the musculature of the front of the thigh is commonly prescribe. Manual therapy, such as osteopathy or myotherapy may be helpful at reducing any muscle tightness and joint stiffness that may be contributing to the knee pain. Your osteopath and myotherapist are trained to be able to identify the exact cause of the problem and direct you to the most appropriate form of treatment.
Knee Pain Management Options
Osteopathy is a “whole body” system of manual therapy which uses a range of techniques to manage musculo-skeletal disorders and other functional disorders of the body. This form of treatment was developed in America in the 1870s by Dr Andrew Taylor Still and has progressed in development to be widely scientifically validated and utilised around the world.
Myotherapy is the evidence based assessment, management and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal pain and associated conditions. Myotherapy targets the soft tissue of the body, namely muscle groups and connective tissue (myofascia), to help reduce pain, improve muscle function and increase joint range of motion. They also provide education on a range of postural complaints, functional movement and corrective exercise.