Reasons for the pain in knee joints

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative illness of knee joints (can affect any joint) that is related to the overall ageing of the body and can be usually observed for people older than 50 years. When the protective cartilages on the ends of the bones wear down; they do not protect bones of joints from direct mutual contact. Direct contact of the bones cause pain and inflammation.

One of the first signs of osteoarthritis is loss of the rotation abilities of knee joint. Pain during movement, stiffness in the joint and limping can be added to the symptom. Intensity of the symptoms can change, sometimes causing feeling of complete recovery, but sometimes - very explicit disturbances.

Osteoarthritis does not go away still it is possible to limit development of this illness and maximally improve life quality. To achieve this it is necessary to care for one’s body weight, learn set of exercises and regularly exercise under the supervision of physiotherapist to strengthen hip ligaments and muscles, protect knee joint from big load, consult doctor, use anti-inflammatory and anaesthetic medications. In certain cases endoprosthesis of knee joint is required.

Torn meniscus There are two meniscuses in each knee – C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act like cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone. In the front and back of the knee meniscus are mutually connected with ligaments that give them small range of movements. As regards to the heads of both massive leg bones – thigh and shank – that forms knee joint, meniscus is comparatively tender and fragile. Although meniscus automatically follows movements of the knee and participates in securing of those movements, still sometimes for a brief moment they move out of the safe trajectories and during the movement are heavily squeezed or pulled between ends of the bones of knee joint, causing fracture in the moon shaped cartilage.

Feelings caused by the damage of meniscus can be characterized with the fact that it aches, smarts and squeals exactly in the place where meniscus is located anatomically – along the perimeter of the knee joint. After serious injuries of meniscus when a part is torn off; sometimes inflammations occur in the knee that can cause more explicit plain and swelling of the knee joint. Swelling can be not only visually visible oedema but also pressing, uncomfortable feeling in the knee.

If the meniscus is torn smoothly and are located in the body of the meniscus, then most likely that will not cause significant discomfort and you can get on with that. Still if the part of meniscus is torn off, freely floating in the liquid of the knee joint capsule, this injury most likely would cause great discomfort or even movement limitations of the knee and require help of Traumatologist Orthopaedic specialist.

The torn off pieces usually are indication for meniscus surgery. 

Damages of the ligaments of knee joint Knee joint is stabilized by several ligaments. Damage or tear of ligaments usually cause immediate pain that grow stronger when the knee is moved, bent or during walking.

Types of the damages and tears of ligaments:

  • Damage of the cruciate ligament is the most common damage of ligaments of knee joints. It causes feeling of instability in the knee joint and rapidly progressing swelling. Damages of cruciate ligaments frequently require surgical treatment.
  • Damage of the lateral ligaments of internal knee joint occurs from injury that originates when the knee joint moves to the inside. That can be caused, for example, by the mechanical hit on the external edge of the knee joint. This damage is usually cured without surgical interference.
  • Damage of the cruciate ligaments of the rear knee joint occurs very rarely. It can be caused, for example, by the strong stroke on the frontal part of the knee joint that is directed towards the rear ligaments. Also stumbling can cause this damage. Similarly as due to the result of damages of internal ligaments, also damages of the rear cruciate ligaments cause rapidly progressive swelling and feeling of instability in the knee joint. Damage of the cruciate ligament of the rear knee joint usually occurs concurrently with other damages of knee joint, for example, damage of the front cruciate ligaments. If only cruciate ligaments of the rear knee joint are damaged, usually surgical treatment is not required. Still if several parts of the knee joint are damaged, doctor can opt for the surgery.
  • Damage of the external side ligament of knee joint is usually caused by severe injury, for example, car accident. This damage requires surgical treatment.

Damage of the cartilage of knee joint Hyaline cartilage is very smooth and strong formation that is located between the surfaces of every joint bone and protects it from mutual friction and damages. Damage of the cartilage of knee joint occurs as consequences to injury, degenerative wear of the surface of the joint (for example, due to osteoarthritis), as well as due to other illnesses of the joints. There are no nerves and blood vessels in the cartilage, therefore cartilage can not cure itself. Damage can remain unnoticed until the moment when cartilage is significantly worn out and is not able to protect bones of the joints from direct mutual contact. It causes pain and inflammation. Bones of joints are sensitive and sharp pain people experience in these situations is caused by the irritation of the ends of the nerves of bones.

Pieces torn off from the damaged cartilage that freely move in the capsule of knee joint also can cause pain, oedema, feeling of tackling and sharp, sudden pain.

Depending on the severity and disturbances cause damages of the cartilage of knee joint is cured by both non-surgical and surgical treatment methods.

Patellar tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon of muscle). Frequently reason of the inflammation is degenerative processes in the tendon which looses natural elasticity due to ageing. Also trauma or repeated traumas can cause inflammation. In case of certain illnesses, for example, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis or diabetes, inflammation in the tendons of knee joint can also occur without prior injury.

Inflammation of the tendon usually can be felt as burning pain in certain area of the knee joint. Pain increases during movement. Usually symptoms can be effectively prevented by reducing load on the knee and applying physiotherapy. Protein injection - injection of plasma rich in thrombocytes in the damaged joint – is globally considered as an effective method for treating of the inflammation of tendons of knee joint. In rare cases inflamed tissues are removed with the help of surgery.

Twisting of the knee joint occurs rarely but is a serious damage of the knee joint that can occur after car accident, falling from high places or sports injury. At the moment of twisting ends of the knee joint bones for a moment mutually bumps against each other and locates in wrong places. Ligaments of the knee are too tense. Depending on the force applied to the movement part of the ligaments (usually frontal and back cruciate ligaments) burst. In daily life this trauma is called twisting. Medicine calls this the damage of the ligaments of knee joint.

Twisting of the knee joint can damage meniscus and cartilage. Also bigger nerves and blood vessels can suffer. If the damage is significant, it requires surgical treatment and reconstruction of the damaged tissues. Twisting of the knee joint can be mistaken for the twisting of the kneecap (Patella), therefore it is important to trust the diagnosis and treatment of such rare damages of knee joint to experienced Traumatology Orthopaedic specialists found in ORTO clinics.

Twisting of the Patella or kneecap is much more frequent and less traumatic damage of the knee joint that twisting of the knee joint.

When we bent the knee, vertebra of the knee joint goes up and down along the end of the thighbone or its fissure. For part of the people this movement of cartilage is not stable fixed, therefore vertebra of the joint during movement can incorrectly slide out anatomically. That can go without consequences but can also cause twisting of the knee joint vertebra when the vertebra completely slides out from the thighbone joint. Usually after this kind of twisting vertebra of the knee joint returns to its place, still after this kind of damage it is important to have physiotherapy course with the purpose to strengthen ligaments and muscles of the knee joint, thus protecting knee from the repeated twisting of the vertebra. In certain cases surgical intervention is necessary.

Knee bursitis is inflammation of the bursa located near your knee joint (pad-like sac filled with fluid). Signs of inflammation are pain, swelling, limitations of movements in the knee joint and pain while walking. Symptoms get worse while squatting or walking up or down the stairs. Inflammation can occur when the knee is hurt, during overload while running, jumping or standing for a prolonged period of time. Also incorrect posture can cause bursitis.

Pretty often after trauma simultaneously to the inflammation process also fluid gathers in the knee joint and it is prevented by draining out this fluid with syringe.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, pain killers, as well as injections of the corticosteroids and growth factors are used for the treatment of the inflammation of knee joint. Injections of corticosteroids rapidly reduce pain and swelling, thus many times they are applied in cases when the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs does not give results or person has intolerance to those drugs. On its turn, injections of the growth factors in case of the inflammation of knee joint promote reduction of inflammation and restoration of tissues.

After consulting Traumatology Orthopaedic specialist it is also recommended to visit physiotherapist with the purpose to strengthen ligaments and muscles of the knee joint and reduce possibility of recurrent inflammation.