Knee Pain

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What is it?

The knees are the body's largest and most-used joints. They bear the weight of the body and must absorb the impact of walking, running, and general movement.

Knee joints are intricate structures with components including bones, cartilage, ligaments, muscle tendons, and synovial membranes that line the joints and secrete synovial fluid for lubrication.

These components serve various functions: connecting the bones, enabling movement, protecting the joint, and stabilizing the joint.

The knee joints main function is to bend, straighten, and bear the weight of the body along with the ankles and hips.

The knee is a vulnerable joint that bears a great deal of stress from everyday activities such as lifting and kneeling, and from high-impact activities such as jogging and aerobics.

The knee is more than just a simple hinged joint. It also twists and rotates. To perform all of these actions and to support the entire body while doing so, it relies on a number of structures including bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bursae (fluid-filled sacs that help to cushion the knee).

If there is injury to the knee, it is possible that more than one of these structures may be injured at the same time.

Knee pain has a wide variety of specific causes and treatments.

What causes it?

Knee pain has many possible causes including injury (including sports and home activities), osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, infection, and gout.

Another cause of knee pain is bursitis, the inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs in the joint that reduce friction.

Common treatments

Many treatments are available to help reduce pain and swelling in your knee.

It is advisable to consult with your doctor or physical therapist for the best available treatment.

Home treatments such as stretching, light exercise, rest, ice or heat application, compression, massage or anti-inflammatory medication, may help to relieve knee pain.

See your doctor for severe pain or for pain that persists for more than three days.

Your doctor may recommend additional treatment options such as prescription pain medication and physical therapy.

For severe knee pain a joint injection may provide additional relief.

Depending on the cause of your knee pain, surgery may be recommended.

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About Pain does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment