Reasons for Knee Pain – Article by Dr. Nirad Vengsarkar, Joint Replacement Surgeon, Mumbai

Knee pain can be an early warning of arthritis.

Gradual Increase in pain is more common than sudden onset pain. At first, you may notice pain in the morning or after low activity.

Your knees may hurt when you climb stairs, stand up from a seated position, or kneel. It may hurt just to walk. In some cases, you may feel pain when you’re doing nothing more than sitting down.

Some people with arthritis say that damp weather or other changes in weather can bring on pain. Knee pain that wakes you up from sleep can be a symptom of osteoarthritis.

1 – Knee Arthritis

There are three types of arthritis of your knees.

Osteoarthritis – the most common which is a progressive disease that slowly wears away joint cartilage. This typically appears after middle age.
Rheumatoid arthritis – is an inflammatory disease that can strike at any age.
Post-traumatic arthritis – develops following a knee injury. It can occur years after a torn meniscus, injury to ligament, or fracture of the knee.
Some types of arthritis can cause fatigue.

2 – Knee Inflammation

Periodic inflammation, swelling or tenderness in your knee can cause pain. This maybe caused by the formation of bone spurs (osteophytes) or extra fluids in the knee.

Swelling may be more pronounced after a long period of inactivity, such as in the morning. The skin on your knee may look red or feel warm when you touch it. Over time you may experience chronic inflammation of the knee that does not improve with over-the-counter medications or anti-inflammatory drugs.

3 – Knee Buckling and Locking

Over time, the muscles in your knee may weaken and the entire joint structure can become unstable.

Overall weakness in the knee can cause your knee to give way or buckle. The joint can also stick or lock up so you can not bend it or straighten it out when you want to.

These symptoms and pain can come and go for no apparent reason.

4 – Knee Cracking or Popping Sounds

A grinding feeling or sensation in your knees can arise as you move. You might even hear cracking or popping sounds from your knees. These can be a signs of Arthritis.

These symptoms can occur with the loss knee cartilage. This smooth covering helps with your knees smooth range of motion. Loss of cartilage can cause significant pain.

If you have arthritis of the knee, the disconcerting noises and the grinding feeling are a result of rough surfaces and bone spurs rubbing over each other as you move your joints.

5 – Poor Range of Knee Motion

Pain can arise from arthritis challenging how the knee joints to glide as they should, making previously simple movements increasingly difficult.

Patients notice a restricted range of motion climbing stairs or more challenging activities.

As osteoarthritis progressively wears away the knee cartilage, pain worsens. As the knee joints movement no longer function normally simple tasks such as walking become difficult.

6 – Loss of Joint Space

X-ray diagnosis of the knees can help understand loss of joint space that causes pain, poor range of motion and those unsettling sounds

The space that normally allows freedom of movement is lost to bone spurs and other rough surfaces on the ends of bones. Bone spurs can occur when cartilage is worn through, or from calcification. These spurs are a common sign of osteoarthritis.

7 – Knee Deformities

Knee appearance such as a thinning or sunken muscles surrounding the knees can both weaken and cause pain.

The knees can begin to point toward each other, creating a knock-kneed effect. They can also bend outward, creating a bow-legged look. Deformities of the knee can range from barely noticeable to quite severe.

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