Your knee is the largest joint in your body.
It’s where your thigh bone, shinbone, and knee cap all come together.
Your knee also includes cartilage, ligaments, menisci, and tendons.
If everything is working together in harmony, you’ll barely notice your knee is there.
But if any part of your knee isn’t working well, you will experience pain, inflammation, and other symptoms that will make it difficult to walk and participate in your usual activities.
Chronic knee pain is very common.
It’s usually the result of an injury, and it’s not unusual for it to be caused by everyday wear and tear, overuse, or by some medical conditions.
In the article below, we will learn about the common causes of chronic knee pain and the best knee pain treatment.
Check out our related blog post: 8 TOP TIPS FOR DEALING WITH KNEE PAIN
What’s Chronic Knee Pain?
Chronic knee pain is long-term pain, sensitivity, or swelling in one or both of your knees.
The symptoms you experience will vary depending on the cause of your knee pain.
Several things can cause or contribute to your chronic knee pain, and fortunately, many treatments exist.
Each person will experience chronic knee pain differently.
The Knee Joint
It’s helpful to understand what makes up your knee joint in order to understand the common causes of chronic knee pain.
We said earlier that the knee is the joint where the thighbone, shinbone, and kneecap come together, and it has cartilage, ligaments, menisci, and tendons.
Your cartilage is the slippery substance on the ends of the bones in the knee.
It keeps the bones from rubbing against each other, allowing them to rub and path smoothly over one another as your leg bends and straightens.
Your menisci act as the cushions between the femur and tibia that also act as shock absorbers.
Your ligaments hold your bones together and keep your knee stable. Two major ligaments in your knee are your medial collateral ligament and your anterior cruciate ligament.
Your tendons are the connective tissues that attach the muscles in the leg to the bones.
When everything works together, your knee functions as it should, and you can move freely.
Symptoms Of Chronic Knee Pain
Each person will experience different symptoms with chronic knee pain because the cause of the knee pain determines how the pain feels.
Some people will experience severe knee pain, while others experience minor aches.
Symptoms of chronic knee pain include:
- – A constant ache
- – A burning discomfort
- – A sharp, shooting pain
Chronic swelling and pain can occur when the knee is touched.
Diagnosing Chronic Knee Pain
Each cause of chronic knee pain will require a different diagnostic test.
The diagnostic tests can include blood work, a physical exam, x-ray, CT scans, or MRIs.
The initial consultation with your doctor will determine the types of tests you will undergo to see what could be causing your knee pain.
Common Causes of Chronic Knee Pain
Trauma is one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain.
A direct blow to the knee, a fall, a sudden change in direction, competitive movements, or any knee injury are all common causes of chronic knee pain.
Traumatic knee injuries can lead to:
- – a dislocation of your kneecap
- – a fracture of your kneecap, femur, or tibia
- – torn ligaments
- – meniscus tears
Traumatic knee injuries can occur if you don’t warm up before physical activities, participates in sports, or are involved in an accident.
Accidents and physical activities are the most common causes of traumatic knee injuries because they often put the knees under extreme strain.
If the knee doesn’t heal properly, chronic pain can result.
In addition to being the result of a traumatic accident, medical conditions are another one of the top common causes of chronic knee pain.
There are several medical conditions that can lead to knee pain, including:
- -osteoarthritis and other degenerative tissue disorders
- -rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-inflammatory diseases
- -damage to the cartilage below the kneecap
- -fluid build-up behind the knee
- -a tumor in the knee
Obesity is a significant contributor to chronic knee pain. Between 1971 and 2004, the incidence of knee pain rose by 65% in the United States, mostly due to a rise in obesity.
Gout is a metabolic disorder that can cause people to experience knee pain due to uric acid crystals building up in the joints.
This often results in painful inflammation and affects how the knee moves.
Degenerative Tissue Disorders
Osteoarthritis is a common chronic condition of the joints caused by your joints’ wear and tear over time.
Common symptoms of osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness after long periods of rest.
Your knees can also become swollen after an extended period of activity.
Osteoporosis is another common disorder where the bone becomes thinner, resulting in damage in the cartilage and connecting tissues in the knee, making a fracture more likely.
A bacterial infection like cellulitis can cause sudden knee pain.
Cellulitis occurs when bacteria that are usually on the surface of your skin make their way underneath your skin’s protective surface.
If cellulitis is left untreated, it can cause an infection in the joint, resulting in swelling, pain, and stiffness.
When enough time passes, chronic kneed pain can develop.
One of the most common auto-inflammatory diseases that cause knee pain is rheumatoid arthritis.
With rheumatoid arthritis, your body’s immune system attacks its own tissues.
With chronic knee pain, RA attacks the knee’s tissues and can result in pain, joint inflammation, fatigue, fever, and appetite loss.
How to Treat Chronic Knee Pain
No matter what common causes of chronic knee pain is affecting you, it won’t go away on its own, but it is very treatable.
The type of pain you are experiencing and what caused it will determine the best course of action to take to treat your knee pain.
The most common types of treatment for chronic knee pain are:
Physical therapy will help strengthen the muscles around your knee’s affected area, helping to stabilize it.
Depending on what caused your knee pain, you could be prescribed physical therapy or exercises to perform on your own at home.
If you’re an active person, your doctor will likely prescribe specific exercises to retrain your body on how to take some of the pressure off of your knees.
You may also have to wear a leg brace to help redistribute your weight or improve the arch of your foot.
There are a few injections your doctor can prescribe for chronic knee pain that will help alleviate the pain for months.
Some of the injections you could receive are:
- –Corticosteroids will help reduce the inflammation and symptoms of arthritis, relieving you of your pain for months. Corticosteroids don’t work for everyone.
- –Hyaluronic acid mimics the natural fluid used for lubrication in the knees. Hyaluronic acid will increase mobility and reduce joint pain, lasting for several months.
- –Platelet-rich plasma is ideal for people with chronic knee pain due to ligament tears or sprains. Platelet-rich plasma is platelets from your own body that will help heal knee pain.
Although pain medications come with a host of side effects, they can help bring quick, temporary relief from your knee pain.
Your doctor could prescribe painkillers that are stronger than over-the-counter medications.
Surgery should be used as a last resort, but it can sometimes be a very effective treatment for chronic pain.
Although surgery is only an option after all the other treatments have failed, the type of surgery you need will depend on the specifics of your chronic knee pain.
The best option for surgery will be to fix what is injured, but a partial or complete knee replacement is also an option.
A partial knee replacement will replace the damaged parts of the knee with parts made of metal and plastic.
A full knee replacement replaces the entire knee with an artificial joint.
How Can You Prevent Knee Pain?
Almost all of the possible common causes of chronic knee pain can be prevented, but you can’t prevent chronic knee pain.
Luckily there are some things you can do to alleviate the pain.
If you notice your chronic knee pain getting worse due to overuse, or you notice it being painful after physical activity, there are lifestyle changes you can make to help treat the pain.
First, you should always warm-up before exercise. Stretch your quads and hamstrings before and after exercise or any physical activity.
You can also opt for more low impact exercises. Instead of basketball or running, try swimming or bike riding.
Or at least mix in low impact exercise with high impact exercise to give your knees a rest.
Losing weight is a great way to take the pressure off of your knees.
Stick to smooth surfaces instead of rough, rocky surfaces that are hazardous to the health of your knees.
Shoe inserts can help treat foot or gait problems that often contribute to knee pain.
And runners should replace their shoes often to ensure they still have proper support and cushioning.
Find Chronic Knee Pain Treatment Near You
There are many common causes of chronic knee pain, and if you are experiencing knee pain, you should see a doctor right away.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, complete a physical exam, and order imaging tests like x-rays or MRIs.
After they are able to properly diagnose your knee pain, they will discuss your treatment options.
Quick treatment can prevent a short-term knee issue from becoming long-term, chronic pain.
There’s no reason for you to suffer from chronic knee pain, especially when the Ethos Health Group is here to help.
At Ethos Health Group, we’ve developed our proprietary HyalRegen-CT method as a comprehensive solution for those suffering from knee arthritis and pain.
Lubricating injections can be performed under precision imaging guidance, so we know we’re targeting precisely the right area.
This advanced medical process serves to add cushioning fluid back into the knee, like oil for a squeaky hinge.
Even more exciting, these FDA cleared injections can help your knees stimulate more of their natural fluid, giving you long-term benefits and relief.
This procedure is often combined with our regenerative injections that contain Mesenchymal Stem Cell Exosomes.
Most people with knee pain have heard of stem cell therapy, and they wonder if it could be an option to help them avoid surgery and get out of pain.
If you would like to learn more about what the Ethos Health Group can do for your knee pain, click the button below to schedule a free consultation.