You may or may not know, but the knee is the largest joint in the human body. It is comprised of bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and is connected to various muscles in the leg. Because of the high amount of movement the knee performs, and the complexity of it, it is extremely prone to injury.
Knee pain can often be the result of a direct injury to the area, however that is not always the case. In certain instances, the location of pain can signal what type of injury you may be suffering from. Continue reading to learn what your knee pain means based on the location!
Top/Front of the Knee
If you have noticed knee pain that is occurring at the top or front of your knee, it is likely either bursitis or patellofemoral pain syndrome, more commonly known as runner’s knee.
Bursitis occurs when the small fluid-filled bursae sacs in our knees, or any joints, become irritated or damaged. These sacs are filled with synovial fluid that act like cushions between our bones and help with smooth movement in our joints. Knee bursitis is signaled by stiffness, swelling, or tenderness at the top of the knee.
In addition, knee pain experienced at the top or front of the knee could be a symptom of runner’s knee. Despite what it is called, this injury is not restricted to only runners! High stress exercises and overuse of the knee can contribute to runner’s knee, as well as incorrect form when walking or running. Pain is usually felt at the kneecap and caused by irritation or wear and tear to the lining and cartilage at the site. You may experience popping, grinding, or hear your kneecap clicking.
Bottom of the Knee
Pain at the bottom of the knee could indicate patellar tendonitis, also known as jumper’s knee. Patellar tendonitis is a common overuse injury that affects the patellar tendon. Certain exercises or activities that require jumping or running are often the cause, as repetitive stress and strain leads to inflammation.
Another cause of pain at the bottom of the knee could be Osgood-Schlatter Disease (OSD). This injury is mostly seen in children and adolescents and occurs as their bones grow. OSD is caused by thigh muscles, or quadriceps, pulling on the patella which pulls on the patellar tendon which repetitively pulls on the tibia. This creates tenderness and stress in the area and leads to OSD. Children who play sports such as basketball, soccer, or track have an increased risk of OSD. Symptoms may include swelling below the knee, and it is typically marked by a painful lump that grows in that area.
Sides of the Knee
Pain on both the medial and lateral (inside and outside) of the knee can indicate a few possible injuries. Common injuries that can easily occur are a knee sprain or strain. A knee sprain is the result of the ligaments in your knee overstretching or possibly tearing, while a strain is when your muscles or tendons become injured or tear as well. These can range from mild to severe. For example, MCL or LCL tears that often require surgery to repair the ligaments and are often caused by a direct injury to the side, sudden twisting motions, or hard landings during physical activity. Pain is indicated by swelling on the affected side, as well as a feeling that your knee will give out or the inability to use it.
Lastly, pain on the outside of your knee could be caused by IT Band Syndrome. This injury is brought on by activities that can cause you to move your feet inwards repeatedly, as well as running or exercising on uneven terrain or elevation changes. All this activity irritates the band that connects your knee to various muscles in your upper leg. Swelling and pain outside of the knee are the common indicators, however you may also feel pain in your thighs up to your hip.
Kiss Knee Pain Goodbye with Airrosti
Paying close attention to pain in the areas mentioned above could help you determine more quickly what type of injury you may be suffering from. With injuries to any area of the body, time is of the essence, as untreated injuries could possibly lead to chronic pain and require more aggressive or invasive treatment.
Should you be suffering from an injury or pain in any area of your knee, visit Airrosti to help confirm the cause of your pain. An Airrosti provider will treat your knee pain at the source, as well as create a personalized recovery plan for you, and provide additional support and resources to continue your recovery at home. Airrosti providers will assess your condition and pain and determine what type of injury is ailing you.
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