Knee Pain


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Knee Pain
Fact:
Knee pain has many different causes but can be treated.
Fiction:
It’s a myth that if you rest the leg, the pain will just “go away.”
The following chart highlights a variety of conditions that cause knee pain.
   

Chart

Condition

What It Is

Causes

Symptoms

Treatment

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries

 

A tear in one or both of the ACL or the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which form a stabilizing “X” inside the knee joint

A sudden stop, twist or change in the knee joint, hyperextension of the knee from an awkward landing, or direct contact

Feeling a "pop" inside the knee when the ligament tears; significant knee swelling, bruising; and a feeling that the injured knee will buckle

 

Rest, ice, ACE bandage and elevate the leg. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for swelling and pain. May require surgery, rehabilitation and many months to heal

PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) injuries

 

A tear in the PCL, which with the ACL forms a stabilizing “X” inside the knee joint

Direct impact to the front of the knee in a car crash, or an athlete falling forward on the knees

Mild knee swelling, with or without giving way; mild pain at the back of the knee that feels worse when kneeling; pain in the front of the knee; a knee that doesn’t feel right

Rest, ice, ACE bandage and elevate the leg. Splinting. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for swelling and pain. May require surgery, rehabilitation and many months to heal

Torn meniscus, the most common cause of knee surgery in the U.S.

A tear in one or both disk-shaped pieces of cartilage that act as a shock absorber in the knee

Sports or overuse

Knee pain; swelling; a "locked" knee; a knee that catches or can't be fully straightened; a click, pop or grinding inside the knee; a knee that buckles or feels weak

Temporary knee brace and rehabilitation, surgery

Chondromalacia

Breakdown in the articular cartilage on the ends of bones inside a joint

Injury, overuse of the knee, infection, poor alignment of the knee, injecting steroids into the knee

Dull pain in front of knee behind kneecap; knee catching, creaking or grinding

Ice, avoid kneeling and squatting, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for swelling and pain, knee tape to correct alignment. May require surgery, rehabilitation, may not completely heal

Osgood-Schlatter Disease, a common, temporary condition

Inflammation of the kneecap’s anchoring tendon

Wear and tear from athletic activities during the growth spurt by older children and teens

Pain and swelling of soft tissues on top of the shin bone below the kneecap; redness and warmth below the kneecap; a bony bump at the top of the shinbone

Limit activities that cause pain, then use shock-absorbent shoe supports, a knee brace, heat before activities and ice after. Usually takes 1-2 years to run its course

Knee sprains, affecting up to a quarter million Americans each year

An injury among the major knee ligaments: ACL and PCL (see above), medial collateral ligament (MCL) along the inner side of the leg, and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) 

ACL and PCL injuries (see above). MCL injured by twisting the knee or a direct sideways blow to the knee or lower leg. LCL injured by a direct blow to the inside of the knee (less common)

See above for ACL and PCL. MCL and LCL sprains cause knee pain and swelling, the knee buckling toward the outside (MCL) or inside (LCL), and an area of tenderness at the inner side of the knee (MCL) or outer side (LCL)

Rest, ice, ACE bandage and elevate the leg, splinting or knee brace. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for swelling and pain. May require surgery, rehabilitation and many months to heal

ã A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information presented in these articles is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other medical professional if you have questions about any medical condition, diagnosis or treatment. A.D.A.M., Inc. will not be liable for any damages arising from the use of this information, and makes no warranties or representations of any kind with respect to the information contained herein.