There are many causes of knee pain.
If you’re suffering from this type of pain and don’t understand what may be causing it, I’m here to help work you through it.
There are several factors that can contribute to the pain. It’s important for you to understand your specific cause in order to get effective treatment.
Let’s explore the causes of knee pain…
It’s possible the knee pain you’re experiencing is caused by arthritis.
This happens when the cartilage inside your knee gets worn out. Cartilage is the part of the knee that adds cushion to the joint.
There are actually 3 kinds of arthritis that can form in your knee:
- Post-traumatic arthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
It’s common for folks to begin experiencing osteoarthritis around 40 or 50 years of age. This is the most common type of arthritic knee issues out of the 3 I listed above. It’s a condition that gets progressively worse as your joint cartilage slowly wears thin.
Post-traumatic arthritis is experienced after a knee injury, such as a knee fracture, ligament damage or a torn meniscus.
You can experience Rheumatoid arthritis (an inflammatory disease) at any age.
Injury Causes of Knee Pain
There are several types of knee injuries.
This is damage that occurs inside your knee.
You have cartilage that works to absorb shock called the lateral and medial menisci.
If these degenerate from overuse or you cause a tear, you’re definitely going to feel it.
A fracture can happen if you receive a direct hit on your knee bones.
People with osteoporosis will commonly experience a tibia bone collapse. Another type of fracture can occur from falling and the kneecap (patella) cracks.
When you injure the ligaments holding your knee together. Your lateral collateral ligament (LCL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) prevent the bones of the knee from sliding from side-to-side.
Your posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) cross over in the middle of your knee and they help to keep the knee’s front-to-back movements stabilized.
There are 3 knee sprain “grades”:
- Grade 1: No fibers have been torn but you feel pain from the stretched ligament
- Grade 2: You’ll experience a little bit of instability in the knee, due to partially torn ligaments
- Grade 3: Your knee is completely unstable from fully torn ligament fibers.
Knee joint dislocation
While rare, it happens during extremely violent, high-impact injuries such as a car accident or sports collision. This is a severe injury where any and all parts of the knee, as well as the blood vessels, are damaged. Emergency surgery or treatment is usually needed.
This is often called a hyperextended knee (or hyperflexion). Pain is felt on the outside of the knee joint from stretched muscles or tendons that surround the knee. Your normal range of motion will be affected from a knee strain.
Bursas (sacs filled with fluid) act as shock absorbers between the knee joint tendons and muscles. One of the causes of knee pain is when these sacs become inflamed, irritated or infected.
Osgood-Schlatter disease usually occurs in children or teens who play the “running/jumping/change of direction” sports, such as figure skating, basketball, soccer, football or ballet.
A lump develops underneath the kneecap and is quite painful.
It’s caused when the tendon connecting the kneecap to the shin is overused, gets irritated and leads to the painful lump.
Also called patellofemoral pain syndrome, runner’s knee can happen to anyone who’s active. Anything that requires biking, jumping, walking, knee bending, etc can cause pain from runner’s knee.
While it’s not an actual medical condition, it can happen from overuse, misalignment of the knee bones, fallen arches (flat feet), weak thigh muscles or a direct blow to the knee.
Damage to your tendons, muscles, joints or even the kneecap can happen as a result of “runner’s knee”.
What Can You do for Relief?
Wow! There are many causes of knee pain, aren’t there?
The big question is what can we do about it so you feel relief?
Of course, I advise you to discuss your options with your doctor. However, I do find that the medical profession has a tendency to move things quickly toward surgery as opposed to taking a more holistic approach.
By holistic I mean looking at your life, health and body as a “whole”, rather than thinking of each area as separate. Your body is an amazing machine and has the ability to bring you back into “wholeness” if you allow it to.
If you’ve already tried “everything under the sun” to alleviate your knee pain and want an alternative solution I’m excited to introduce you to a revolutionary way to use cycling.
We’ve seen folks with such limited range of motion that even walking up the stairs seemed impossible, let alone riding a bike! But I encourage you to take a look at a solution I found for my own chronic knee pain called Ortho-Pedals.
Using this solution allowed me to go from 65 degrees flexion/10 degrees extension to 100 degrees flexion/0 degrees of extension.
Read more: Treatments for Neck Pain and Headaches
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