Understanding The Knee Joint
The knee is the joint located between the bones of the lower and upper leg. It is this joint that allows your leg to bend while also providing stability to support the weight of the entire body. This is why there is a lot of stress on the knee joint. At the same time, the knee also supports motions like walking, running, jumping, turning, and crouching.
The knee is made up of many parts that help it do its job, including:
All these parts are prone to injury and disease, which can cause knee pain, especially radiating knee pain.
Although the knee is a supportive joint, it is not made for the harsh demands that a person puts on it. The knee was never designed for activities like playing soccer or football or for doing the work of a plumber or carpenter. Of course, there is no way one can anticipate everything that a knee would have to do, and frequent abuse of this joint can cause pain, especially radiating pain.
Pain In Front Of Leg Below Knee
The most common cause of pain in the front of the leg below the knee is due to a condition called patellofemoral pain syndrome . This condition is also sometimes referred to as runners knee. PFPS is a condition that results from the overuse of the knee joint. It is seen most often in people who participate in activities that involve a lot of running or jumping. The pain is usually a result of the inflammation of the patellar tendon, which runs from the kneecap to the shinbone . Treatment for PFPS typically includes rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. In more severe cases, physical therapy or surgery may be necessary.
At some point in life, approximately 25% of people will suffer from pain in the front of their knees. The type of anterior knee pain you experience may depend on your age, level of activity, and sports participation. It is common for pain to be caused by imbalances, movement patterns, and complex issues that take a long time to resolve. Athletes of all ages, particularly those who run, have an increased risk of anterior knee pain. A burning pain around your kneecap can be agonizing for some people, while a sharp stab pain under your kneecap can be agonizing for others. As a result of inflammation of the tissues in the knee, it is more common for the knee to grind. There is no reason to believe that anything discovered on an MRI scan is the source of kneecap pain or runners knee pain.
Causes Of Pain Behind The Knee
There are a number of causes of pain behind the knee, which include:
- your knee joint wearing down as you get older for example, you may have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
- a benign or cancerous growth
You can access a range of treatments on a pay as you go basis, including physiotherapy. Find out more about physiotherapy >
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Lower Leg Pain Caused By Veins And Nerve Issues
1. Blood Clot
When blood thickens in veins, it can develop a clot. This typically happens in the thigh or lower leg, commonly leading to pain from knee to ankle. There is a higher risk if you are overweight, on certain medicines, or inactive for a long car ride or flight.
2. Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are caused by weakness in the vein walls or valves and can lead to a dull ache, particularly after standing.
3. Lower-Extremity Peripheral Arterial Disease
This occurs if your legs arteries get damaged and harden. The legs begin to miss needed blood flow, leading to pain or cramps when walking or climbing stairs.
4. Narrowed Spinal Canal and Sciatica
When the spinal canal narrows due to a herniated disc, arthritis of the spine, or another cause, it can lead to weakness, fatigue, numbness, tingling, or cramping, burning leg pain when you sit or stand. It may start in the hip and the back before extending down the leg.
5. Diabetic Neuropathy
This diabetes complication can be due to high blood sugar levels and leads to pain in both legs. It also features less sensation and numbness in lower legs.
When to See a Doctor
You should see your doctor for pain from knee to ankle if you have the following symptoms:
- Severe pain on injured ankle or shin, particularly when walking
- Severe swelling in lower leg or surrounding muscles and joints
- Altered feelings in foot or shins, like numbness or pins and needles
- Obvious deformity of bones
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
Failed Back Surgery Syndrome also called failed back is a clinical condition in which patients who have undergone low back surgery continue to have pain and dysfunction. Said another way the surgery that was intended to reduce pain and increase function FAILED. That is right, the surgery failed. You had the surgery, struggled with the pain postoperatively, diligently participated in physical therapy and yet the pain and limitation are still there. Unfortunately, this occurs frequently. Estimates range from 20-40% of patients who undergo low back surgery will develop Failed Back Surgery Syndrome. Pain is the most common symptom of Failed Back Surgery Syndrome
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Gradual Onset Medial Knee Pain
Gradual onset or chronic knee pain develops over time. You will probably not be able to pinpoint the exact time your injury occurred. Overuse is a likely cause, resulting in wear and tear or degeneration.
Chronic medial knee pain can also develop following an acute injury which is not treated properly. As a result, it fails to heal properly.
The Link Between Your Back And Knee Pain
Every part of your body has a special and unique function, but each part relies on others for optimal performance.
When your body is functioning well, you feel invincible. When you are falling short due to an injury or illness, its hard to function. The same is true with many interacting body parts. One connection, in particular, is when back pain causes knee pain. Even though the back and knee arent directly connected, there is a very real link that can help explain why when your back hurts, your knees may hurt, too.
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Lateral Tibial Plateau Fracture
The tibial plateau is located at the top of the shin at the knee. A break on the outer or lateral part of the tibial plateau can cause considerable knee pain. A lateral tibial plateau fracture is often the result of a vehicle accident or a bad fall that impacts the outer knee directly.
If the bones are still aligned, surgery may not be required to treat the injury. If not, you may need surgery to place the affected bones in their proper position and secure them with screws or plates.
Causes Of Quadriceps Tendonitis
A majority of quadriceps tendonitis injuries are due to overuse from playing sports such as volleyball, running or soccer. Quick turns, starts, stops, jumping and running contribute to quadriceps tendonitis.
Other factors that contribute to quadriceps tendonitis:
- Excessive frequency, intensity or duration of training
- Inappropriate footwear
- Misalignment of the foot, ankle or leg
Does Back Pain Cause Knee Pain
As one of the most complex joints in the body, the knee allows the entire leg to move, flex, and have a good range of motion. Meanwhile, with its vertebrae and shock-absorbing discs, the back has a myriad of responsibilities it holds you physically together and secures the high-speed conduit for your complex and delicate nervous system.
Together, the knees and the back provide flexibility, motion, and support. However, they also rely on each other to maintain balance and equilibrium. Therefore, when your back hurts, so might your knees.
Leg Pendulum In A Sitting Position
- Sit on a higher chair or table
- Feet hanging freely
- Freely swing your calves back and forth, alternating
Note: Keep your upper body straight.
- 2 sets, 45 seconds each
- 60 seconds rest
Aim: Strengthening the anterior thigh muscles
- Slide the loop around the front leg of the table
- Sit on the table and place your ankle in the loop
- Bend your legs until they form a 90° angle, pointing your toes forwards
- Stretch your leg by the length of a shoe and then straighten it out again
Note: Perform the exercise in a slow and controlled manner.
- 3 sets, 15 reps each
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How Is Nerve Pain In The Knee Related To Sciatica
There is research clarifying that patients with lumbar degenerative disc disease have lower functional outcomes after total knee replacement patients compared to patients without lumbar degeneration given the sensitivity of the lumbar nerve root. When the Lumbar 2-3 or 3-4 disc is degenerated or bulging, these discs can irritate the nerves that radiate pain to the knee, but also send signals back to the brain of knee pain even though the degeneration is coming from the lumbar spine.
Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Osteoarthritis is a common cause of knee pain and usually affects people over fifty years old. It occurs when cartilage which protects the bones degenerates. Symptoms include:
- Knee pain develops gradually over time.
- Initially, this may be a deep, aching pain in the inner knee.
- Pain is worse after exercise.
- You are likely to have stiffness and sometimes swelling in the joint.
- Sometimes clicking or cracking noises are heard when moving your knee.
- More on Osteoarthritis of the knee
Knee Pain Radiating Down Leg
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Knee Pain That Radiates Up And Down Leg
If you have knee pain that radiates up and down your leg, it is important to see a doctor to find out the cause. It could be a sign of a more serious problem, such as a torn ligament or cartilage.
If you know why your knee pain is severe, you can seek treatment. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the knee is one of the most prone joints to injury. A rupture, inflammation, or tendinitis are just a few of the possibilities that cause knee pain. Overworking or overstretching a tendon while exercising can also result in knee injuries. If a blow to the front of the knee strikes the bursae suddenly, it can become infected. It is possible to be injured if people spend a lot of time on their knees without protection. Swelling, warmth, pain, and stiffness can occur as a result of the infection in the knee.
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Why Does It Appear And How To Treat It
Nerve pain in the knee can be very irritating and life-altering during normal activities as well as leisurely pursuits. Nerve pain in the knee can radiate from the lumbar spine, the pelvis, or the small nerves in the knee. It also can begin after surgery from surgical nerve irritation from the incision or can be the type of pain related to knee arthritis. At the Centeno-Schultz Clinic, we are experts in spine, pain management, and non-surgical orthopedics. We perform a thorough physical examination and musculoskeletal ultrasound of your knee to identify the root cause of your pain and how to treat it appropriately.
How Do You Describe Your Pain
I know, its a tough question sometimes, Dr. Burg says. But you probably can tell the difference between a dull, throbbing pain and a sharp, burning sensation.
Thats important. A sharp, burning sensation moreoften indicates an irritated nerve rather than a joint or ligament problem. Onthe other hand, you might describe pain from arthritis as more constant andachy.
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Causes Of Anterior Knee Pain
The most common causes include shortened or weakened thigh muscles, an incompletely formed kneecap groove, a leg axis deviation or even tilting of the kneecap.
In a healthy person, the kneecap sits in the so-called femoral groove like in a guide trough and it is also held in place by ligaments on each side. The muscles actively support the patella in gliding along the centre of the groove. If the kneecap is unstable, it no longer runs exactly in the femoral groove and, in the worst case, it “jumps” out of the guide trough. This is very painful.
Where Is Your Pain
The hunt for the cause of knee pain is like the search for a home:Location matters.
For example, pain below your kneecap might be a sign of patellar tendinitis, or inflammation in the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shinbone, says rheumatologist Scott Burg, DO. Pain above the kneecap often means quadriceps tendinitis.
Pain on the inside or outside of your knee could be a sign of a torn ligament , Dr. Burg says. But it also could indicate a torn or degenerative meniscus, which is the cartilage that lines and cushions your knee joint.
Those are just a couple of causes, not including various types of arthritis. Location is important, but we also ask other questions, Dr. Burg explains.
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Knee Pain: Causes And Treatments
When it comes to knee pain, early intervention can often keep it from worsening. The most common cause of this condition is a combination of age, injury, or repetitive stress. We age and our joint cartilage and ligaments become less flexible, which can result in sprains and strains. Tendonitis and arthritis can also occur in people who are overweight or have poor joint mobility, both of which are common causes. If you are experiencing knee pain that does not appear to be related to an injury, you should consult a doctor to rule out any potential health issues. In some cases, your doctor may be able to determine what caused your pain and advise you on the most appropriate treatment.
How Do You Get Rid Of Nerve Pain In Your Lower Leg
Heat and ice therapy may be used in conjunction to treat sciatic nerve pain for the immediate relief of symptoms. Ice has the ability to slow inflammation, whereas heat has the ability to increase blood flow to the painful area . It is also possible to reduce painful muscle spasms that occur frequently during sciatica.
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Causes Of Hip Pain That Radiates Down The Leg
Our hips and legs can get tired from the way we live, and the more overweight you are, the more likely it is that your joints will hurt. Most of the time, the best way to deal with joint pain is to lose weight, but hip and leg pain isnt always caused by joint issues.
Pain in the hip can come from anywhere in the area, and it travels down the nerves into the lower leg. This can hurt your thigh, your knee, and the area around your feet.
Labral Tear In The Hip
The labrum is a cup-shaped rim of cartilage that lines the ball-and-socket joint and helps keep the shape of your hip. When this ring of cartilage around the hip socket tears or gets damaged, different symptoms are almost certain to happen. Pain in the groin is common, but it can also move across the hip and down each buttock. The discomfort that stems from a labral tear is felt at its worst after exercise or any other vigorous activities. Over time and without treatment, this pain will become more prevalent throughout less strenuous movements, such as resting or sleeping.
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The Anatomy Of Hip Joint
The hip joint consists of a ball and socket joint. The thigh bone is the ball that fits into the hip socket. The hip socket is known as the acetabulum. It is covered with a soft tissue or fibrocartilage called the labrum.
The labrum maintains stability and enhances the surface area of the hip joint by 22%. However, it is susceptible to wear and tear and several injuries, like impingement, congenital malformation , and joint laxity.
Make Sure You Get Treated
While all of us can relate to ankle and knee joint pain, it is not always severe. Understanding when to see a doctor is important.
If you have persistent symptoms and over-the-counter treatment does not provide lasting relief, go see your doctor. They will often refer you to a specialist in treating these types of injuries.
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Hip Knee Ankle Foot Pain
Hip Pain and Causes
Hip pain is very common among all ages and can cause mild to severe discomfort when performing daily activities such as standing, walking, squatting, bending, and climbing stairs. Hip pain can be described as dull, achy, sharp, shooting, or tingling. Muscle strains, tendinitis, or bursitis can occur outside the hip joint and femoral acetabular impingement , labral tears or osteoarthritis can occur inside the hip joint. The hip joint, also referred to as the femoral acetabular joint, is extremely important because it helps connect the upper body to the lower extremities. It is responsible for dissipating loads from the upper body to the lower body, while providing stability, trunk control, and balance. While the hips are designed to support our bodyweight, every hip is different in terms of alignment and orientation. As movement experts, a physical therapist not only treats conditions such as strains, tendinitis, bursitis, and osteoarthritis, but also assesses each patients biomechanics to treat underlying impairments that can cause hip pain.
Common causes of hip pain include:
How can Physical Therapy help?
Knee Pain and Causes
Common knee injuries include:
How can Physical Therapy help?
Foot/Ankle Pain and Causes
How can Physical Therapy help?