Knee problems can be as a result of the aging process, continual wear and stress on the knee joint or injury. Common knee problems include:
Sprained or strained knee ligaments and/or muscles
Usually caused by a blow to the knee or a sudden twist of the knee. Symptoms often include pain, swelling and difficulty in walking.
Trauma to the knee can tear the menisci (pads of connective tissue that act as shock absorbers and also enhance stability). Cartilage tears can often occur with sprains. Treatment may involve wearing a brace during an activity to protect the knee from further injury. Surgery may be needed to repair the tear.
Inflammation of the tendons may result from overuse of a tendon during certain activities such as running, jumping or cycling. Tendonitis of the patellar tendon is called jumper's knee. This often occurs with sports such as basketball, where the force of hitting the ground after a jump strains the tendon.
Osteoarthritis, the most common type that affects the knee, is a degenerative process where the cartilage in the joint gradually wears away, and often affects middle-age and older people. Osteoarthritis may be caused by excess stress on the joint such as repeated injury or being overweight. Rheumatoid arthritis can also affect the knees by causing the joint to become inflamed and by destroying the knee cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis often affects persons at an earlier age than osteoarthritis.
Treatment for knee problems
Specific treatment for knee problems will be determined by your doctor based on:
- Age, overall health and medical history
- Extent of the disease, injury or condition
- Tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease, injury or condition
- Opinion or preference
Knees or hips causing you pain?
Do you suffer from knee or hip pain but have not reached out to an orthopedic specialist yet? If so, you're encouraged to use Gundersen Health System's new Knee and Hip Pain Self-Care App. This free six-week program is designed to help people manage and improve their joint pain symptoms on their own.
Start Your Self-Care Plan