Knee pain involves the joints, bones, muscles, ligaments (connect the bones together), or tendons (connect muscle to the bone) in the knee, thigh, and lower leg. Pain results from stress, injury, or disease, such as wear and tear due to aging, overuse, or repetitive motions during sports or physical activity.
In addition to pain, symptoms of knee injury include stiffness, numbness, tingling, swelling, or inability to flex the knee or stand. Hip and foot injuries can also cause knee pain. Common causes of knee pain or injury include:
- Bursitis: painful inflammation in the knee caused by pressure or injury
- Cartilage injuries: damage to the tissue that covers the surface of the bone
- Cysts: sacs filled with air, fluid, or other substances (most are noncancerous, but they can be cancerous)
- Fractures or dislocation: such as patellar (knee cap) injuries
- Knee ligament injuries: such as ACL tears, MCL sprains, or LCL sprains
- Infections: can occur in the bones or joints
- Meniscus tear: damage to the shock-absorbing cartilage in the knee
- Nerve compression, damage, or impingement: compression of the bony or soft tissue structures of the knee
- Osteoarthritis: degenerative wear and tear of the joint
- Patellar tendonitis: inflammation of the tendon in the knee cap
- Rheumatoid arthritis: a chronic (ongoing) inflammatory joint disorder
- Tendonitis: inflammation due to strained or ruptured tendons
- Tumors: abnormal tissue growth or swelling (can be cancerous or noncancerous)
If you’re having trouble moving or walking caused by knee pain, call an orthopaedic specialist at University of Miami Health System. We offer appointments as soon as possible — often the same day or within 24 hours.
Most knee pain and injuries resolve with home treatments, including rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE method).
Your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication or recommend an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen, to reduce swelling and pain.
Your doctor may recommend you undergo electrical stimulation therapy to help get relief from your injury.
You may need to work with a physical therapist to regain strength and use following an injury.
If your knee condition has not been responsive to other treatment options, you may need surgery, such as or partial or total knee replacement.
Your doctor will conduct a thorough exam and review your health history to diagnose a knee injury.
Your doctor may order an imaging test such as an X-ray, a computerized tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to confirm a diagnosis.
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