Knee Pain In Teenagers & Adults: Facts & Remedies; Knee pain is a common problem that can originate in any of the bony structures compromising the knee joint (femur, tibia, fibula), the kneecap (patella), or the ligaments and cartilage (meniscus) of the knee. Knee pain can be aggravated by exercise, affected by the surrounding muscles and their movements, and be triggered by other problems (such as a foot injury). Knee pain can affect people of all ages, and home remedies can be helpful unless it becomes severe.
Knee Pain In Teenagers (Osgood-Schlatter Disease)
Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common cause of knee pain in teenagers and growing adolescents. It is an inflammation of the area just below the knee where the tendon from the kneecap (patellar tendon) attaches to the shinbone (tibia).
Osgood-Schlatter disease most often occurs during growth spurts, when bones, muscles, tendons, and other structures are changing rapidly. Because physical activity puts additional stress on bones and muscles, children who participate in athletics — especially running and jumping sports – are at an increased risk for this condition. However, less active adolescents may also experience this problem.
In most cases of Osgood-Schlatter disease, simple measures like rest, over-the-counter medication, and stretching and strengthening exercises will relieve pain and allow a return to daily activities.
Knee Pain In Teenagers; What Are The Symptoms?
i. Gradual increase in pain intensity
ii. Difficulty bearing weight on leg
iii. Popping sounds in knee during flexion
iv. Pain during flexion
Causes Of Knee Pain In Teenagers
To determine the cause of the knee pain in teenagers, your child’s doctor will likely request an X-ray, while also testing the knee’s flexibility, strength and range of motion.
Remedies Of Knee Pain In Teenagers
To relieve swelling and pain, apply ice to the tender area and give your child NSAIDs (examples include Ibuprofen and Alleve- on prescription basis). Have your child refrain from activities that contribute to the pain. If your child is obese, the doctor may recommend losing weight as a means of reducing knee pressure. Braces, orthotics and a knee sleeve may also ease the pain.
Once the pain and swelling are under control, adhere to an exercise program prescribed by your child’s doctor to normalize the thigh muscle and build hamstring flexibility and strength. Have your child return to sports and other recreational activities gradually.
To prevent the recurrence of knee pain, make sure your child wears shoes, follows a stretching regimen, especially after play or workouts, and refrains from activities that exacerbate knee pain.
Causes of Knee Pain
- Anterior cruciate ligament
- ACL injury
- Torn meniscus
- Torn meniscus
- Knee pain can be caused by injuries, mechanical problems, types of arthritis and other problems.
A knee injury can affect any of the ligaments, tendons or fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that surround your knee joint as well as the bones, cartilage and ligaments that form the joint itself. Some of the more common knee injuries include:
. ACL injury. An ACL injury is the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — one of four ligaments that connect your shinbone to your thighbone. An ACL injury is particularly common in people who play basketball, soccer or other sports that require sudden changes in direction.
.Fractures. The bones of the knee, including the kneecap (patella), can be broken during motor vehicle collisions or falls. People whose bones have been weakened by osteoporosis can sometimes sustain a knee fracture simply by stepping wrong.
.Torn meniscus. The meniscus is formed of tough, rubbery cartilage and acts as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone. It can be torn if you suddenly twist your knee while bearing weight on it.
.Knee bursitis. Some knee injuries cause inflammation in the bursae, the small sacs of fluid that cushion the outside of your knee joint so that tendons and ligaments glide smoothly over the joint.
.Patellar tendinitis. Tendinitis is irritation and inflammation of one or more tendons — the thick, fibrous tissues that attach muscles to bones. Runners, skiers, cyclists, and those involved in jumping sports and activities are prone to develop inflammation in the patellar tendon, which connects the quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh to the shinbone.
.Osteoarthritis. (degenerative joint disease) may cause knee pain that is worse in the morning and improves during the day. It often develops at the site of a previous injury. Other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus, also can cause knee pain, swelling, and stiffness.
.Osgood-Schlatter disease. causes pain, swelling, and tenderness in the front of the knee below the kneecap. It is especially common in boys ages 11 to 15.
.A popliteal (or Baker’s) cyst. causes swelling in the back of the knee.
Infection in the skin (cellulitis), joint (infectious arthritis), bone (osteomyelitis), or bursa (septic bursitis) can cause pain and decreased knee movement.
Some examples of mechanical problems that can cause knee pain include:
.Loose body. Sometimes injury or degeneration of bone or cartilage can cause a piece of bone or cartilage to break off and float in the joint space. This may not create any problems unless the loose body interferes with knee joint movement, in which case the effect is something like a pencil caught in a door hinge.
.Iliotibial band syndrome. This occurs when the tough band of tissue that extends from the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee (iliotibial band) becomes so tight that it rubs against the outer portion of your femur. Distance runners are especially susceptible to iliotibial band syndrome.
.Dislocated kneecap. This occurs when the triangular bone (patella) that covers the front of your knee slips out of place, usually to the outside of your knee. In some cases, the kneecap may stay displaced and you’ll be able to see the dislocation.
.Hip or foot pain. If you have hip or foot pain, you may change the way you walk to spare these painful joints. But this altered gait can place more stress on your knee joint. In some cases, problems in the hip or foot can refer pain to the knee.
Signs of knee pain
The location and severity of knee pain may vary, depending on the cause of the problem. Signs and symptoms that sometimes accompany knee pain include:
. Swelling and stiffness
. Redness and warmth to the touch
. Weakness or instability
. Popping or crunching noises
. Inability to fully straighten the knee
. When to see a doctor
Call your doctor if you:
. Can’t bear weight on your knee
. Have marked knee swelling
. Are unable to fully extend or flex your knee
. See an obvious deformity in your leg or knee
. Have a fever, in addition to redness, pain and swelling in your knee
. Feel as if your knee is unstable or your knee “gives out”
Structure of the Knee
The knee joint’s main function is to bend and straighten for moving the body. The knee is more than just a simple hinge. It also twists and rotates. In order to perform all of these actions and to support the entire body while doing so, the knee relies on a number of structures, including bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage.
The knee joint involves three bones.
The thighbone or femur comprises the top portion of the joint.
One of the bones in the lower leg (calf area), the tibia, provides the bottom portion of the joint.
The kneecap or patella rides along the front of the femur.
The remaining bone in the calf, the fibula is not directly involved in the knee joint but is close to the outer portion of the joint (sometimes this bone is included in the knee joint and therefore the joint will be described as involving four bones).
Ligaments are fibrous bands that connect bones to each other.
The knee includes four important ligaments, all four of which connect the femur to the tibia:
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) provide front and back (anterior and posterior) and rotational stability to the knee.
The medial collateral ligament (MCL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) located along the inner (medial) and outer (lateral) sides of the knee provide medial and lateral stability to the knee.
Tendons are fibrous bands similar to ligaments.
Instead of connecting bones to other bones as ligaments do, tendons connect muscles to bones.
The two important tendons in the knee are (1) the quadriceps tendon connecting the quadriceps muscle, which lies on the front of the thigh, to the patella and (2) the patellar tendon connecting the patella to the tibia (technically this is a ligament because it connects two bones).
The quadriceps and patellar tendons, as well as the patella itself, are sometimes called the extensor mechanism, and together with the quadriceps muscle, they facilitate leg extension (straightening).
Cartilaginous structures called menisci (one is a meniscus) line the top of the tibia and lie between the tibia and the two knuckles at the bottom of the femur (the femoral condyles).
Menisci provide both space and cushion for the knee joint.
Bursae (singular is bursa) are fluid-filled sacs that help to cushion the knee. The knee contains three important groups of bursae.
The prepatellar bursa lies in front of the patella.
The anserine bursa is located on the inner side of the knee about 2 inches below the joint.
The infrapatellar bursa is located underneath the patella.
Prevention Of Knee Pain
Although it’s not always possible to prevent knee pain, the following suggestions may help forestall injuries and joint deterioration:
. Keep extra pounds off. Maintain a healthy weight; it’s one of the best things you can do for your knees. Every extra pound puts additional strain on your joints, increasing the risk of injuries and osteoarthritis.
. Be in shape to play your sport. To prepare your muscles for the demands of sports participation, take time for conditioning. Work with a coach or trainer to ensure that your technique and movement are the best they can be.
. Practice perfectly. Make sure the technique and movement patterns you use in your sports or activity are the best they can be. Lessons from a professional can be very helpful.
. Get strong, stay flexible. Because weak muscles are a leading cause of knee injuries, you’ll benefit from building up your quadriceps and hamstrings, which support your knees. Balance and stability training helps the muscles around your knees work together more effectively. And because tight muscles also can contribute to injury, stretching is important. Try to include flexibility exercises in your workouts.
. Be smart about exercise. If you have osteoarthritis, chronic knee pain or recurring injuries, you may need to change the way you exercise. Consider switching to swimming, water aerobics or other low-impact activities — at least for a few days a week. Sometimes simply limiting high-impact activities will provide relief.
Natural Remedies For Relief Of Knee Pain
Over-the-counter pain medications can frequently alleviate the pain. If someone is taking these medications on a regular basis, he or she should see a health-care professional to evaluate the knee pain for proper diagnosis and to avoid the potential side effects of chronic medication use.
The RICE mnemonic is often helpful, especially for minor injuries:
Rest: Rest the joint, and take a break from your usual activities involving the knee joint.
Ice: Applying ice can help with pain and inflammation.
Compress: A compression bandage can help prevent swelling and help knee alignment. It should not be tight and should be removed at night.
Elevate: Elevation can help with swelling and resting of the knee.
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