Knee Pain and Knee Injuries
The knee joint is one of the largest and most important joints in the body. Together the femur, tibia, fibula and patella carry your weight if you are walking, running or jumping. Certain movements are both stabilised and limited by the ligaments around this joint. Sports injuries to your ligaments, cartilage and tendons are common because your knee supports the full weight of your body. Being overweight can also contribute to knee pain as the excess weight loads extra pressure on to your knee joints.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always consult your GP or other relevant health specialist.
What can cause knee pain?
If you have been more active than usual and feel pain in your knee, this could be the result of a strain. This is where tissues in your knee have stretched but not suffered any permanent damage.
The ACL (Anterior cruciate ligament) injury is common and relatively serious. The ACL stabilises your knee, but can be easily torn as a result of twisting and overstretching the ligament. Once an ACL has ruptured, your knee will become unstable and unable to perform its full range of movement. This is one of the most common injuries while playing sports where sudden changes of direction are needed.
The Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injury can tear as a result of twisting or being hit on the inside of your knee. The LCL is found on the outside of your knee and limits side-to-side movement. An acute injury, such as sudden damage after an accident, may harm the bone, muscle or ligaments.
Between the bones in your knee sit shock-absorbing pads of tissue called menisci. These pads, found on the inside and outside edges of your knee, can become worn with age or torn after sudden movement. Damage to the knee joints (meniscal injury) – can be one of the most common causes of knee pain for middle-aged people.
Pain from swelling can develop over time, frequently through overuse. This can be from athletic activity, physical exercise, develop because of age or from previous knee injuries.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Characteristics include inflammation of tissues around the joints, and damage to the protective surface of the bones that allow joints to move without friction. The condition normally develops in people over the age of 50 and women are more likely to be affected than men.
Tendonitis can be caused by overusing or injuring the tendons that join your patella. This inflammation of the tendon is often sport related and can be triggered by running or jumping activities like basketball, volleyball or netball.
The inflammation of a bursa is known as Bursitis. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that provides a cushion between bones and tendons or muscles around a joint. If inflamed it can swell and become tender through overuse or repetitive movement. People who are likely to be at more risk of developing bursitis of the knee are those who spend a lot of time kneeling, such as gardeners.
This page is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.