Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages.
Knee pain may be the result of an injury, such as a ruptured ligament or torn cartilage. Medical conditions - including arthritis, gout and infections - can also cause knee pain.
With any pain the most important starting place is obtaining a confirmed diagnosis from an experienced health professional. Any pain of sudden and severe onset must be investigated urgently by your podiatrist, doctor, physiotherapist or suitably qualified health professional.
Anatomy of the knee
The knee is the largest joint in the body and is made up of the upper leg bone (femur) and the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula), which are connected together by ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
The upper and lower bones of the knee are separated by two discs (menisci) and the surface of the bones inside the knee joint is covered by articular cartilage, which absorbs shock and provides a smooth surface for joint movement.
Types of knee pain or injury
A torn meniscus is a common knee injury that occurs due to forceful twisting or rotation of the knee, while it is fully weight bearing.
Each knee has two menisci which are C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act like a cushion between the bones in the knee. A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Conservative treatment is sometimes enough to relieve the pain of a torn meniscus and give the injury time to heal on its own. In other cases, however, a torn meniscus requires surgical repair.
Knee Bursitis - housemaids knee
Knee bursitis is inflammation of a bursa located near your knee joint. A bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that reduces friction and provides cushioning between bones and the tendons and muscles near the joints.
Any of the eleven bursae found around the knee can become inflamed, but knee bursitis most often occurs over the kneecap or on the inner side of the knee below the joint. Knee bursitis causes pain and can limit mobility.
Osgood-Schlatter disease is a common cause of knee pain in 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 generally occurs during periods of fast growth, when bones, muscles, tendons, and other structures are developing rapidly. Physical activity puts additional stress on bones and muscles, therefore children who participate in running and jumping sports are at an increased risk for this condition.
Runner’s Knee – patellofemoral pain syndrome
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is the most common cause of knee pain and is caused by imbalances in the forces controlling the way the knee cap (patella) moves during knee flexion (tensing) and extension (straightening).
Risk factors include overuse, trauma, muscle dysfunction, tight lateral muscles and ITB (iliotibial band), a mobile patellar, and poor thigh muscle (quadriceps) flexibility. Symptoms include pain behind or around the knee cap which increases with running and activities that involve a lot of knee flexion.
Jumper's Knee – patellar tendinopathy
Patellar tendinopathy is an injury to the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. The patellar tendon works with the muscles at the front of your thigh to straighten your knee so you can kick, run and jump.
Patellar tendinopathy is also known as jumper's knee and is common in athletes who participate in jumping sports— such as basketball, netball and volleyball.
Treatment of patellar tendinopathy starts with physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the knee.
Ligament injuries – There are four main ligaments in the knee that can become injured. During injury, a knee ligament may be stretched (sprained), or torn (ruptured). During a rupture either part of the ligament fibres are torn or the complete ligament has torn through its complete thickness.
Knee ligament injuries can cause pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising and reduced movement of your knee and the knee joint may feel unstable.
Treatment of a knee ligament injury can depend on which ligament is injured and to what degree as well as the level of activity or sport you participate in.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. It is a degenerative, “wear-and-tear" type of arthritis that occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, but sometimes may occur in younger people, too.
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bones decreases. This can result in bone rubbing on bone, and produce painful bone spurs.
Formthotics can help relieve the symptoms of knee pain
Formthotics™ can change the distribution and angle of force through the foot and ankle, which can result in a change in the distribution of force through the knee. They can also change the alignment of the foot and ankle, which can result in a change of alignment at the knee.
Formthotics support the structures of the foot to encourage optimal function and even pressure distribution. In doing this they reduce fatigue, increase shock absorption and reduce pain.
The variety of Formthotics options allow your medical professional to select Formthotics best for your feet, footwear and activity. Your Formthotics are then able to be customised specifically for your needs.
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