Whether you are a teen that plays a sport or a person in their old age, we all encounter knee pain from time to time. Knee pain can occur after an injury, usually due to a torn cartilage or a ruptured ligament. Many medical illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or osteoarthritis can be a reason behind knee pain.
Did you know that vitamin deficiency can also cause knee pains? There is a reason why your parents or grandparents keep telling you to eat fruits and vegetables!
Let’s talk in detail about some of the causes behind knee pain and also the treatments to rectify the pain. Thus, if your knee is hindering you from going around your daily tasks, this article will prove to be fruitful for you!
Causes of Knee Pain in Left or Right Side
Let’s divide the causes into three major categories -Mechanical Problems, Injuries, and Arthritis.
1. Mechanical Problems
We characterize Mechanical problems by referring to the pain which is caused by the immense stress and strain of different muscles of the body. Mostly, this pain, known as mechanical pain, is caused by bad habits. Poor posture while standing as well as sitting, lifting heavy weights or a strenuous amount of weight during leg workouts can cause mechanical pain.
· Loose bone or cartilage
What does this even mean? Hold on, we will explain. Sometimes due to a particular injury to the knee or due to the degenerations of cartilage or bone, a small piece of your cartilage or bone might get ‘loose’ and break off from its masses.
These tiny pieces float into the space of the knee joint. This might not necessarily cause problems unless it interferes with the movement of the joint. If it does, it will cause pain as torturous as a finger between the door hinges.
· Dislocated Knee Cap
Patella is a bone in the shape of a triangle that is located in front of your knee. When this triangular piece of bone slips out of its place, it can cause an intense sort of pain. The patella usually slips outside of the knee and this causes a knee dislocation which hurts just as much if not more like a shoulder dislocation.
· Hip or Foot Pain
Bad posture can cause hip and foot pain which in return causes knee pain. A poor posture adds additional stress and strain on your knee and ankle joints which hurts the knees as well as the ankles.
Injuries, particularly to your legs, can affect the tendons, ligaments, and the fluid-filled sacs called Bursae that reside around your knee joint. It also affects the cartilage, bones, and ligaments that are present at the joint. The following are some of the most common types of knee injuries that can incur pain.
After any sort of collision or fall, the bones of your knee can break depending on the severity of the collision. This is called a fracture. Fractures can also occur in individuals who suffer from a deficiency of calcium and have osteoporosis. These people might get a knee if they step wrong.
· ACL Injury
A tear in one of the four ligaments which connect your shinbone to your thighbone can cause severe pain to itching up your leg. This particular ligament is known as the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) hence the name ACL injury.
People who play sports like basketball, football, or basketball are more susceptible to an ACL injury due to the fact that these sports require sudden changes in direction. Thus, any instant change in the direction of your footing can stretch the ligament beyond its limit and you might feel excruciating pain in your knee.
· Knee Bursitis
Bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs around your knee joint, can sometimes become inflamed after an injury to the knee. The Bursae cushions the exterior of the knee joint so that different ligaments and tendons can easily glide over the joint without any unnecessary friction. The inflammation of the Bursae causes increased friction and pain in the knee.
· Patellar Tendinitis
Patellar Tendinitis is the inflammation and irritation of the several tendons that connect the bones around your knee to the muscles. This type of injury is of the Patella, which is a triangular bone on the outside of your knee. The tendon of the Patella connects the ‘Quadriceps Muscles’ at the front of the thigh to the shinbone. Sportspersons like runners, cyclists, and skiers are more susceptible to get Patellar Tendinitis.
· Torn Meniscus
A meniscus is a rubbery, sturdy, and tough cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between your thighbone and shinbone. It gets ruptured if you twist your knee or ankle while handling heavy-weight objects.
There are more than 100 types of arthritis, each unique from one another. Some of the types adversely affect the knee. These are as follows:
· Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis is the type of arthritis that can affect any joint in your body. It is an autoimmune disease that swells and hurts many smaller joints of your body, including the knee joint. It is a chronic condition that occurs when your immune system; which protects you against different microbes, stops working. Its severity varies.
Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis and it is one of the most common types of arthritis which affects women and men equally. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that surrounds the bones get torn or ruptured. Though this wear-and-tear condition affects every type of joint in the body, it usually affects the joints of knees, ankles, and hands.
· Septic Arthritis
Septic arthritis is also called infectious arthritis. When a joint gets infected with an infectious agent, it results in the inflammation of that joint. This type of inflammation is known as Septic Arthritis.
If your knee is swelled, red, or causing a lot of pain, you need to run to the nearest Hospital emergency room since it can cause exponential damage to the knee cartilage. Thus, it is important that before the infection gets worse, you get it checked by the doctor.
When uric acid crystals start getting accumulated in a specific joint, it causes pain, swelling, and redness in that part of the body. Though it is mostly seen in the toes, it frequently occurs in knee joints as well.
There are certain calcium-containing crystals that get concentrated in the joint fluid. When this occurs, the joint might get stiff, red in color, and tender. One of the most common causes of knee pain is pseudogout.
Some syndromes cause knee pain which is explained below:
· Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome is described as the pain that arises from your patella (kneecap) and femur which is the underlying thighbone. It is most common in young adults; especially athletes due to misalignment of the knee cap. It also occurs in older adults usually as a result of arthritis.
· Iliotibial Band Syndrome
The Iliotibial band which is also called the Maissiat’s band and much easier as the IT band is a fiber, a tough band of tissue, which has its origin at the outside of your hip and ends at the outside of your knee.
This band helps your hip to rotate and function properly. When the IT band gets rigid and tight, it starts to rub on the outside of your knee bone which is called the femur. The friction of the rubbing when you move causes knee pain. Most cyclists and runners experience this type of pain.
Factors That Increase the Chance of Knee Pain in Left or Right Side
There are numerous risk factors that can increase knee complications. Thus, it is better to keep these factors in mind and always work to become a healthy individual. We have singled out the most prevalent factors which are seen in patients with knee pain.
1. Over Weight
When a person is obese or overweight, the stress and strain on the hips, knees, and ankles increases. They might feel exhausted after a short duration of exercise, even when they are only walking. The increased weight on the weight-bearing joints and bones, like the knees and ankles, might breakdown the joint cartilage and this may lead to osteoarthritis.
2. Lack of Agility
Agility is the ability to move quickly and smoothly. If your muscles lose their flexibility and strength over the years or due to some major trauma jo a particular part of your body.
The lack of flexibility can increase the friction between the muscles and the joints and this might increase the chances of a knee injury which further incurs severe knee pain. Strong muscles and bones help you to stabilize your body and protect it against any sort of blunt trauma.
3. Previous Injuries
If you sustain an injury due to some mishap in the past, it is most likely that the knee might hurt and that you might face another injury. Thus, it is dire to get your knee checked after it has experienced a hard blow.
4. Intense Activities
Sports, as well as jobs that require an acute amount of stress on your body, can become a risk factor for knee complications. Sports like basketball, football, and skiing puts repetitive stress on your knee, hip, and ankle joints which can cause the ligaments, cartilage, tendon, and even the joint to snap or lose their flexibility.
Furthermore, jobs in construction or other intensive industries can put a load amount of stress and strain on your bones and joints due to picking up heavy objects or working for long hours.
Treatments For Knee Pain on Left or Right Side
We are not going to leave you feeling panicked and scared after reading the numerous causes and risk factors of knee pain. You do not have to run towards another site to check out the treatments you can get to combat any sort of knee complication that you might have.
We have enlisted some of the best treatments which are available in all healthcare centers across the world to help you alleviate knee pain. Though, you need to keep in mind that the treatment for each type of knee pain is different so you need to go to the doctor and have a consult before implying one of these treatments in your daily life.
To get information about some of the treatments available around the world to eradicate or at least minimize knee pain, continue reading this article!
For the unthreatening knee pains which can be a cause of exhaustion or have another mundane reason, the doctor might prescribe you one or more medications that you have to take for the prescribed time. Medications are also given in case of arthritis.
If the medications alone do not suffice or you have a serious injury to the knee, the doctor might suggest sessions with a physical therapist. The therapist will help you gain back mobility of your legs which will help to lessen the pain. Usually, a physical therapist assigns you a number of exercises under his surveillance to help you strengthen your muscles.
You might think that since you workout and carry out a number of physical activities, you might now need physical therapy. WRONG!
The physical therapist will help you correct your knee alignments and allot a certain set of exercises that might improve your movement patterns. The therapist might even suggest a few good techniques which you can practice during whichever sports you play to protect against any injury.
For patients who suffer from osteoarthritis or gout, a therapist provides you with arch support which will help you to stabiles yourself and shift the pressure from the knee that might cause pain. Moreover, different types of braces are used to help you protect your knee joint and keep it away from harm’s way all the while supporting it.
Sometimes when the injury is too severe and the pain is too intense, the doctor suggests surgery. Though some surgeries are necessary, others might not be.
In these cases, consider the different advantages and disadvantages you might face if you do get surgery. Some of the surgeries for different knee complications include Partial or Total Knee Replacement Surgery or Arthroscopic Surgery (to repair the damaged joint).
Sometimes, the doctor suggests certain injections to help lessen the pain. The medication is released right into the joint to cause instant relief. Some of the injections given for knee pain are Hyaluronic Acid, Corticosteroids, and Platelet-rich plasma.
It is not wise to get the injections yourself and self-medicate. You should go to a doctor and let them decide the course of treatment you need.
Preventions For Knee Pain in Left or Right Side
There are a few ways you can make sure that you do not encounter knee pain or minimize any pain you are certainly suffering from.
- Follow a normal and healthy diet to keep the extra pounds off.
- Play sports with the right equipment to minimize excessive stress to the knees.
- Exercise frequently so your muscles remain strong and flexible.
- Be careful while picking up heavy objects.
- Consult a doctor as soon as our knees start to pain.
- Take part in sports like swimming to minimize pain caused by chronic diseases.
Knee pain can hinder your daily life activities. It is caused due to a number of causes like ACL injuries, excessive weight on weight-bearing joints, Arthritis, or misalignments of the foot. Though, not to worry, due to the advancement in science and technology, various treatments are available to lessen the pain.