Did you know that your knees absorb about one-and-a-half times your body weight every step?
As the largest joint in our body, our knees are essential to the overall health of our bodies. Knees act as a hinge joint and permits flexion and extension. Additionally, the knee allows for slight rotation both internally, and externally. Knees allow us to perform horizontal movements, like running or walking, and vertically, like jumping.
Because of our reliance on knees, and its complexity, they’re often the source of many foot conditions, either directly or indirectly. As the gateway between our thighs and lower legs, all muscles run through, or adjacent to the knee, meaning prevention is absolutely necessary for overall leg health.
If you do experience pain, below are four reasons for why your knee hurts:
Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as runner’s knee, is the most common knee injury. Considering its nickname, it should come as no surprise that many runners and athletes experience patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a relatively broad term for any pain in the front of your knee. In particular, the following activities may trigger pain:
There are a number of causes for patellofemoral pain syndrome including:
Note that causes may also include acute injuries such as trauma or surgery.
Fortunately, treatment for runners knee can, for the most part, be done at home. Following the RICE method which includes rest, icing, compression, and elevation can be effective in keeping inflammation down and allowing your muscles to recover.
You can also try using a knee brace if you feel like your knee is not getting proper support.
In terms of prevention, there are a number of steps you can take:
Patellar tendonitis is a common injury for why your knee hurts that affects the patellar, the ligament that connects your kneecap to the shin bone. The tendon allows the knee to straighten and is crucial in the overall health of your knee.
As with many knee injuries, patellar tendonitis is often seen among runners, and pain can worsen when using stairs, excessive use, and sitting for long periods of time. Approximately 25% of knee injuries are diagnosed as patellar tendinitis.
The following symptoms can be a sign of patellar tendonitis:
Common causes of patellar tendonitis include:
To treat tendonitis:
Like many knee injuries, preventative methods include:
IT Band syndrome (short for Illiotibial band syndrome) is a common knee injury characterized by inflammation and friction of the IT band. The IT band runs along the outside of the tight from the pelvis to the tibia and is crucial as a stabilizer for the knee.
IT band syndrome arises out of overuse as the band crosses back and forth. This injury is particularly prominent in:
Although the IT band extends the entirety of the leg, pain is typically felt most common on the outside of the knee, and around 30 degrees of knee flexion.
IT band syndrome, although one of the most common running injuries, can be treated with physical therapy, as well as RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
Try the following preventative and treatment methods to keep IT band syndrome at bay:
Knees are susceptible to osteoarthritis, a type of joint disease that results from cartilage breakdown between bones. Osteoarthritis is often known as wear-and-tear arthritis since it’s commonly associated with overuse.
You may be at higher risk of osteoarthritis if you fall into any of the following categories:
As osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, the effects will likely worsen over the years. But, that doesn’t mean you cannot delay the onset of pain.
Some common treatment options include:
WebMD has a useful self-assessment tool that can offer a glimpse into why your knee may be hurting. Of course, use the tool only for reference, and do not take it as medical advice.
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