Pain is broken down into two categories: acute or chronic. If you fall down and hurt your knee or twist your knee, that is called "acute" knee pain. Chronic pain is something that occurs more gradually over time, often getting worse as weeks and months go by.
Unlike acute pain which can be linked to a specific event or time - like when you fall or twist your knee - chronic pain is more like an ache that is not linked to any event. The knee specialist will ask when and how your pain started to learn more about the potential cause of pain.
The Four Most Common Knee Problems
- Knee cap pain - the pain usually become most noticeable when walking up stairs, going down stairs, running or sitting.
- Pain from a torn meniscus - the meniscus is the cartilage that keeps the femur (the thigh bone) and the tibia (the shin bone) from hurting or grinding when they rub against each other. If the meniscus is torn, stretched or out of place, pain may occur when the joint is moved.
- Pain from ligament problems - there are four ligaments in the knee: the anterior cruciate ligament, the posterior cruciate ligament, the medial collateral ligament, and the lateral collateral ligament. When the ACL is torn, it is often because the leg rotates while the foot stays planted on the ground. Often times an ACL tear is accompanied by a loud popping sound from the knee and the support of the knee gives way. A posterior cruciate injury happens when the knee is forced backwards or when it receives a hard impact. A medial collateral ligament injury most commonly occurs when the knee is hit from the outside while a lateral collateral ligament injury occurs when the knee is impacted from the inside.
- Pain from tendon problems - inflamed tendons that connect the knee cap to the shin bone can cause pain.
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