What Causes Knee Pain?
Knee pain is amongst the most common complaints in the UK, affecting a wide variety of people at all stages of life. In children, the cause is often growth pains such as Osgood-Schlatter disease which can last throughout adolescence and teenage years, caused by rapid growth that puts stress on the knee. In adulthood, chronic knee pain is commonly caused by exercise and stress injuries. It is natural to experience more frequent injuries as time goes on, as stress fractures and strains occur over time due to impactful activities. As a result, it is important to protect the knee with appropriate supports and correct positioning. To reduce the risk of worsening an injury, knee pain support and treatment should be an ongoing effort, rather than simple pain relief.
There are various causes of knee pain and it can be due to a combination of factors. What causes knee pain is often the wear and tear that occurs with age and general usage. Softening of the cartilage beneath the kneecap (patella) results in small areas of breakdown and pain around the knee. Instead of gliding smoothly over the knee, the kneecap rubs against the thigh bone (femur) when the knee moves. These changes can range from mild to complete erosion of the cartilage, causing extreme pain.
Another very common cause of chronic knee pain is fallen arches in the feet. What causes knee pain here is when the knee forms the link between the upper and lower leg and is a hinge joint designed to flex and extend the lower leg, not to rotate it. When the foot rolls inwards, the lower leg is forced to rotate, inevitably leading to wear and tear of the knee joint, causing long-term damage and pain.
Of course, one-off injuries can also be what causes knee pain, but you are more likely to experience the following if you already suffer from long-term chronic knee pain:
- ACL Injury (ligament tear)
- Torn Muscles
- Patellar Tendinitis