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 — also can cause knee pain.
Knee pain can have different causes. Being overweight puts you at greater risk for knee problems. Overusing your knee can trigger knee problems that cause pain. If you have a history of arthritis, it could also cause knee pain.
Common knee Injuries and Disorders
Some of the most common knee injuries and disorders include:
OSTEOARTHRITIS: This condition occurs when the cartilage that allows your knee to move freely becomes worn. Shortly after the condition develops, you may notice that your knees ache after you've been physically active. Over time, your knees may hurt more often and feel stiff after you get out of bed in the morning or after you've been sitting down for a while. Your knees also may be swollen and make a "crunchy" sound while you walk.
PATELLOFEMORAL PAIN SYNDROME (chondromalacia patella): Also known as "runner's knee," this is a common cause of knee pain. The pain feels like it's coming from behind or under your kneecap, and may feel like it involves your entire kneecap. You may feel pain and stiffness in particular after you've been sitting a long time. The pain may also be worse after you've gone up or down stairs or you've been running.
MENISCAL TEARS: Your menisci are disks of tissue between the thighbone and shinbone in your knee that provide cushioning. These can develop tears from injuries. The pain may be slight or severe, and it may feel worse when you straighten your knee. Your knee may make a clicking sensation or feel like it gets "stuck."
LIGAMENT INJURIES: You have four ligaments — which are strong bands of tissue that hold bones together — on the inside and outside edge of your knees and within the joint. If you over-stretch or tear a ligament, which can occur during accidents or sporting events, you may hear a "pop." Depending on the ligament that's damaged, the injury may or may not cause pain. Another symptom is that your leg may feel wobbly when you try to put weight on it.