From a medical standpoint, a person’s knee is a complex joint that involves a lot of moving parts. As a result, this increases the likelihood of your knee getting injured. Everyday activities and movement can promote symptoms of fatigue and knee pain in older people. If you have not encountered a sudden knee pain before, it might be extremely difficult to know what to do when you actually feel the knee pain.
It is worth mentioning that some causes of sudden knee pain are health emergencies and they require assistance from a pain specialist. However, there are also other knee conditions that can be treated at home. This article will show you the major causes of sudden knee pain. It will assist you in spotting the differences and knowing what to do next.
Normally, when people experience sudden knee pain, they relate it to an injury. But you need to understand that your knee is a tricky part of the body. It involves a number of parts that can be worn, stretched, torn, ruptured or aggravated. A hard fall is the only thing your knee needs to become injured.
A fracture is the most common cause of sudden knee pain. There are two main types of fractures such as a tibial plateau fracture and a distal femoral fracture. The first type of fracture involves the kneecap and shinbone. It normally leads to sharp pain, swelling and inability to move your joint.
The latter mentioned type of fracture deals with the lower kneecap and thigh. It normally causes the same symptoms as a tibial plateau fracture. Intense pain and swelling can be also caused by a broken kneecap. Simple falls and traumatic fractures can cause fractures that involve the aforementioned bones.
As far as you know, tendons connect the joints to your bones. Running and walking normally cause the tendons to become swollen and inflamed. This condition is known as tendinitis. According to pain specialists, tendinitis of the knee is a common health condition. Some symptoms of tendinitis of the knee are swelling, a dual ache and tightness. Because of tendinitis, you will not be able to move the affected joint until after you rest.
3. Runner’s knee
If you experience the knee pain that starts around and behind your kneecap you might be having runner’s knee. This is a common condition among people who are regularly involved in active sports. Additionally, adults are more prone to getting exposed to the runner’s knee. Some symptoms of this condition include a dull throbbing behind your kneecap. Because of the runner’s knee your knee might pop and grind.
4. Torn ligament
Anterior cruciate ligament and the medial collateral ligament are the most commonly injured ligaments in a person’s knee. Apart from that, you can also tear the PCL, LCL and MPFL ligaments in your knee. It is common for professional athletes to tear the aforementioned ligaments.
In some cases, you will be able to detect the moment when the tear happened. Although, the cause of the injury is less traumatic. For instance, the ACL ligament can be torn as a result of a hit to the knee at a bad angle. If you tear these ligaments of your knee you will hear a popping sound followed by swelling. Along with swelling, you will also experience severe knee pain. The only way you will be able to move your joint is by using assistance from a brace.
Sudden knee pain can signal the development of osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis. Pain management doctors claim that athletes, old people and construction workers are at a higher risk of encountering this condition.
If you feel tenderness and inflammation of the knee, it might be the case that OA is starting to develop. Generally, people with OA experience a gradual increase in levels of knee pain. In the early stages, OA can affect only one knee but it is more likely that it would affect both knees later on.
Fluid-filled sacs between your joints are called the bursae. They can become inflamed around your knees, which causes bursitis. Bleeding your bursae and repeatedly bending your knee can lead to the sudden development of the symptoms of bursitis. Bursitis of the knee is not a common condition but it can still occur. Swelling in one or both knees and acute pain are considered the most common symptoms of bursitis.
7. Injured meniscus
In simple terms, menisci are pieces of cartilage in your knee. Your torn or injured meniscus can occur if you twist your knee forcibly. When your meniscus gets injured you will hear a popping sound followed by severe pain as well as swelling. Because of the injured meniscus, you will feel you’re being locked in place. This condition typically affects one knee at a time.
Gout can be caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body. This acid is believed to collect in your feet and it can affect both knees. Pain specialists add that postmenopausal women and middle-aged men are at a higher risk of encountering this knee condition.
Because of the gout, you will feel a sharp pain and a lot of swelling. This problem can last for a few days. If you have never experienced knee pain before and it comes on suddenly, it might be the start of gout.
9. Infectious arthritis
Infectious arthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs because of the infected fluid surrounding your joint. This fluid can become septic if you leave it untreated. Normally, septic arthritis requires emergency surgery and is considered a medical emergency.
Because of the infectious arthritis, you will experience a sudden pain in one of your knees. If you have already experienced arthritis, a weakened immune system or gout, you are running a higher risk for infectious arthritis.
Just like with any other health condition, treatment of knee pain depends on the cause. Generally, fractured or broken bones require an assessment of a pain management doctor. In order to stabilize the knee during the healing process, a cast or a splint might be needed. Severe fractures require surgery along with a splint and physical therapy.
In order to treat tendonitis, gout, bursitis or runner’s knee, your healthcare provider will advise you to start with resting the joint. Swelling can be controlled by applying ice. Healing is stimulated by elevating and staying off your joint. Apart from that, your doctor may prescribe you NSAIDs like ibuprofen. You can also manage pain by making use of physical therapy. Treatment of gout requires modifications to the diet.
Ligament, cartilage and joint tears in your knees need to be treated by your pain specialist. Before the treatment, your doctor will perform imaging diagnostics and a clinical assessment. The results of these assessments will determine whether your treatment will include anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy or surgery.
You have to keep in mind that the recovery process from knee surgery can take some time. In general, it takes between 6 months to one year to get back to your normal activities. Do not attempt to treat your knee pain without a preliminary assessment of a pain specialist. Furthermore, do not ignore the symptoms of knee injury as the earlier you start treatment, the earlier you will resume your regular activities.