Common causes of knee pain
Knee pain is a very common complaint; whether you are involved in running, cycling, high intensity training or weight lifting, your knees are likely to be getting a lot of stress during each training session as they absorb the force going through your body.
Knee pain often seems to come out of nowhere, slowly creeping up and turning from a niggle you only notice during activity, to a constant uncomfortable feeling and eventually pain that stops you from doing your favourite sport.
The knee is a stable joint which transfers any load going through the leg, and it is the half point between two mobile joints, the ankle and the hip. A lot of knee problems are caused by compensatory patterns for loss of mobility or strength around the hip or ankle joints, forcing the knee muscles and tendons to overwork and become inflamed.
At times the joint itself and the ligaments surrounding it can also get damaged, but this is generally a consequence of accidents in contact or extreme sports like rugby and skiing.
If you started noticing some knee discomfort, the most important thing is to NOT ignore the pain. Do not try to be a hero, take a day rest, ice and spend some time looking after your body with mild stretches and some foam rolling. If the niggle is always present when training, book an assessment to identify what’s going on before it’s too late and you are forced to stop completely!
Some of the common injuries we see are:
Patellar/Quadriceps Tendinopathies: this is a pain which comes on gradually behind and around your knee cap. It starts with a niggle when you exercise and gradually gets worse. At first it eases with rest, but if ignored it can turn into a chronic problem creating stiffness and pain both at rest and during activities. It is often due to a sudden increase in activity and mechanical issues and aggravated by running, jumping and dynamic movements – therefore often known as Jumper’s knee. This type of pain does not respond to complete rest so don’t just wait around! You will need a proper diagnosis and rehab plan to return to activity.
ITB Syndrome: also known as Runner’s knee, this is another mechanical issue, caused by weakness of your glutes and leading to faulty movements at the knee. You will likely be experiencing pain on the lateral and inferior sides of your kneecap which can move to the upper portion of your shin too. Causes and behaviour are similar to tendinopathies and to fully recover you will need a targeted rehabilitation plan with gradual loading as rest won’t help in the long run.
Ligament and meniscal tears: generally caused by sudden accidents where the knee twists or by direct blows. These are structural injuries which need immediate attending to as your knee may need to be immobilised to prevent further damage. They are often accompanied by a ‘pop’ sound, immediate swelling, and your range of motion will be affected. It is important to get an early diagnosis to minimise your recovery time and avoid complications.
Whats that clicking?
Probably the most common question in clinic. “My knees always click, is that bad?” Thankfully, most noises that our joints make are completely normal and as long as you have no pain or discomfort associated with these sounds, you shouldn’t be concerned. The most common reasons of why our joints ‘click’ are a release of air bubbles from within the joint or tight tendons sliding over bones.
At times wear and tear in the joint can be felt as a ‘grinding’ sensation and meniscus damage can also produce ‘click’s’ during deep squats and when twisting your knee so if you are concerned, speak to your physiotherapist.
Are you currently experiencing any niggles or carrying an old injury which is preventing you from enjoying your training? Remember to check out our MOT package (Click the link below) and start 2018 healthy and strong!