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Knee Pain

Knee Pain

We are all susceptible to knee injuries regardless of fitness levels or the activities we undertake, from professional footballers to snowboarders to those who simply enjoying a walk to shops to buy their daily newspaper. The root cause of these injuries can be as a result of trauma (a slip, trip or fall), overuse (pushing yourself too much) or because of a degenerative condition which can progressively deteriorate in time without the appropriate treatment.

Regardless of the injury you sustain it is important you identify the root cause of the problem so that the correct treatment can be initiated. If you suffer a mild sprain then continuing with an activity could lead to a more serious injury, whilst failure to diagnose and manage degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis could lead to surgery sooner than otherwise necessary.

On visiting a doctor or clinician you will be asked to describe the type of pain you are experiencing, the symptoms, the impact it has on your mobility and most importantly…the source of the pain. By determining the location of the pain a doctor or clinician will be able to quickly narrow down the possible causes, though may still need to refer you for an x-ray or MRI to identify the specific cause.

Superior (top) view of the right knee

You will see from the below section that whilst some conditions are prevalent in all sides of the knee, some are specific to a region.

Anterior (Front) Knee Pain

The anterior part of your knee is the front part, where your knee cap (or patella) is located. Injuries here can be associated with the patella itself whereby issues with movement can result in pain and discomfort, or with the ligament sitting at the front of the knee which is largely responsible for stabilisation of the joint.

Patello-femoral (runner's knee) syndrome

This is a condition which typically affects long distance runners, prevalent amongst those who run a lot downhill as it causes undue pressure on a misaligned patella. You will typically experience pain when active, with the source of this pain located around the knee cap itself. Suggested treatment is physiotherapy to help strengthen the surrounding muscles so that the patella can become realigned and minimise pressure on the joint when active.

For more information visit our runners knee section.

Patellar tendinopathy (jumper's knee)

The kneecap (patella) is connected to the shin bone via the patella tendon. It is part of the mechanism which straightens the leg and is often seen with people who carry out repetitive jumping actions. In fact patella tendonitis is sometimes referred to as ‘jumper’s knee’. The tendon becomes damaged and inflamed causing pain, especially when jumping or kneeling. A crunching sensation may occur with movement of the joint.

For more information visit our patella tendonitis section.

Infrapatella fat pad impingement

This condition is typically seen in weightlifters but can also surface following a bad fall or slip. The root cause of the condition is where there is an over extension of the leg i.e. bending it back further than should be possible. It is this motion which impacts on the fat pad sitting below the kneecap and the source of the pain experienced.

For more information visit out Infrapatella fat pad impingement section.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury

The ACL is located at the front of the knee and is the main ligament responsible for stability, allowing you to walk, run and jump. It is this ligament which prevents your knee from moving forward beyond the Tibia and Fibula. Statistics show that 40% of ACL injuries occur as a result of extreme sports injuries, though it is something we see on the football pitch with many high profile Premier League stars having suffered from ligament damage.

Any damage to the ACL will compromise mobility, with treatment dictated by the severity of the condition.

Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament

For more information visit our ACL section.

Knee osteoarthritis

Regularly occurring knee pain in older people is often caused by osteoarthritis which damages the surface of the knee bone, called the articular cartilage. The tissues around the knee joints may also swell.

Osteoarthritis may also cause a cyst at the back of the knee known as a Baker’s cyst. This is a swelling which fills with fluid and can be painful.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in Britain today. It usually affects older people but younger people who are overweight or who have injured themselves seriously in the past can also be affected. Always see your GP if you suspect osteoarthritis as the cause of your knee pain.

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

For more information visit our Osteoarthritis section.

Lateral (Outer) Knee Pain

The outside of the knee joint is referred to clinically as the lateral side, with some of the conditions experienced here differing from the anterior section of the knee.

Ilio-tibial band (ITB) friction syndrome

The iliotibial band is designed to help straighten your knee, with this thick band of tissue running from your buttocks to your shin bone. Injuries to the ITB typically occur in long distance runners where there is friction, resulting in pain associated with the outside of the knee joint.

For more information visit our ilio-tibial band (ITB) friction syndrome section.

Meniscal injury

The menisci are pads of tissue which protect the knee joint. They can become worn as you age which can cause pain or they can tear if you happen to twist your knee suddenly. This can lead to sharp pain, swelling and sometimes even locking of the knee. This type of injury will usually get better with time but occasionally an operation may be necessary to repair the tear.

For more information visit our Meniscus Injury section.

Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injury

The LCL is located on the outside of the knee and is responsible for preventing your knee moving outwards beyond its normal range of motion. Injuries to this ligament vary in their severity, graded one to three and can happen as a result of a fall or when involved in contact sports. Rugby is an example of where LCL injuries may occur with the knee potentially exposed to additional force when tackled, pushing the knee joint outwards.

Torn Lateral Collateral Ligament

For more information visit our LCL section.

Knee osteoarthritis

Regularly occurring knee pain in older people is often caused by osteoarthritis which damages the surface of the knee bone, called the articular cartilage. The tissues around the knee joints may also swell.

Osteoarthritis may also cause a cyst at the back of the knee known as a Baker’s cyst. This is a swelling which fills with fluid and can be painful.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in Britain today. It usually affects older people but younger people who are overweight or who have injured themselves seriously in the past can also be affected. Always see your GP if you suspect osteoarthritis as the cause of your knee pain.

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

For more information visit our Osteoarthritis section.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury

The ACL is located at the front of the knee and is the main ligament responsible for stability, allowing you to walk, run and jump. It is this ligament which prevents your knee from moving forward beyond the Tibia and Fibula. Statistics show that 40% of ACL injuries occur as a result of extreme sports injuries, though it is something we see on the football pitch with many high profile Premier League stars having suffered from ligament damage.

Any damage to the ACL will compromise mobility, with treatment dictated by the severity of the condition.

Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament

For more information visit our ACL section.

Medial (Inside) Knee Pain

Injuries to the medial (or inside) of the knee joint are less common than those seen within the anterior and lateral sides of the knee, though they can happen and it is worth understanding wat the root cause could be.

Meniscal injury

The menisci are pads of tissue which protect the knee joint. They can become worn as you age which can cause pain or they can tear if you happen to twist your knee suddenly. This can lead to sharp pain, swelling and sometimes even locking of the knee. This type of injury will usually get better with time but occasionally an operation may be necessary to repair the tear.

For more information visit our Meniscus Injury section.

Patello-femoral (runner's knee) syndrome

The iliotibial band is designed to help straighten your knee, with this thick band of tissue running from your buttocks to your shin bone. Injuries to the ITB typically occur in long distance runners where there is friction, resulting in pain associated with the outside of the knee joint.

For more information visit our ilio-tibial band (ITB) friction syndrome section.

Knee osteoarthritis

Regularly occurring knee pain in older people is often caused by osteoarthritis which damages the surface of the knee bone, called the articular cartilage. The tissues around the knee joints may also swell.

Osteoarthritis may also cause a cyst at the back of the knee known as a Baker’s cyst. This is a swelling which fills with fluid and can be painful.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in Britain today. It usually affects older people but younger people who are overweight or who have injured themselves seriously in the past can also be affected. Always see your GP if you suspect osteoarthritis as the cause of your knee pain.

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

For more information visit our Osteoarthritis section.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury

The ACL is located at the front of the knee and is the main ligament responsible for stability, allowing you to walk, run and jump. It is this ligament which prevents your knee from moving forward beyond the Tibia and Fibula. Statistics show that 40% of ACL injuries occur as a result of extreme sports injuries, though it is something we see on the football pitch with many high profile Premier League stars having suffered from ligament damage.

Any damage to the ACL will compromise mobility, with treatment dictated by the severity of the condition.

Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament

For more information visit our ACL section.

Medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury

The MCL is located on the inside of the leg and prevents the knee from moving inwards beyond its normal range of motion. Damage to the MCL can vary in its severity but the root cause is typically associated with sport or where you have twisted your knee following a fall.

Torn Medial Collateral Ligament

For more information visit our MCL section.

Posterior (Back) Knee Pain

The posterior section of the knee is the clinical reference to the back of the knee. Injuries to this area can be difficult to diagnose as it can be difficult to obtain a clear scan due to the muscles and tissue which cover the area, making it difficult to diagnose a PCL injury for instance. Sometimes problems associated with the back of the knee are also seen as lower back problems rather than knee problems, further complicating the diagnosis process.

Patellar tendinopathy (jumper's knee)

The kneecap (patella) is connected to the shin bone via the patella tendon. It is part of the mechanism which straightens the leg and is often seen with people who carry out repetitive jumping actions. In fact patella tendonitis is sometimes referred to as ‘jumper’s knee’. The tendon becomes damaged and inflamed causing pain, especially when jumping or kneeling. A crunching sensation may occur with movement of the joint.

For more information visit our patella tendonitis section.

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury

The ACL is located at the front of the knee and is the main ligament responsible for stability, allowing you to walk, run and jump. It is this ligament which prevents your knee from moving forward beyond the Tibia and Fibula. Statistics show that 40% of ACL injuries occur as a result of extreme sports injuries, though it is something we see on the football pitch with many high profile Premier League stars having suffered from ligament damage.

Any damage to the ACL will compromise mobility, with treatment dictated by the severity of the condition.

Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament

For more information visit our ACL section.

Knee osteoarthritis

Regularly occurring knee pain in older people is often caused by osteoarthritis which damages the surface of the knee bone, called the articular cartilage. The tissues around the knee joints may also swell.

Osteoarthritis may also cause a cyst at the back of the knee known as a Baker’s cyst. This is a swelling which fills with fluid and can be painful.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis in Britain today. It usually affects older people but younger people who are overweight or who have injured themselves seriously in the past can also be affected. Always see your GP if you suspect osteoarthritis as the cause of your knee pain.

Osteoarthritis of the Knee

For more information visit our Osteoarthritis section.

Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury

Damage to the PCL is one of the least common knee ligaments to injure, coupled with the fact that it can be difficult to diagnose given its location behind muscles so can sometimes go unnoticed or be attributed to other problems. Due to its location it can prove to be a tricky operation were a rupture has taken place which is why conservative treatment options have progressed in recent years to avoid the need for surgery.

Following the initial injury there are few obvious symptoms which would categorise it as a PCL injury and hence why an MRI scan is normally the only clear way to diagnose the extent of the injury.

Torn Posterior Cruciate Ligament

For more information visit our PCL section.

Oxford Knee Score Evaluation Test

The Oxford Knee Score assessment can help you understand the level of pain you are experiencing. You will be asked 12 questions about your daily living activities. Your report will provide you with a score that reflects the severity of the problems with your knee. Assessing the function and pain in your knee can help to identify the treatment options that are right for your individual needs.

To complete the test click here.