Knee injuries

Knee bursitis:

The bursa in between the skin and the kneecap (the prepatellar bursa) is commonly affected. Housemaid’s knee is the name given to inflammation of the prepatellar bursa.

There are a number of different things that can cause housemaid’s knee:

  • A sudden, one-off injury to the knee
  • Recurrent minor injury to the knee
  • Infection

Housemaid’s knee causes pain and swelling of the affected knee. You may notice redness of the skin over the knee and your kneecap may be tender. You may also have difficulty bending your knee and difficulty kneeling and walking
Treatment includes:

Resting the knee.

The use of ice packs on the knee (a tea towel wrapped around a bag of frozen peas makes a good ice pack).

For kneeling, the use of a thick foam cushion or knee pads – these can help to prevent the condition from coming back.

A physiotherapist can help by teaching you some exercises if your knee joint is affected by a reduced range of movement.

A stick or a cane can help with walking

Runners knee:

Runner’s knee is the common term used to describe any one of several conditions that cause pain around the kneecap including, anterior knee pain syndrome, patellofemoral malalignment, chondromalacia patella, and iliotibial band syndrome.

As the name suggests, running is a common cause of runner’s knee, but any activity that repeatedly stresses the knee joint can cause the disorder. This can include walking, skiing, biking, jumping, cycling, and playing soccer.

According to the Harvard Medical School, runner’s knee is more common in women than in men, particularly in women of middle age. People who are overweight are especially prone to the disorder.

What are the symptoms of runner’s knee?

The hallmark of runner’s knee is a dull, aching pain around or behind the kneecap, or patella, especially where it meets the lower part of the thighbone or femur.

You may feel pain when:

walking

climbing or descending stairs

squatting

kneeling

running

sitting down or standing up

sitting for a long time with the knee bent

Other symptoms include swelling and popping or grinding in the knee.

What causes runner’s knee?
The pain of runner’s knee may be caused by irritation of the soft tissues or lining of the knee, worn or torn cartilage, or strained tendons. Any of the following can also contribute to runner’s knee:

overuse
trauma to the kneecap
misalignment of the kneecap
complete or partial dislocation of the kneecap
flat feet
weak or tight thigh muscles
inadequate stretching before exercise
arthritis
a fractured kneecap
plica syndrome or synovial plica syndrome, in which the lining of the joint becomes thickened and inflamed

Treatment includes rest, massage and specific exercises. 

Patella tendinitis:

Patellar tendinitis is an injury to the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. The patellar tendon works with the muscles at the front of your thigh to extend your knee so that you can kick, run and jump.

Patellar tendinitis, also known as jumper’s knee, is most common in athletes whose sports involve frequent jumping — such as basketball and volleyball. However, even people who don’t participate in jumping sports can get patellar tendinitis.

Risk factors

A combination of factors may contribute to the development of patellar tendinitis, including:

Physical activity. Running and jumping are most commonly associated with patellar tendinitis. Sudden increases in how hard or how often you engage in the activity also add stress to the tendon, as can changing your running shoes.

Tight leg muscles. Tight thigh muscles (quadriceps) and hamstrings, which run up the back of your thighs, can increase strain on your patellar tendon.

Muscular imbalance. If some muscles in your legs are much stronger than others, the stronger muscles could pull harder on your patellar tendon. This uneven pull could cause tendinitis.

Chronic illness. Some illnesses disrupt blood flow to the knee, which weakens the tendon. Examples include kidney failure, autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

Causes

Patellar tendinitis is a common overuse injury, caused by repeated stress on your patellar tendon. The stress results in tiny tears in the tendon, which your body attempts to repair.

But as the tears in the tendon multiply, they cause pain from inflammation and weakening of the tendon. When this tendon damage persists for more than a few weeks, it’s called tendinopathy.

Symptoms

Pain is the first symptom of patellar tendinitis, usually between your kneecap and where the tendon attaches to your shinbone (tibia).

Initially, you may only feel pain in your knee as you begin physical activity or just after an intense workout. Over time, the pain worsens and starts to interfere with playing your sport. Eventually, the pain interferes with daily movements such as climbing stairs or rising from a chair.

Treatment

Stretching exercises. Regular, steady stretching exercises can reduce muscle spasm and help lengthen the muscle-tendon unit. Don’t bounce during your stretch.

Strengthening exercises. Weak thigh muscles contribute to the strain on your patellar tendon. Exercises that involve lowering your leg very slowly after extending it can be particularly helpful, as can exercises that strengthen all of the leg muscles in combination, such as a leg press.

Don’t play through pain. As soon as you notice exercise-related knee pain, ice the area and rest. Until your knee is pain-free, avoid activities that put stress on your patellar tendon.
Strengthen your muscles. Strong thigh muscles are better able to handle the stresses that can cause patellar tendinitis. Eccentric exercises, which involve lowering your leg very slowly after extending your knee, are particularly helpful.
Improve your technique. To be sure you’re using your body correctly, consider taking lessons or getting professional instructions when starting a new sport or using exercise equipment.
Knee arthritis:

Knee arthritis can make it hard to do many everyday activities, such as walking or climbing stairs. It is a major cause of lost work time and a serious disability for many people.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. It is a degenerative,”wear-and-tear” type of arthritis that occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, but may occur in younger people, too.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bones decreases. This can result in bone rubbing on bone, and produce painful bone spurs.

Osteoarthritis develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time.

knee joint affected by arthritis may be painful and inflamed. Generally, the pain develops gradually over time, although sudden onset is also possible. There are other symptoms, as well:

The joint may become stiff and swollen, making it difficult to bend and straighten the knee.

Pain and swelling may be worse in the morning, or after sitting or resting.

Vigorous activity may cause pain to flare up.

Loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue can interfere with the smooth motion of joints. The knee may “lock” or “stick” during movement. It may creak, click, snap or make a grinding noise (crepitus).

Pain may cause a feeling of weakness or buckling in the knee.

Many people with arthritis note increased joint pain with rainy weather.
Treatment
There is no cure for arthritis but there are a number of treatments that may help relieve the pain and disability it can cause.

Nonsurgical Treatment
As with other arthritic conditions, initial treatment of arthritis of the knee is nonsurgical. Your doctor may recommend a range of treatment options.

Lifestyle modifications. Some changes in your daily life can protect your knee joint and slow the progress

Minimize activities that aggravate the condition, such as climbing stairs.
Switching from high impact activities (like jogging or tennis) to lower impact activities (like swimming or cycling) will put less stress on your knee.
Losing weight can reduce stress on the knee joint, resulting in less pain and increased function.
Physical therapy. Specific exercises can help increase range of motion and flexibility, as well as help strengthen the muscles in your leg. Your doctor or a physical therapist can help develop an individualized exercise program that meets your needs and lifestyle.

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