Most people will experience knee pain at some point in time during their life. Temporary knee pain that’s caused by an accident and goes away generally isn’t cause for concern, but you should seek treatment if you experience chronic knee pain. Pain that doesn’t go away is a cause for concern, and calls for diagnosis and treatment. So does knee pain when bending the leg or knee pain when walking.
Many Conditions Cause Chronic Knee Pain
Knee pain that doesn’t go away on its own could be caused by a number of different injuries and diseases. In many of these cases, the condition causing the pain won’t resolve on its own and could be severe.
Some more serious knee injuries that result in pain which won’t go away include:
- Ligament tear, such as a tear in the ACL or MCL
- Meniscus tear, which is a tear in the knee’s cartilage
- Dislocation, which occurs when the joint is separated
Unlike bumps and bruises that cause only minor knee pain when walking or bending the knee, these injuries all cause excruciating pain and don’t heal by themselves. They require treatment, and the recovery process can be months long.
Some diseases and other conditions that may cause ongoing knee pain are:
- Osteoporosis, which is a loss of bone material
- Tendonitis, which is a strain on the tendon caused by overuse
- Bursitis, which is caused by inflammation of fluid-filled sacs in the joint
- Chondromalacia Patella, which is caused by a deterioration of the cartilage under the patella
- Bakery’s Cyst, which is caused by swelling behind the knee
- Rheumatoid Arthritis or Gout, which are two forms of arthritis
- Bone Tumors, which may be benign or cancerous
Some of these conditions can be resolved relatively quickly but others have much longer, including potentially lifelong, treatment regiments. All of them require prompt diagnosis so that treatment can begin before the condition worsens and recovery can be achieved as quickly as possible.
Numerous Risk Factors Contribute to Chronic Knee Pain
In addition to the many injuries and diseases that can be direct causes of chronic knee pain, there are also a number of risk factors that can make you more or less likely to develop knee pain.
Of these, age is perhaps the most pervasive. Your body simply wears down as you age, so older people are more likely than younger people to have ongoing knee pain. This is especially true of knee pain that’s caused by osteoporosis or other age-related conditions.
Obesity is another major risk factor, with people who are overweight at greater risk of suffering knee injuries and conditions than those who aren’t. If you’re overweight, much of the excess weight lies above the knees and thus, causes added strain on them.
Bad posture can also place strain on the knees and create undue strain. Occasionally, this will lead to knee pain when bending a leg or otherwise moving it.
Finally, high levels of physical exercise and athletic activity also can increase the likelihood of knee issues. Overuse may lead to tendonitis or similar issues, and tears or dislocations are also possible when exercising or playing sports.
The exact injuries that athletes are prone to depend on the sport. For example, a study found that half of football players studied had suffered a torn ACL while runners were more likely to sustain meniscus tears. All athletes are more likely to have injuries, though, and the risk is even greater for athletes who have previously injured their knees.
Treating Chronic Knee Pain
If you suffer from chronic knee pain, have knee pain when bending a leg or notice knee pain when walking, schedule an appointment with a physician. Your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis based on your symptoms, an examination and your medical history, and they can devise a treatment plan for you.
At Prime Surgical Suites, we provide state-of-the-art, cost-effective musculoskeletal surgical care in a convenient and comfortable outpatient setting for patients of all ages. Located in RiverCrest Medical Park, we are the region's first outpatient center focused exclusively on orthopedics. Our physician-led center will help restore your active lifestyle and well-being with compassion and orthopedic excellence.