The Different conditions Causing Knee Pain
Our knees take on an enormous load during every day - because of the dynamics of acceleration, the forces and moments created and numerous muscular contractions, regular walking can exert a force of two to three times our body weight across our knee joint. As such, there are many tissues within the knee that play important roles in knee stability and are susceptible to injury. Because of the large impact that knee injuries have on an individual's quality of life, this is a key focus and area of expertise by our podiatrists at Physio Connect that are dedicated to bringing you the best, most effective and advanced solutions to the following knee injuries and more:
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) - the ACL is located inside the knee and attaches anteriorly to the tibia to stop the tibia from sliding forwards from the femur while providing some rotational stability to the knee. Injuries to the ACL commonly occurs in the form of sprains or tears. These injuries range from a mild strain where the ACL is still able to maintain its fun in supporting the knee while experiencing some pain, swelling and a decreased range of motion, to the ligament being torn completely, rendering the knee joint unstable. This may be associated a “pop” and the knee giving out resulting in a fall. Injuries may arise from physical activities that involve sudden stops and changes of direction, irregular landing on your feet or direct impact trauma to the knee. It is often seen in sports including basketball, soccer and skiing.
- Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) - The MCL is located on the inner side of the knee, connecting the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone) and helps to stabilise the knee from abnormal sideways motion. Injury commonly occurs when through an impact force to the outside of the knee that pushes inward, straining and potentially tearing the MCL. This can be from a ball hitting the outside of the knee or a side tackle as examples. Pain and swelling present at the inside of the knee, the knee can feel unstable and a popping sound may be heard on impact with the knee potentially catching or locking during movement.
- Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) - The LCL is located on the outer side of the knee, connecting the femur to the fibula, and helps to stabilise the knee against abnormal sideways motion. Similar but opposite to the MCL, the LCL is injured when an impact force is exerted on the inside of the knee that pushes the knee outwards, though these injuries are significantly less common. LCL injuries often occur in conjunction with damage to other structures at the lateral knee joint so an examination and correct diagnosis is important. Pain and swelling present at the outside of the knee and the knee can feel unstable.
- Patella Tendon - The Patella Tendon runs from the patella (knee bone) to the tibial tuberosity (bump on the front of the upper shin bone) and works with the quadriceps to straighten the knee. Injury to the patella tendon can come in the form of a partial or complete tear, or a tendonitis. A partial tear describes some damage to the tendon fibres without complete disruption so it remains in one piece. A complete tear means there is no longer a tendinous attachment between the patella and the tibia. Tears occur as a result of a strong force exerted on the tendon, such as the impact from falls or jumping. Tears can be more likely in individuals with patella tendonitis, some chronic diseases that affect the blood supply the tendon, steroid use and previous corticosteroid injections. Tendonitis refers to the inflammation of the tendon from repetitive overloading, such as in jumping, so is often referred to as ‘Jumper’s Knee’. It can also occur as degenerative damage over time in the older population, as well as insufficient healing following an acute tendon injury. Symptoms of patella tendon injury include anterior knee pain, swelling, bruising, difficulty in moving the joint and walking, displacement of the patella and an irregular indent where the tendon may have torn. Because adequate knee motion is essential for daily activities and keeping you on your feet, our Podiatrists here at Physio Connect are highly skilled in this area and ensure to be up to date with the clinical latest research and advanced treatments to be able to work with you to ensure the best clinical outcomes.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFS)
broadly describes anterior knee pain in the region of the patella (kneecap) that can involve soft tissue damage to the tendons and ligaments surrounding the knee, the infrapatellar fat pad (fat pad beneath the kneecap) or the synovial tissue at the knee joint that works to facilitate smooth knee motion and reduce friction. There can be many causes of PFS including overuse from an increase in repetitive high-impact physical activities, unsupported translocation of force from the foot, a higher BMI, irregular bony alignments or muscular imbalances that cause the patella to shift outside of its normal tracking path, knee injuries leading to ligamentous laxity and potentially faulty foot biomechanics that result in abnormal compensations at the knee and its tissues. Pain tends to come and go, is localised around and behind the knee cap, and exacerbated by activity that bends the weight bearing knee and compresses the patella. Swelling may occur that can result stiffness and difficulty in bending the knee. Crepitus (a creaking sound associated with a grinding feeling when the knee moves) may also be occur.