There is much debate surrounding the issue of knee pain and whether things should be simplified to terms such as anterior knee pain. For the purpose of this site here we will categorise some of the main conditions that you can expect to see and what the symptoms may feel like.
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Similar to Achilles Tendinopathy, this is usually an inflammatory or degenerative condition of the knee tendon. The Quadriceps (thigh muscle) tendon passes over the front of the thigh bone, and what some do not know, actually holds the patella (the knee cap) in its place. So the patella is not actually attached to any bone, it sits within the tendon of your Quadriceps. When we bend and move our knee, this tendon glides up and down and with it so does the bone. What can sometimes happen is that due to too much load on the tendon, the body reacts in a negative way and either creates too much inflammation, or, in some cases, actually starts to lay down bone cells on the tendon where it thinks the bone is (remember, it’s embedded within the knee tendon). This then leads to pain as a result of the biomedical makeup of the structure changing slightly.
Those of us who do a lot of running can be prone to the infamous Runner’s Knee. This is actually an irritation of the ITB at its insertion on the knee. The excessive force and overload can create a friction style effect of the ITB on bone and this then presents itself as pain in the outside of the knee (usually).
This is usually a very serious injury and has a much higher prevalence in female athletes. In fact, females are up to 8 times more likely to rupture their ACL than men. When this injury occurs it usually happens as a result of a sudden twisting/turning motion at the knee and is often caused in sporting environments. Interestingly, most ACL injuries occur as a result of non-contact incidences. This can sometime s be managed conservatively but it often involves surgery and a robust rehabilitation programme.
This is actually a common injury in the older population and can come about from degenerative discs in the knee. There are two menisci, one on the inside of the leg and the other on the outside. They act as shock absorbers and when damaged can lead to sharp pain in the knee on certain actions, such as squatting. See our Meniscus tear section for more information on this.
There are many other reasons that you may be experiencing knee pain. This list is not exhaustive but it covers some of the main things we see in Clinic. The best thing to do is speak to a professional healthcare specialist to see how you can reduce your pain and get a diagnosis of what is happening.