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The 10 Most Common Causes of Knee Pain

The knee is the largest joint in the body and knee pain is a common complaint across all age groups. It may be due to a diverse range of causes including sudden injury, overuse injury, or an underlying medical condition. The location and severity of knee pain varies depending on the root cause. The thighbone (femur) and lower leg bones (fibula and tibia) compose the knee joint. Structures found in or around the knee joint include discs (menisci), cartilage, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Signs and symptoms that may accompany knee pain include swelling, stiffness, redness, warmth, weakness, instability, popping or crunching noises, fever, and decreased range of motion (inability to fully extend or flex the knee).

The ten most common causes of knee pain are…


1. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Patellofemoral pain syndrome, also known as runner’s knee, is a common cause of knee pain among runners. It can also strike those engaging in activities requiring repetitive knee bending such as biking, climbing, and jumping. Symptoms of this syndrome may include pain behind or around the kneecap (patella), pain while bending the knee, pain that worsens when walking downstairs or downhill, knee swelling, or popping or grinding sensations in the knee.

Patellofemoral pain syndrome can affect one or both knees. It can be caused by overuse (repetitive bending, high stress exercises, or overstretched tendons), direct trauma (fall or blow), misalignment of the kneecap or other leg bones, problems with the feet (hypermobility, fallen arches, or flat feet), and weakness in the thigh muscles or other muscle imbalance. Treatment of the syndrome may include rest, ice, compression, elevation, anti-inflammatory medications, stretching and strengthening exercises, and arch supports or shoe orthotics.


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