Knee Pain

Overview

The knee is the body’s largest joint. It is one of the body’s most critical parts, allowing the lower leg to move while supporting the weight of the body. Movements of the knee joint are crucial to many everyday activities, including walking, running, sitting and standing.

The upper and lower bones of the knee are separated by two discs, and the upper and lower leg bones are joined by muscles, tendons and ligaments. The knee joint connects the thigh with the leg, and the bones of the knee joint are covered by cartilage that helps shield the area against shock and provide a gliding surface for the movement of joints.

Knee pain is an extremely common problem that can occur in the bony structures of the knee joint, the kneecap or the ligaments and cartilage of the knee. It is an area vulnerable to injury and the development of osteoarthritis. Knee pain occurs in people of all ages, but older people and children are particularly vulnerable. If not treated appropriately, knee pain can impact the way you walk, and even hurt your spine.

Osgoods-Schlatter disease is a painful knee condition impacting the upper shinbone and occurring most often in active teenagers. The most common knee conditions experienced by adults are Medial and Lateral Knee Pain, Arthritis and Chrondomalacia Patella.

You can find more information about these forms of knee pain below.

Medial Knee Pain

Medial Knee Pain

Overview

Pain experienced in the inner side of the knee is very common and is caused by a number of issues impacting the structures of the knee. These structures include the medial meniscus, which acts as the shock absorber in the knee, and the medial collateral ligament that supports the inside of the knee joint during movement.

Causes

There are a number of common causes that can result in pain to the medial knee area.

  • Muscular weakness or tightness in the leg changing the way the knee moves and putting more stress and force on the inner side of the joint.
  • Osteoarthritis, resulting in wear and tear to the cartilage. Pain can increase during periods of inactivity, exercise and cold weather.
  • Abnormalities in the medial meniscus causing a tear or gradual weakening of the structure.
  • A tear to the medial meniscus or medial collateral ligament caused by direct trauma to the knee. This could be due to a fall, tackle, or a sudden twisting movement through the knee.

Symptoms

  • Tenderness on the inner side of the knee joint. This may increase over time or can be sudden if the injury is due to a traumatic injury to the knee.
  • Bruising to the area and stiffness when trying to move the affected leg.
  • Swelling of the knee following an injury, usually occurring within 48 hours.
  • An inability to put your entire bodyweight over the affected knee or stand on one leg without causing pain and discomfort.
  • Difficulty straightening the affected leg without pain and discomfort.
  • Unusual sounds from the knee during movement such as popping, clicking or grinding.
  • Increased pain when using stairs.

Diagnosis

Dan Everson Podiatry will assess your health and exercise history and conduct a physical examination to diagnose a case of medial knee pain. A physical examination may involve pressing and applying pressure to the area to assess discomfort. A range of movements and maneuvers may be used to check the integrity of the knee joint. An X-ray might be used depending on the severity, and MRI scans are particular useful in assessing damage to tendon and ligament injuries.

Treatment

When treating a case of medial knee pain it is important to treat not only the symptoms but also the underlying cause.

Dan Everson Podiatry would typically suggest one or more of the following treatment methods:

  • A period of rest from exercise or activity that causes pain in the area.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling.
  • Applying ice to the area after exercise or movement that causes pain.
  • Strengthening of the leg muscles. Muscle weakness is a major cause of instability in the knee. Leg strength exercises will help improve knee function and are beneficial to all cases of medial knee pain.
  • A knee brace can be useful for tears or arthritis in the knee to help protect the area, reduce pain and swelling and keep heat in the area.
  • Kinetic Orthotics can be prescribed to correct abnormalities or imbalances in the feet and legs. This is a range recommended by Dan Everson Podiatry, designed using patent-protected technology to optimise the way force is transferred as you move.

Prevention

Dan Everson Podiatry recommends the following activities to help prevent an onset of medial knee pain:

  • Keep your body weight within a target range for your age group. This can help reduce the stress and force applied to the knees and associated ligaments and tendons during movement.
  • Stay active and agile. Many knee problems are caused due to imbalance, weakness or stiffness in the leg muscles.
  • Wearing a protective device such as kneepad or brace when undertaking activities that could lead to knee trauma or damage.
  • Kinetic Orthotics may be helpful by optimising the way force is transferred as you move.
  • Seek advice from your podiatrist on the most appropriate and best fitting footwear for your lifestyle.
  • Making sure athletic shoes are replaced at least every six months.
Lateral Knee Pain

Lateral Knee Pain

Overview

Lateral knee pain occurs on the outer side of the knee that typically presents itself gradually. Pain may take the form of a dull and persistent ache, or it may present as a sharp and acute sensation, making it hard to move your leg in certain ways. It is most prevalent among runners and cyclists.

Causes

The most common causes of pain to the lateral knee area are Illiotibial Band Syndrome and a lateral collateral ligament sprain or a lateral meniscus tear. Some of the causes that may lead to one or more of these problems include:

  • Long distance running.
  • Using stairs, particularly going up stairs.
  • Bike riding, hiking and weightlifting involving squat movements.
  • A tear to the lateral meniscus or sprain of the lateral collateral ligament caused by direct trauma to the knee. This could be due to a fall, tackle, awkward or sudden twisting movement or blunt force to the knee.
  • Osteoarthritis, resulting in wear and tear to the cartilage. Pain can increase during periods of inactivity, exercise and cold weather.
  • An injury to the lumbar spine causing pressure on the sciatic nerve that radiates pain down into the leg and knee.

Symptoms

Symptoms or signs you have a lateral knee pain condition could include one or more of the following:

  • Gradually increasing pain on the outside of the knee during running or other physical activity that may eventually force you to stop performing the exercise.
  • Tenderness on the outside of the knee joint and along the joint line. This may increase over time or can be sudden if it is due to traumatic injury to the knee.
  • Increased pain when using stairs.
  • Swelling of the knee following an injury, usually within 48 hours.
  • Difficulty straightening the affected leg without pain and discomfort.
  • Unusual sounds from the knee during movement such as popping, clicking or grinding.

Diagnosis

Dan Everson Podiatry will assess your health and exercise history and conduct a physical examination to diagnose lateral knee pain. A physical examination may involve pressing and applying pressure to the area to assess discomfort. A range of movements and maneuvers may be used to check the integrity of the knee joint. An X-ray or MRI scan may be recommended.

Treatment

It is highly important to treat not only the symptoms of lateral knee pain but the underlying cause as well.

Dan Everson Podiatry would typically suggest one or more of the following treatment methods:

  • A period of rest from exercise or activity that causes pain in the area. Undertake further treatment options before returning to the activity.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling.
  • Applying ice to the area after exercise or movement that causes pain.
  • Strengthening of the leg muscles. Muscle weakness is a major cause of instability in the knee. Leg strength exercises will help to improve knee function and are beneficial to all cases of knee pain.
  • A knee brace can be useful for tears or arthritis in the knee. It will help protect the area, reduce pain and swelling and keep heat in the area.
  • Kinetic Orthotics can be prescribed to correct abnormalities or imbalances in the feet and legs. This is a range recommended by Dan Everson Podiatry, designed using patent-protected technology to optimise the way force is transferred as you move.

Prevention

To prevent lateral knee pain, you can take one or more of the following options suggested by Dan Everson Podiatry:

  • Keep your body weight within a target range for your age group. This can help reduce the stress and force applied to the knees and associated ligaments and tendons during movement.
  • Stay active and agile. Many knee problems are caused due to an imbalance, weakness or stiffness in the leg muscles.
  • Wearing a protective device such as a kneepad or brace when undertaking activities that could lead to knee trauma or damage.
  • Kinetic Orthotics may be helpful by optimising the way force is transferred as you move.
  • Seek advice from your podiatrist on the most appropriate and best fitting footwear for your lifestyle.
  • Make sure athletic shoes are replaced at least every six months.
Osgoods-Schlatter Disease

Osgoods-Schlatter Disease

Overview

Osgoods-Schlatter Disease is a painful knee condition impacting the upper shinbone. The condition occurs most often in active teenagers. During a growth spurt, the tendon connecting the quadricep muscle to the knee joint becomes tight and puts pressure on the growing bone. This strain becomes worse with exercise involving the quadriceps.

This condition is not serious in nature and most often corrects itself in a few weeks or months when the growth spurt is complete. Boys are more often affected than girls, with boys most likely to experience the condition between 13 and 14 years of age, and girls from 10 to 11 years of age. Symptoms mostly occur on one side of the body, but it affects both knees for one in three people.

Causes

The most common causes of Osgoods-Schlatter Disease are:

  • Growth spurts.
  • Periods of increased physical activity involving kicking, running or jumping and sports that involve vigorous use of the quadriceps.
  • A prior knee injury before the knee has finished growing.

Symptoms

Osgoods-Schlatter Disease causes swelling and discomfort below the knee. Other symptoms of the condition include:

  • Pain when straightening the knee or squatting to a deep position.
  • Pain when running or travelling up or down stairs.
  • Pain that improves after resting.
  • A swollen tibial tuberosity and irritated skin over the area (the bony bump at the top of the tibia bone in the lower leg).
  • Weakened or smaller quadriceps muscles.

Diagnosis

Dan Everson Podiatry can diagnose Osgoods-Schlatter Disease through history taking, a physical examination of the foot and ankle and a Biomechanical Assessment to study your range of movement, look for swelling in the joint and assess pain experienced through movement. An X-ray, MRI or CT scan may also be recommended to evaluate the stage of the illness.

Treatment

Osgoods-Schlatter Disease usually resolves itself with activity modification, a stretching program, knee pad wearing during exercise and pain relief. Dan Everson Podiatry can create a tailored recovery program for you.

Kinetic Orthotics can also be prescribed to correct abnormalities or imbalances in the feet and legs. This is a range recommended by Dan Everson Podiatry, designed using patent-protected technology to optimise the way force is transferred as you move.

In rare cases where people don’t respond to non-surgical treatments, surgery may be advised. Dan Everson Podiatry can provide you with guidance on the best option for you.

Prevention

Regular stretching before and after exercise is advised as a precaution measure for this condition.

Chrondomalacia Patella

Chrondomalacia Patella

Overview

Another knee condition that falls under the “runner’s knee” injury umbrella, Chrondomalacia Patella is one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain. Also known as Patella Tracking Syndrome, this condition is more likely to occur in women, young adults and teenagers. Athletes, sportspeople and older people with arthritis are also susceptible.

This injury is often a result of overuse and a period of rest can be all that is needed. However, the condition can be caused by a more serious issue – such as unnatural movement of the kneecap (patella) when the affected leg is bent or straightened.

Causes

The cause of pain is a result of cartilage under the kneecap becoming abnormally softened due to poor alignment of the kneecap. As the kneecap slides over the femoral bone, it grates over the bone due to the kneecap’s misalignment, causing irritation, swelling and pain. Common causes include:

  • Overuse and repetitive strain (especially twisting motions) in the knees through increased running distance or training intensity.
  • Muscular imbalances between the muscles on the thighs (adductors and abductors) and weak hamstrings and quadriceps. This is common in young people and adolescents during growth spurts.
  • Running or jumping on uneven and hard surfaces such as concrete and bitumen. This is a particularly high risk activity for people who are overweight.
  • A genetic abnormality that affects the way the kneecap moves.
  • Previous injuries to the kneecap such as a dislocation.
  • Direct trauma to the kneecap that pushes it to either side of the leg. This could be from a fall or car accident.

Symptoms

  • Pain or discomfort in the front of the knee most likely to occur when you run, jump, kneel down, squat, use stairs or perform any other activity that involves repeated bending of the knee.
  • Swelling of the knee
  • Unusual sounds or feeling in the knee during movement such as popping, grating or grinding. It may feel like the kneecap is catching on something during movement.
  • Feeling like your knee might be about to suddenly give way or collapse underneath your weight.
  • Pain at the front of the knee that gets worse during extended periods of sitting or standing.

Diagnosis

Dan Everson Podiatry can diagnose Chrondomalacia Patella by assessing your health and exercise history and conducting a thorough physical examination of the affected knee, combined with further testing to assess damage to the cartilage under the knee. A blood test and X-ray can be used to rule out arthritis and inflammation. MRI scans will provide a more complete picture of the knee joint and an arthroscopy may be performed which involves inserting a tiny camera into the knee under anesthetic to enable the cartilage to be seen first hand.

Treatment

The aim in treating this condition is to provide or create a straight pathway for the kneecap to travel during movement. This will help prevent pain and discomfort and also rehabilitate the knee. With proper rest and rehabilitation a patient can expect to fully recover and return to normal function.

Dan Everson Podiatry would typically suggest one or more of the following treatment methods:

  • A period of rest from exercise or activity causing pain in the knee.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling.
  • Applying ice to the area after exercise or movement that causes pain.
  • Taping the kneecap to help guide the way it moves.
  • A knee brace can be useful if it is designed to re-align the kneecap during movement.
  • Kinetic Orthotics can be prescribed to correct abnormalities or imbalances in the subtalar joint of the foot and rotation of the tibia bone of the leg. This is a range recommended by Dan Everson Podiatry, designed using patent-protected technology to optimise the way force is transferred as you move.

Prevention

Dan Everson Podiatry recommends the following activities to help prevent an onset or recurrence of Chrondomalacia Patella:

  • Carefully monitor and reduce any activity that involves squats, especially with weights.
  • Ensure your shoes or joggers are not damaged or worn out, and distribute your weight evenly across the foot. Schedule an appointment with your podiatrist to ensure you have appropriate footwear for your needs and lifestyle.
  • Stretch and strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings to rehabilitate the knee and kneecap.
  • Orthotics may be prescribed to help prevent an occurrence of Chrondomalacia Patella for those at risk.
Arthritis of the Knee

Arthritis of the Knee

Overview

Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more of the joints and can impact the small joints and surrounding tissue of the foot and ankle, making it challenging to move without pain.

The knee is the most likely part of the body to be affected by arthritis, and there are three types of arthritis that can occur – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and posttraumatic arthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Overview

Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that often progresses into larger joints such as the knees after attacking the body’s smaller joints. It usually affects both knees.

This condition occurs when the immune system attacks its own tissues and results in swelling of the synovial membrane covering the knee joint, resulting in knee pain and stiffness.

Causes

The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are presently unknown.

Symptoms

The symptoms most often associated with rheumatoid arthritis of the knee are:

  • Pain, swelling, stiffness and difficulties bending or straightening the knee.
  • Cracking or popping sounds coming from the knee when you move, or experiencing a grinding sensation.
  • Fever, fatigue and appetite loss.
  • Changes to the appearance of the knee – either a sunken appearance or knees pointing towards each other.

Diagnosis

Dan Everson Podiatry can diagnose rheumatoid arthritis through history taking, a physical examination of the knee and a Biomechanical Assessment to study your range of movement, look for swelling in the knee and pain experienced through movement. Blood tests, and an X-ray, MRI or CT scan may also be recommended to confirm and evaluate the stage of the disease.

Treatment

Dan Everson Podiatry would typically suggest one or more of the following treatment methods:

  • Anti-inflammatory, pain relief and prescription medication can help slow the spread of the illness.
  • Rest and applying ice to the area.
  • Your podiatrist can recommend certain exercises to improve your range of movement and strengthen the knee.
  • Surgery may be recommended in some cases. Dan Everson Podiatry can provide guidance on the ideal procedure and costings.

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent rheumatoid arthritis, as the causes are presently unknown. There are several ways to reduce your risk of major joint damage after a diagnosis of this condition:

  • Consult with your podiatrist as soon as you have any symptoms.
  • Speak with your podiatrist about a program of gentle stretches and strength movements to reduce pain and strengthen the bones.
  • Rest from exercise during the periods you are experiencing the most pain.
  • Avoid smoking.

Posttraumatic Arthritis

Overview

Posttraumatic Arthritis typically develops after an injury to the knee. This form of arthritis also sees the cartilage between joints erode, which can take place many years following an injury.

An injured joint is seven times more likely to develop into arthritis compared with an uninjured joint, even if the injury is professionally treated.