What Are the Causes of Chronic Knee Pain?
There are two different types of knee pain. Acute knee pain occurs for a short period of time and it is generally caused from an accident or it is the result of a fall or hit during a sporting event like football for example. There is usually some kind of ligament damage that takes place that goes away after surgery and rehab. Chronic knee pain is altogether different. This kind of pain can be persistent all the time or it can be characterized by flare-ups. There are several different causes for chronic knee pain.
1. Arthritis is a condition that attacks the joints in the body. Two types of arthritis called osteo and rheumatoid arthritis can have a major effect on the knee joint. They can cause swelling, stiffness, fevers and immobility. When osteoarthritis hits, the cartilage gets worn away at the location of the joint. In both of these situations, pain can be chronic. There can also be times when the pain flares up and gets worse.
2. Bones are attached to bones through fibrous cords of tissue called tendons. Muscles are attached to bones through fibrous cords of tissue called ligaments. Over the course of time, the tendons in the knee can become inflamed and irritated. This leads to a condition called tendinitis, which causes chronic pain. This is generally caused by repetitive motions where there is a lot of stress on the tendon above the knee called the patellar tendon. Professional skiers, runners and cyclists run the risk of developing this condition.
3. Inside of the body's joints are little sacs called bursa. Bursa act as padding between the ligaments, tendons and joints. Injuries often times cause these bursa sacs to swell up, which leads to a condition called bursitis. When bursitis hits, there can be inflammation, redness, heat around the knee and chronic pain that can occur even when you are just sitting still.
4. Uric acid is a chemical that forms in the body. It is the result of a substance called purines which are found in various foods like shellfish, organ meats and beer. Under normal circumstances, this uric acid gets flushed out of the body in the urine. But on occasion, it builds up in the system and leads to a condition called gout. When this happens, the uric acid pools up at joint locations like the knee and causes pain. The pain from gout can either be mild and steady or there can be severe flare-ups.
5. The iliotibial band, or IT band, is a ligament that runs down the outside of the leg from the pelvis all the way down to the tibia. When this ligament gets inflamed, it can lead to a condition called iliotibial band syndrome. Long distance runners are the most susceptible to this condition. Although IT band syndrome causes chronic pain, full range of motion can be still expected.