Knee pain is the most common symptom of patients in our Polyclinic. However, in order to be able to talk about knee pain at all, it is crucial to get acquainted with some basic information about the knee anatomy itself.
The knee joint consists of the articular surfaces on the lower part of the femur (lat. Femur), the upper end of the tibia (lat. Tibia) and chipboard (lat. Patella), lined with smooth, shiny cartilage and synovial membrane and externally protected by a joint capsule. The articular surface of the tibia has the shape of a cylinder with a groove in the middle, while the articular surface of the tibia is flat and contains the outer (lateral) and inner (medial) meniscus.
The menisci are small, fibrocartilaginous formations, located at the top of the tibia. They have the shape of the letter C or crescent and despite their small size, they are a key component in the proper functioning of the knee joint, and their role is mostly reflected in the stabilization of the knee joint by increasing what we call the “articulation surface”. in this case, the femur and tibia (femur and tibia). Since the lower end of the femur is rounded like a roller, and the upper end of the tibia with which it forms the knee joint almost completely flat, like a plate, without the meniscus such a shape of the articular bodies would mean major problems with knee instability and such a joint would be completely dysfunctional. The existence of the meniscus allows the flat articular surface at the top of the tibia to take on the shape of a vessel, which is the key to stability in the knee.
Between the meniscus there are two other key structures, and these are the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. The anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments are collagen structures whose main task is to constantly maintain contact between the articular bodies (femur and tibia). The anterior cruciate ligament starts from the medial surface of the lateral (outer) part of the femur, and is diagonally attached to the anterior part of the tibia, and from there derives the name “cruciate ligament”, since its course starts from one side of the joint and is caught on the other side. .
THE MOST COMMON SYMPTOMS OF A KNEE INJURY OR DISEASE
The dominant symptom of a knee injury or disease is, as expected, pain in the joint itself. What is of great importance in the diagnosis of knee joint disorders is to determine the type of pain with regard to its location, time of onset and activity in which the pain occurs – an experienced diagnostician can determine the diagnosis based on a well-taken history.
Knee pain can be localized in several places:
- pain in the front part of the knee – indicates a disorder of the splints (patella) – from the jumping knee, through various forms of chondromalacia (softening of the cartilaginous tissue of the knee), all the way to traumatic injuries
- pain inside the joint on the inside – most often a sign of damage to the medial meniscus or medial collateral ligament, it is common in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and may be the first reliable sign of this degenerative disease
- pain inside the joint itself on the outside – most often indicates damage to the lateral meniscus or lateral collateral ligament. It can often be the first symptom of tendinosis (a type of inflammatory reaction in tendon tissue), either the lateral collateral ligament or the iliotibial tract (connective tissue of the tendon type that covers the muscles of the outer thigh and can be easily felt along the entire outer thigh muscle as solid and rough tissue)
- pain in the back of the knee – refers to swelling of the tissue known as Baker’s cyst (benign condition characterized by pain and palpable lump in the back of the knee)
Furthermore, valuable conclusions about the potential cause of knee pain can be made based on the activity during which the pain occurs as well as the time of day in which the pain occurs. Thus, the pain accompanied by stiffness of the knee in the morning, which then subsides after stretching, will indicate arthritic changes in the knee, while the pain that occurs when climbing stairs will indicate chondromalacia (softening of cartilage).
In addition to pain, typical symptoms that occur in the knee include:
- heat localized to the knee
- weakness or instability of the knee
- reduced range of motion
- “Creaking” or a similar phenomenon when moving in the joint
- “Locked” knee (impossibility of complete bending or straightening in the knee)
There are many potential causes of knee pain and other symptoms. Establishing the correct diagnosis is a key step in relieving symptoms, as the treatment of a large number of knee-related conditions takes much longer than expected, most often due to an inadequately made diagnosis.
The onset of knee pain is influenced by many factors that we encounter in everyday life, from doing office work and prolonged sitting, keeping the legs in bad positions, being overweight to sports stresses and excessive knee rotations.
Symptomatology that typically occurs in the knee occurs as a result of injury to some of the joint structures (bones, ligaments, menisci, cartilage, muscles). Unfortunately, a large number of symptoms go unnoticed, which very often leads to further damage, the emergence of more complex conditions and prolongation of the duration of treatment.
Knee pain can occur as a result of injury to joint structures (ligaments, meniscus or cartilage) that often go unnoticed and are not treated in time, deteriorating health and spreading the effects to surrounding structures.
If your knee pain does not go away, one of the possible causes are:
Knee pain is not always preventable. However, there are some simple actions you can take to reduce the risk of possible knee-related symptoms, and by taking the same actions you can, if the symptoms have already manifested, significantly reduce their severity.
Mass regulation is one of the first steps in preventing such conditions. A healthy life with a proper diet will not only significantly reduce the risk of disease and knee injuries but will significantly improve your quality of life as such! Every kilogram of body weight that goes beyond your optimal body weight represents an additional burden for your joints, but also significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular or metabolic disease.
Playing sports is another useful thing you can do to improve your general and specific health. It is superfluous to talk about the benefits of physical activity because it is something that everyone knows and many scientific papers have been written about it.
Closely correlated with physical activity is the strength of your muscles and the flexibility of your body. Exercise strengthens your body in both areas and thus directly reduces the risk of disease. However, it is important to note that you exercise carefully – your body has its limits and it is important that you learn to respect them. With smart exercise, you can significantly improve the quality of your life.
In the successful treatment of knee-related disorders, it is extremely important to contact a doctor in time. However, it is usually difficult for people to determine at what exact moment this needs to be done, primarily because people often successfully adapt to living with pain. Symptoms that indicate a possible more serious illness in the announcement include severe swelling of the knee, stuck knee in some position (inability to fully bend or stretch the knee), the presence of joint deformity, feeling of instability in the knee or the presence of some general symptoms such as fever, chills, tremors and severe pain. knee.
The presence of any of these symptoms is a sign that you need to see a doctor. Our experts at the Ribnjak Polyclinic have extensive experience in treating all conditions associated with knee pain and symptoms. It is crucial to diagnose any injury or disorder in a timely manner, as well as to determine treatment guidelines. In our Polyclinic you can get just such a service, which will ultimately allow you to quickly and efficiently return to everyday life activities.