Your knees bend countless times throughout the day. Run up the stairs, along the corridor after the children, and get into the car. The knee hurts when straightened or when walking, going downstairs, or getting in and out of a car. Bending and straightening the knee are necessary for everyday activities. Knee pain with bending or straightening may be a mild, temporary irritation or may indicate a more significant problem.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Knee Pain?
Knee pain can arise from a number of conditions. It is essential to understand where the knee pain is coming from. This will allow for the best treatment plan. The most common causes of knee hurts include:
The meniscus is a c-shaped shock absorber inserted between the thigh bone (femur) and the tibia (tibia). It is composed of fibrocartilage and serves to absorb the forces of everyday life in addition to providing stability to the knee. There are two menisci on each knee: one on the inside (medial) and one on the outside (lateral). Meniscus tears are the most common injury. They can be degenerative or due to acute injuries. There are many different types of knee meniscal tears, which include radial, horizontal, incomplete, flap, buck handle, and complex. Meniscal tears can cause swelling and dysfunction. Meniscus tears can also cause pain in the knee when you bend or straighten it.
Tendons are strong pieces of connective tissue that connect muscles to bones. It serves to stabilize and move the given joint. There are many tendons in the knee which include the patellar and distal quadriceps tendons. Tendons are prone to injury from overuse, muscle imbalances, trauma, medications such as certain antibiotics, and medical conditions.
Other Common Conditions That Cause Knee Hurts When Straightened
Pain when bending or straightening your knee can put you out of action for a weekend or months at a time. There are many different causes of knee pain. You must identify the specific cause of your pain so that can develop a particular plan of treatment. 5 main conditions can affect how the knee functions, such as difficulty bending or straightening the knee:
Jumper’s knee is an inflammation of the patellar tendon. It is a very common overuse disorder in athletes who participate in sports that require jumping, such as volleyball and basketball. The prevalence varies but can be as high as 22.8% in elite athletes. The pain is typically located on or just below the knee cap. Risk factors for a jumper’s knee include body weight, leg length differences, arch height and quadriceps, and hamstring flexibility. It also causes a sharp stabbing pain in knee comes and goes.
A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled sac located on the back of the knee. Its size can vary from small to large, creating tightness and a bulge in the back of the knee. Most importantly, it’s a sign that you have a problem that deserves attention. A Baker’s cyst is a buildup of fluid in the knee due to an underlying injury. Examples of problems that can cause a Baker’s cyst to include osteoarthritis, meniscal tears, ligament tears, instability, and gout.
Runner’s knee is a clinical condition that involves pain around or behind the kneecap, also known as the patella. This is usually an overuse injury. This does not apply exclusively to runners and can also apply to non-athletes. Knee pain can stem from several different conditions, including loss of cartilage behind the knee (patellofemoral syndrome), poor patellar tracking, iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome, and quadriceps weakness.
Home Remedies for Pain When Bending Your Knee
If your knee pain is mild, home remedies might offer relief. Here’s what you can do for knee hurts when straightened:
Change Your Activity
Pay attention to how your knees feel during different activities. If a certain movement hurts your knees, avoid it until you feel better. You can also limit movement or do low-impact activities instead. Low-impact activities put less stress on your joints. Examples include cycling, swimming, water aerobics, and walking.
The RICE method is a treatment for minor muscle injuries, including those that involve the knee. “RICE” is an acronym that stands for:
- Rest and avoid placing weight on your knee. This will help the surrounding muscles heal.
- Ice to alleviate swelling and pain. Wrap ice in a plastic bag or clean cloth, and then apply to the affected area 20 minutes at a time, multiple times a day.
- Compress by wrapping your knee with an elastic bandage, which will help reduce swelling. Make sure the bandage is snug but not tight.
- Elevate your knee by placing it higher than your heart. Do this as much as possible to alleviate the swelling.
Consider using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and swelling. These medications are over-the-counter (OTC), so you don’t need a prescription. Common NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). Always follow dosage and frequency instructions unless directed by your doctor.
During a massage, the therapist uses their hands to apply pressure to your muscles, tendons, and ligaments. This can help relieve and manage knee hurts. Consider sports massage if your knee pain is caused by sports or overuse. Sports massage is used to treat athletic injuries. You can also try:
- Swedish massage
- Trigger point massage
- Deep tissue massage
Knee exercises can help manage knee pain. This includes strengthening exercises that target the muscles that support your knee. When these muscles are healthy and strong, less stress is placed on your knee. Knee stretching is also important. Stretching reduces tension in the surrounding muscles, thereby reducing pressure on the knee joint. Make sure you move slowly. If an exercise causes more pain, stop doing it immediately.
The best treatment for knee pain while bending depends on the cause. A doctor might recommend:
A physical therapist can show you specific exercises for your condition. These exercises are designed to improve strength, mobility, and flexibility in your knee.
Orthopedic insoles are shoe inserts that stabilize the ankle and foot. They can relieve pain by reducing pressure on the knee. Depending on your condition, you can buy a brace at a pharmacy. Alternatively, the doctor can design a custom shoe insole.
If your knee pain is caused by an injury, your doctor may have you wear a brace or cast. This will protect your knee and prevent you from moving it, help relieve pain and allow for healing.
If your condition does not improve with non-surgical treatment, you may need surgery. In general, surgery is only required in severe cases. There are many types of surgery used for knee problems. Here are some examples:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, is a surgery to repair a torn ACL.
- Meniscectomy or meniscus repair, to treat a torn meniscus.
- Total knee replacement.
- Tibial tubercle transfer is a procedure to improve knee stability.
Depending on the cause of your pain, treatment may include a combination of therapies such as rest, medication, physical therapy, and knee braces. In some cases, surgery may be necessary. See your doctor if you experience frequent, persistent, or worsening outer knee pain, especially if it doesn’t improve after a few days of rest or if it interferes with your usual activities. Seek medical attention immediately if you are unable to put weight on your knee or have severe pain, especially if it was caused by a fall, sports injury, or accident.