Common Knee Injuries

Most patients with knee pain have a ligament sprain, a ligament tear, a cartilage defect, a meniscus or “cartilage” tear, loose bodies, or osteoarthritis.  There are many other less common causes of knee pain.

Many knee injuries will subside over 3-5 days,  if you have a minor strain.  Many knee injuries do not require a trip to your doctor, but you can always call to see if your symptoms warrant a visit.  If you have severe pain that persists despite Rest, Ice, Compression (gentle) and Elevation (RICE) then you should consider seeing your doctor.

Worrisome Knee Complaints:

If you have a sustained a knee injury and feel as if the knee is unstable, have severe swelling that does not improve with “RICE”, have fever, sweats or chills, or find it impossible to fully straighten your knee— these are signs of a potentially more severe injury that warrants earlier attention.

Common Knee Complaints:

Different causes of knee pain will present in different ways.  Many people have clicking in the knee — and have not sustained an injury.  This can usually be ignored.  Painful clicking or catching — or certainly the feeling that the knee is giving way warrants a visit to your doctor.

Jumpers knee, westchester County, NY
Jumper’s Knee

Knee injuries which results from overuse include tendonitis such as runners knee, or jumpers knee.  This involves inflammation of the tendons around the knee.  The pain usually occurs while running or jumping — is usually at the bottom of your kneecap or on the outer side of your knee (runner’s knee).  These symptoms tend to worsen the longer you run or play basketball, etc.  The pain is typically dull and deep, but occasionally sharp.  Ice and rest will usually lead to resolution.  If your symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, your orthopedist may recommend physical therapy or injections to assist you on your road to recovery from your knee injury.

ITB syndrome, Westchester County, NY
ITB Friction Syndrome copyright MMG

Pain because of a meniscus or cartilage tear may present with “mechanical” symptoms such as catching and giving way.  Arthritis, or loss of cartilage in the knee may present with stiffness and pain when walking — and progress to severe pain when walking — which ultimately can significantly affect your quality of life.

A knee injury which results in a ligament tear will initially present with a pop, then swelling… Most patients with a ligament injury will find it difficult to walk because of pain.  When the swelling and initial discomfort subsides, many people with knee ligament injuries will complain of instability or giving way.



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About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

2 comments on “What are some common causes of knee pain?

  • Great video; very informative. What about anterior lateral pain? No pain for an hour or more, then intense pain for a minute or two…no pattern to pain episodes, which occur at any time, including when sleeping or resting. MRI shows only ‘intrasubstance degeneration posterior horn medial meniscus…no evidence for overt tear’ and a small Baker’s cyst. Possible that the pain is caused by irritation to the peroneal nerve?

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