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Common Conditions 
in Knee Pain

Identifying the cause of your knee pain is crucial for you to choose the best treatment. Some conditions may be milder and can heal with the right home remedies, while others may be more serious and require medical intervention.

 

The following sections explain common knee cartilage and soft tissue issues that may be causing your knee pain.

Arthritis

Knee Osteoarthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis

Knee Ligament Injuries

ACL Tear
MCL Tear
PCL/LCL Tear

Knee Cartilage Injuries

Meniscus Tear

Knee Bursitis

Housemaid Knee
Baker's Cyst
Pes Anserine Bursitis
Infrapatellar Bursitis

Tendinitis

IT Band Syndrome
Hamstring Tendinitis

Patella Injuries

Jumper's Knee
Runner's Knee
Patella Alta
Patella Fracture
Bipartite Patella

Dislocated Patella
Chondronalacia Patella

Muscle Tear/Irritation

Calf Tear
Quad Tear
Hamstring Tear

Others

Knee Gout
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Osteochondritis Dissecans
Quadriceps Tendinopathy

Osgood Schlatter Disease
 

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Common Knee Cartilage Issues

Cartilage is a strong, flexible connective tissue that protects your joints and bones. It surrounds the ends of your bones and cushions the spaces in your joints where bones meet. Cartilage is important because it absorbs shock, reduces friction, and supports structures in your body.

Each of your knees has two C-shaped pieces of cartilage that act like a cushion between your shinbone and your thighbone - this is your meniscus.

A torn meniscus is one of the most common knee injuries. Any activity that causes you to forcefully twist or rotate your knee, especially when putting your full weight on it, can lead to a torn meniscus.

 

A torn meniscus causes pain, swelling and stiffness. You also might feel a block to knee motion and have trouble extending your knee fully.

 

Conservative treatment — such as rest, ice and medication — is sometimes enough to relieve the pain of a torn meniscus and give the injury time to heal on its own. In other cases, however, a torn meniscus requires surgery.

Osteoarthritis of the knee happens when the cartilage in your knee joint breaks down, causing the bones to rub together. The friction makes your knees hurt, become stiff and sometimes swell because there’s not as much cushioning and lubrication as there used to be.

 

There is no cure for osteoarthritis. However, there are therapies which can help ease symptoms and slow down joint degeneration. Mild cases of knee osteoarthritis can be maintained and in some cases improved without surgery.

Common Soft Tissue Knee Injuries

The most common soft tissues injured are muscles, tendons, and ligaments. These injuries often occur during sports and exercise activities, but sometimes simple everyday activities can cause an injury.

 

Soft-tissue injuries fall into two basic categories:

  • Acute injuries: These are caused by a sudden trauma, such as a fall, twist, or blow to the body. Examples include sprains and strains.

  • Overuse injuries: These occur gradually over time when an activity is repeated so often that the body does not have enough time to heal. Examples include tendonitis and bursitis.

Sprains

Knees are one of the most vulnerable body parts to sprains. A sprained knee can result from a sudden twist or a direct blow to the knee.

 

A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, a strong band of connective tissue that connects the end of one bone with another.

 

Ligaments stabilize and support the knee joints. The four main ligaments of the knee most often damaged are:

Sprains are classified by severity:

  1. Grade 1 sprain (mild):  Slight stretching and some damage to the fibers of the ligament.

  2. Grade 2 sprain (moderate):  Partial tearing of the ligament. There is abnormal looseness in the joint when it is moved in certain ways.

  3. Grade 3 sprain (severe):  Complete tear of the ligament. This may cause significant instability.

While the intensity varies, pain, bruising, swelling, and inflammation are common to all three categories of sprains.

 

Treatment for sprains begins with the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compress, elevate) protocol and physical therapy. Moderate sprains often require a period of bracing. The most severe sprains may require surgery to repair torn ligaments.

Tendonitis is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon or the covering of a tendon (called a sheath). It is caused by a series of small stresses that repeatedly aggravate the tendon. Symptoms typically include swelling and pain that worsens with activity.

 

Patellar tendonitis (jumper’s knee) in the knee is an injury to the tendon connecting your kneecap (patella) to your shinbone. The patellar tendon works with the muscles at the front of your thigh to extend your knee so that you can kick, run and jump.

Patellar tendonitis is most common in athletes whose sports involve frequent jumping — such as basketball and volleyball. However, even people who don't participate in jumping sports can get patellar tendonitis.

 

Tendonitis may be treated by rest to eliminate stress, anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, splinting, and exercises to correct muscle imbalance and improve flexibility. Persistent inflammation may cause significant damage to the tendon, which may require surgery.

Bursae, are small, jelly-like sacs that are located throughout the body. They contain a small amount of fluid, acting as cushions to help reduce friction between bones and soft tissues.


Bursitis is inflammation of a bursa. There are several bursae in the knee, but knee bursitis most commonly occurs over the kneecap (prepatellar bursitis) or on the inner side of your knee below the joint (pes anserine bursitis).

Repeated small stresses and overuse can cause bursitis. Many people experience bursitis together with tendonitis. Most cases of knee bursitis result from friction and irritation of the bursa. This occurs in jobs that require a lot of kneeling on hard surfaces. Symptoms usually begin gradually and can worsen over time.

 

Bursitis can usually be relieved with changes in activity and anti-inflammatory medications. If swelling and pain do not respond to these measures, your doctor may recommend removing fluid from the bursa and injecting a corticosteroid medication. Corticosteroid injections usually help relieve pain and swelling.

 

Although surgery is rarely necessary for bursitis, if the bursa becomes infected, an operation to drain the fluid from the bursa may be necessary. If the bursa remains infected or the bursitis returns after all nonsurgical treatments have been tried, your doctor may recommend removal of the bursa.

How HeatPulse & Thermosleeve Can Help

HeatPulse

Heat & Massage

  • For stiffness, tightness, and range of motion

  • For older injuries 

  • Encourages healing

Learn more >

Thermosleeve

Ice & Compression

  • For pain, swelling, and inflammation

  • First 72h after acute injury / flare-up of old injury

  • Provides relief

Learn more >
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HeatPulse 
Knee Massager

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Thermosleeve
Cold Compression Sleeve