Knee pain is a common issue that affects many of us at some point in our life. In some cases, the causes are pretty obvious and come from common knee injuries like twists, overstretching, etc. But what about when you experience seemingly random knee pain and haven’t experienced an injury?
Chronic knee pain is most commonly experienced by individuals over the age of 55, but non-injury knee problems can also affect young adults and children of any age. Despite the fact that the troubles may seem random, the truth is that they are likely associated with an underlying condition.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common ‘random’ knee pain causes, along with some tips for relieving pain.
Bursitis is a very painful condition that can occur in various joints, including the knee, and is most commonly caused by repetitive movements. The wear and tear cause significant discomfort and stress on the knees but it can be reversed if treated quickly.
The condition itself is caused by an irritation to the tiny sacs of fluid (bursae) that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles around the knee joint. This subsequently makes the knee inflamed, which is why you will feel aches and pains; that can feel like a burning sensation.
Symptoms associated with bursitis include aching, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness when putting pressure on the knee.
The root cause of bursitis is the continuous strain put on the knee during repetitive movements. It often responds well to conservative treatment, such as rest, ice, and NSAIDs, and often will resolve on its own over time. Stretching, range of motion exercises, and physiotherapy can also be helpful. However, it should be noted that repeat flare-ups are common and if they persist, you will need to consult with your physician if not already seeking medical advice.
2. Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect the lining of the knee joints when the body attacks its own tissues. It is a form of arthritis that is impossible to reverse but can be treated and managed to remove pain and restore a sense of normal function.
Unlike osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis often affects many joints in the body, which can make the discomfort even greater. It also decreases the range of movement in the affected knee and can exacerbate a number of related conditions.
In addition to the symptoms that affect the knee, such as tenderness, swelling, and stiffness, rheumatoid arthritis may cause fatigue and a loss of appetite.
While anti-inflammatory drugs like NSAIDs are the most common source of medication, severe cases may be treated with steroids. Surgery, including synovectomy and joint fusion, are also semi-frequent solutions while phsiotherapy and at-home biomechanical treatment methods that correct walking patterns can help manage the symptoms.
Tendinitis is a condition caused by inflammation in the tendons of the knee joint. Tendons bind muscle to the bone, which is why discomfort is most common when the knee is being used repetitively over time.
Most individuals characterise their pain as dull aching and tenderness, and the inflammation may produce swelling, too. The repeated strain on the tendons may be due to occupational movements or leisurely activities, but the pains can surface when completing any daily task.
Tendinitis may come and go. Meanwhile, the frequency and level of pain won’t always feel linked to the frequency of movement, which is why the knee pain feels random – but it isn’t.
Tendinitis pain management can include the use of various anti-inflammatory medications, while a period of rest allows the swelling to calm down. Physiotherapy and non-invasive treatments can also be used to retrain the biomechanics of the leg muscles to reduce the stress placed on the knee joint to help prevent future flare-ups.
4. Baker’s cyst
Baker’s cysts, otherwise known as popliteal cysts, are pockets of fluid-filled swelling located at the back of the knee. Due to their positioning, they can severely restrict your movement, which makes living daily life far less comfortable.
In many cases, a Baker’s cyst is a symptom of underlying and untreated knee injuries, such as a cartilage tear. The ball of fluid is actually caused by an increased production of synovial fluid, which is meant to lubricate the knee joint.
Symptoms linked to a Baker’s cyst are swelling behind the knee, stiffness, and restricted movement. In some cases, the discomfort may spread to the calf and other leg muscles.
Treatment for a Baker’s cysts include icing the area. Pain management medications and rest can provide significant relief. While most cysts will heal through self-care, the more severe cases may require fluid draining—although this does not deal with the root cause, so the problem can recur.
5. Gout and pseudogout
Both gout and pseudogout are forms of arthritis. Both issues cause severe pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, and warmth in the joint. Pseudogout is also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease (CPPD), and can cause pain that lasts for days or weeks. Gout pains usually last a few hours but can lower one’s quality of life if the pain is severe.
Gout is caused by uric acid, either due to excessive production or failure to remove it quickly enough by the kidneys. Pseudogout is caused when calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals enter the fluid within the knee, and may be attributed to thyroid issues.
Both conditions can affect one knee, both knees, and other body parts simultaneously. They are most common in people over 55 and/or those who live unhealthy lifestyles. Progressive gout can cause bone destruction and deformity.
Gout is treated with oral xanthine oxidase inhibitors and uricosurics medications, which lower the uric acid levels. Pseudogout may be treated by draining fluid from the joint while NSAIDs and corticosteroid anti-inflammatory drugs can manage the symptoms.
Osteoarthritis is a condition that can be attributed to underlying issues such as obesity, postural problems, or the repercussions of a past injury. Regardless of the root cause, osteoarthritis is characterised by the deterioration of the knee, which causes inflammation and swelling.
Pain occurs when the protective cartilage is worn down over time, meaning that there is no longer a cushion between the bones making up the knee joint. It is, as the name confirms, a form of arthritis. While there is no cure, the pain can be managed.
Pain, stiffness, and swelling may be accompanied by bone spurs, tenderness, and a loss of flexibility in the knee.
Osteoarthritis treatments focus on minimising any discomfort. Several medications, including Acetaminophen and NSAIDs, may be prescribed as well as physiotherapy. While severe cases may require cortisone injections or joint replacement, many patients find the AposTherapy® medical device is a convenient option that provides significant relief and better mobility.
Due to the current situation, we are all looking for a little more comfort and convenience in our lives. The AposTherapy® medical device can be worn in the home to correct walking patterns and provide relief to those suffering from knee pain. It is important to address the causes of your knee pain so you can get proper treatment and live your life with less pain.
If you would like more information on our clinically proven, drug-free alternative for relieving knee pain, click below to learn more.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. If you are suffering from knee and joint pain, please consult with your doctor before undergoing any treatment plan.