The largest joint in the body, the knee is made up of the lower end of the thigh bone (femur), which rotates on the upper end of the shin bone (tibia), and the knee cap (patellae), which slides in a groove on the end of the femur. Large ligaments attach to the femur and tibia to provide stability. Individuals need normal knee function to perform everyday activities. Because the knee is a weight-bearing joint, overweight individuals are more prone to knee pain.
How does knee pain develop?
Like all types of joint pain, knee pain can appear either suddenly, with acute pain, or be chronic (long lasting). The most common cause of chronic knee pain and disability is osteoarthritis, although other forms of arthritis can be culprits as well, including rheumatoid arthritis, traumatic arthritis and gouty arthritis. Osteoarthritis afflicts most of us as we age, steadily wearing away the smooth and resilient cartilage that caps the ends of our long bones and is essential to normal joint function. Other causes of knee pain include pseudogout, bursitis, tendonitis, sports injuries, degenerative joint disease and chondromalacia patellae. Referred pain, which occurs when a ligament injury or weakness in one part of the body causes pain in another part, may also be involved.
What are the symptoms of knee pain?
Individuals with minor knee pain, clicking, giving way or a "trick knee" usually are experiencing the earliest symptoms of arthritis. Osteoarthritis can begin in those as young as thirty, and may progress for many years before symptoms appear. In advanced stages, the condition may lead to either a "bowlegged" or "knock-kneed" appearance.
Acute knee pain usually occurs as a result of an injury. When acute knee pain is accompanied by significant inflammation and swelling, it may be a case of gout or, rarely, infection. Sometimes acute knee pain represents a temporary flare-up of chronic osteoarthritis.
Conventional medical treatments may help relieve the symptoms of knee pain but they do not address the root of the problem. By strengthening structural weaknesses in the knee, as natural medicine therapies like Prolotherapy do, chronic knee pain may be alleviated permanently.