Knee Pain: Causes and Treatment

pain in the knee joint

Severe knee pain means there is a problem with the joint. The peculiarity of the knee joint is that it takes on the main load during movement and physical exertion, and therefore it is often injured. The affected knee is difficult to fix, so it is very important to take timely measures to eliminate the cause of the pain.

main reasons

Causes of knee pain can be:

  1. Injuries (acute injuries).They are the most common cause. They appear after a strong blow, excessive bending of the joint and a sharp fall on it. With a mechanical injury, there is severe pain, swelling, tingling, numbness, the color of the skin in the joint area changes.
  2. Osteoarthritis (gonarthrosis)is the destruction of the tissue of the joint. Gonarthrosis is primary and secondary. The primary disease affects older people, while the secondary disease causes the consequences of injury or is a complication of other diseases (e. g. , rheumatoid arthritis). Symptoms: pain and stiffness in the joint. With a long course of gonarthrosis, movements in the joint can become impossible.
  3. Arthritis (Gonarthritis)- inflammatory disease. Special features: increasing pain when moving, joint enlargement, fever in the affected knee, occasional reddening.
  4. meniscopathy- Damage to the meniscus, which manifests itself as severe pain. Without proper treatment, a transition to a chronic form is possible, as a result of which arthrosis develops.
  5. vascular diseases. Thrombosis or embolism (blockage) in the arteries supplying the knee joint leads to osteonecrosis of the articular cartilage and makes walking impossible. There are no effective treatments for osteonecrosis. Arthroplasty of the affected joint is performed.
  6. periarthritis- This is inflammation of the joint sac and the tissue that surrounds it. With periarthritis, pain occurs in the region of the knee joint without a clear localization. Periarthritis is most often a post-traumatic complication.
  7. bursitisis an inflammation of the joint cavity (bursa). Bursitis can be caused by overuse of the joint, infection, or injury. With this disease, severe constant pain is noted, but freedom of movement is preserved.
  8. tendinitisIt is inflammation of the ligaments and tendons. Symptoms include swelling and pain in the affected area. They increase with flexion-extension of the knees. Persistent symptoms of tendinitis indicate tendinosis.
  9. Baker's cyst- This is a complication after trauma, gonarthrosis or hemarthrosis. A Baker's cyst is a collection of synovial fluid in the popliteal sac. The pathology is characterized by pain when bending the knee and discomfort during movement. To avoid complications, it is highly recommended not to squat.
  10. Osteomyelitis of the leg bonesis a purulent infectious disease that is a consequence of hematogenous osteomyelitis, an open fracture or a postoperative complication. The most common infectious agents are staphylococci.
knee pain

varieties of pain

There are such types of pain in the knee:

  1. While squatting. It is usually caused by joint disease, viral infections, lack of exercise, and poor diet. seen in athletes. If your knees hurt when squatting, the exercises should be stopped. If the pain is persistent and frequent, you should consult a doctor.
  2. When bending the legs. This is one of the most common joint problems. It is observed in Osgood-Schlatter disease, damage to ligaments and meniscus, Baker's cyst, infectious lesions, etc. When pain occurs, it is necessary to limit the load on the leg, play sports and wear comfortable orthopedic shoes.
  3. After the race. Associated with diseases such as arthrosis, bursitis, synovitis, etc. In this case, the normal functioning of the joint ceases, and under heavy loads it begins to collapse. It is necessary to treat these diseases in a timely manner, otherwise a complete loss of motor functions is possible.
  4. crunch. If there is no swelling, pain and stiffness in the movement then there is nothing to worry about. However, this symptom can be caused by a dangerous disease - arthrosis, in which the articular cartilage is damaged and severe pain occurs. It is very important to start treatment of this disease in a timely manner.


You can diagnose the cause of pain in the following ways:

  1. General blood analysis. Allows detection of anemia, leukocytosis, etc.
  2. blood chemistry. Detects an increase in uric acid in gout.
  3. X-ray examination. This method allows you to detect the pathology of bone tissue. With its help, fractures, osteomyelitis and arthrosis are diagnosed. X-ray examinations are supplemented by computed tomography (CT). Menisci, ligaments, bursae, and other soft tissues are not visible on X-rays and CT scans.
  4. MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), NMRI (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging). This is modern research. With its help, the pathology of the soft tissues of the joint (menisci, ligaments, etc. ) is diagnosed.
  5. Puncture biopsy of the bone. It is performed when osteomyelitis or bone tuberculosis is suspected.
  6. arthroscopy. It is carried out both for diagnosis and for treatment, for example in the case of a meniscus injury.
  7. Ultrasound (ultrasound scan). This is a screening study conducted for suspected traumatic injuries, osteoarthritis, meniscus disease, etc. Ultrasound results must be verified by X-ray (CT) and/or MRI.
Immobilization of the knee joint in case of pain


Treatment should be comprehensive and include both conservative methods and surgical intervention. Let's take a closer look at them:

conservative methods

During an exacerbation, treatment should relieve pain and swelling, and then restore normal joint mobility. In the initial period after an injury, it is not recommended to move around without assistance.

The basis of treatment is anti-inflammatory therapy. It involves the use of the following funds: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, pyrazolone derivatives, indoleacetic acid derivatives, oxicams, glucocorticoids.

To strengthen the immune system, the following procedures are prescribed: cryopheresis, plasmapheresis, hemosorption, plasma filtration, immunostimulants.

The specific drug and method of treatment are selected by the attending physician.

Conservative treatment also includes ice compresses on the damaged area to relieve pain or hot compresses to improve blood microcirculation.

In hemarthrosis, the joint is punctured and blood accumulated from trauma is removed.

Conservative treatment also includes physiotherapeutic methods: massage, remedial gymnastics and spa rehabilitation. If necessary, the doctor will prescribe a special diet that provides for a limited calorie content.

Chondroprotectors are used to nourish cartilage and reduce destructive processes.

The most common methods of physiotherapy are magnetotherapy, laser therapy, cryotherapy, acupuncture.

With gonarthrosis, special shoes and knee pads - orthoses are used. These shoes help normalize gait, and knee pads fix the diseased joint.

Surgical intervention

If the required stability of the joint cannot be achieved after conservative treatment, surgical intervention is indicated.

The most common surgical techniques are arthroscopy and endoprosthetics.

Arthroscopy is a technique that can relieve pain in a joint and increase its mobility. This method of treatment not only eliminates the underlying disease, but also allows you to introduce drugs into the joint cavity that reduce inflammation.

doctor's advice

A pronounced therapeutic effect in osteoarthritis of the 2nd and even 3rd stage has hyaluronic acid preparations administered intra-articularly. The introduction of hyaluronic acid is considered an alternative to endoprosthetics when this is not possible due to therapeutic contraindications. This is a medical manipulation, it has contraindications.

Arthroscopy for knee pain

The technique is performed with such problems:

  • damage to the meniscus and cartilage;
  • torn ligaments;
  • the presence of foreign objects in the joint;
  • Rheumatoid arthritis;
  • intra-articular fractures.

During postoperative rehabilitation, it is recommended to strictly follow medical recommendations, performing therapeutic exercises to avoid inappropriately early loading of the limb.

Endoprosthetics (arthroplasty) is an operation in which the damaged parts of the knee joint are replaced with an artificial implant (endoprosthesis).

More than 95% of insurable endoprostheses function for 10-15 years and then have to be replaced. Today, far from all regions, the replacement of an endoprosthesis, in contrast to the first operation, can be issued through compulsory health insurance. Not all patients can undergo a second operation after 10-15 years due to cardiovascular and other somatic risks. Therefore, it is not worth rushing with endoprosthetics. I recommend resorting to this surgery only when all other treatment options have been exhausted.

Endoprosthetics is performed when restoring painless function of the knee joint is not possible with conservative methods and with the help of arthroscopy. Purulent complications are possible after endoprosthetics. Antibiotics are prescribed for their prevention. Long-term rehabilitation of the patient (up to 6 months) is required after endoprosthetics.

home remedies

Folk remedies can be helpful in relieving pain, but they should be done in parallel with traditional treatments.

When using folk remedies, be sure to consult a doctor.

Let's look at some popular methods:

  1. Ointment. For knee pain, prepare 1 tbsp. l. St. John's wort and 2 tbsp. l. Yarrow, crushing them. Melt 1 tbsp in a water bath. l. Vaseline. The grass is poured into hot petroleum jelly and ground into a homogeneous mass. This ointment should be rubbed on sore knees at night.
  2. Mixture based on rye seeds. You should take 250 g of rye seeds, pour them with 2 liters of water and boil. After the mixture has cooled, it is filtered and added to it 500 g of vodka, 1 kg of honey and 3 teaspoons. barberry root. The mixture is thoroughly stirred and left in a dark place for 21 days. It is recommended to use a mixture of 3 tbsp. l. before the meal. During the period of treatment it is necessary to drink 9 liters of the mixture.
knee pain how to treat

If you have knee pain, don't panic. However, if the pain persists for a long time, you should definitely consult a doctor. This will avoid many problems.