Knee Pain

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Knee Pain Diagnosis

Causes of knee pain

Knee pain diagnosis is important for management and proper resolution of knee pain. Troublesome knee pain is common amongst athletes, teenagers and adults alike. Roughly 10-15% of the population will suffer knee pain, while knee pain makes up about 5% of all medical visits.

Causes of knee pain are usually grouped between traumatic (distinct) or non-traumatic (indistinct). Traumatic injuries usually result in a very focal injury which may damage ligaments, menisci or bone. Overuse and non-traumatic pain usually affects the soft tissues and can be more elusive. These include patellofemoral pain syndrome and iliotibial band syndrome (ITB syndrome).

The location of the pain can help you figure out what the problem is. Lateral knee pain has many different causes based on the structures affected. Pain behind the knee has many different causes as well.

A full exam is necessary to figure out the cause of knee pain. The insidious knee pain can be a result of poor biomechanics caused by weak or tight muscles at other areas of the body like the hip or ankles. Knee injury symptoms can give you clues as to what the injury is, what caused it, and how long it will take to heal.


Runners Knee – is knee pain at the front of the knee. It is also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome. Typically this is found in athletes, and caused by patellar (knee cap) tracking problems.

Osteoarthritis Knee Pain – typically in the elderly patient with knee pain and stiffness.

Osgood Schlatter Disease – this is seen in younger athletes. They experience pain and stiffness at the front of the knee below the knee cap and tendon. Often a large bump can be felt on the shin.

Osteochondritis dissecans – causes pain on the inside of the knee. Pain is usually of gradual onset and aggravated by weightbearing. This is caused by loss of blood supply to an area of the bone.

ACL tear – the most common way is a twisting injury of the knee. People will complain of swelling and a feeling of instability or giving way.

Meniscus Tear – can result in painful locking or clicking of the knee.

Iliotibial band Syndrome – most commonly experienced by runners. Pain is felt on the outside of the knee, and may start halfway through a run and cause pain and burning.

Jumper’s Knee – is an overuse injury of the patellar (knee cap) tendon. Pain is felt below the knee cap with deep knee bends and with activity.


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