Knees are one of the most important parts of a human body that facilitate smooth movement. Proper functioning of the knees is critical for mobility of legs and daily activates such as walking. The knee is a joint that has three compartments. The thigh bone (femur) meets the large shin bone (tibia) forming the main knee joint. The patella, or knee cap, is also part of the normal knee anatomy. The ends of the femur and tibia and underside of the patella are covered by articular cartilage, a slippery surface which allows friction-free, pain free movement.
The knee flexes normally to a maximum of 135 degrees and extends to 0 degrees. The bursae, or fluid-filled sacs, serve as gliding surfaces for the tendons to reduce the force of friction as these tendons move. The knee is a weight-bearing joint. Each meniscus serves to evenly load the surface during weight-bearing and also aids in disbursing joint fluid for joint lubrication.
Causes of knee joint pain can include factors such as injury to ligaments, tendonitis, fractures etc. Injury can affect any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the knee joint and can also affect the ligaments, cartilage, meniscus and bones forming the joint.
The knee joint is the most commonly involved joint in rheumatic diseases, such as arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis. Baker Cyst is also a common cause of pain at the back of the knee. Chondromalacia is a softening of the cartilage under the kneecap (patella and is a common cause of deep knee pain and stiffness in younger women and can be associated with pain and stiffness after prolonged sitting and climbing stairs or hills. Bursitis of the knee is another knee joint pain that occurs on the inside of the knee and the front of the kneecap. Dislocation of knee cap is another serious knee joint pain and occurs when the triangular bone covering the knee (patella) moves or slides out of place. The displacement usually occurs toward the outside of the leg.
Anti-inflammatory medications, ice packs, adequate rest to the knee joints, cortisone medications, as well as exercise therapy to develop the musculature of the front of the thigh can all provide long term relief for knee joint pain. In extreme cases where the pain is chronic surgery can be an option that can include knee replacement surgery, suturing, grafting, and synthetic graft repair.