Why do I have knee pain?

To get a better idea of why your knee hurts, let’s take a look at how it works. Your knee is the largest joint in your body and it works a lot like a hinge. Three bones come together to form the joint: the lower end of the thigh bone (the femur), the upper end of the shin bone (the tibia), and then the knee cap (the patella) right above where the long bones meet. Tough bands called ligaments help keep everything in place and stable.

Cartilage provides cushioning, keeps bones from rubbing together, and absorbs the shock of walking, running, and jumping. Your body also produces a natural lubricating fluid called synovium that minimizes friction in the joint. When everything is working smoothly, you don’t have to think about the mechanics of your knee. When something’s wrong, it can feel debilitating.

Understanding arthritis

Your knee pain may be due to chronic swelling or inflammation in the joint – most often referred to as arthritis. Below are common forms of arthritis associated with knee pain.

With osteoarthritis, the cushioning cartilage at the end of the femur may have worn down, making walking painful as bone rubs against bone.

With rheumatoid arthritis, sometimes called inflammatory arthritis, a person’s immune system attacks the joints with uncontrolled inflammation, potentially causing joint erosion.

With post-traumatic arthritis, a less common form of arthritis, a broken or fractured bone extends into the joint space, causing the surface to become uneven. Over time, friction causes the joint to break down and become arthritic

Dr. Siva Chandrasekaran - Hip and Knee Specialist

At your first appointment, your Dr. Chandrasekaran will likely ask you about when and where your knee hurts to assess what’s going on. He’ll ask you to bend and turn to replicate the movements that may be causing you pain. Dr. Chandrasekaran may also ask you to have an additional diagnostic test, like an X-ray or an MRI.

Pain relief doesn’t always mean surgery. Dr. Chandrasekaran may recommend a combination of treatments to alleviate your pain and help you get moving again.

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