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Knee PAin

What is knee pain, and what causes it?

Knee pain is a common condition that can be the result of a variety of causes. While the symptoms of knee pain may vary depending on the cause, common symptoms include knees that are red, warm and swollen, stiff with reduced mobility (may be unable to straighten), weak and unstable, or producing noises like popping or crunching sounds.

While there are many types of injuries and diseases that can result in knee pain, some of the more common causes include*:

  • Chondromalacia: Often caused by overuse, misalignment, muscular weakness, or injury, this condition results in the softening and breakdown of cartilage of the kneecap. This condition is common in young adults, runners, skiers, cyclists, and soccer players. Symptoms often include a dull pain that worsens when weight is placed on the knee as it straightens, such as while climbing down stairs or hills.

  • Meniscal injuries: The menisci of the knee can become torn when you rotate your knee while putting weight on your leg (such as during sports like tennis or basketball). Often, meniscal damage can leave your knee feeling painful when straightened, and swollen. Your knee may also feel weak, lock, give-way, or making clicking sounds.

  • Cruciate ligament injuries: Often referred to as a sprain, sudden twisting motions and direct impact can result in this kind of injury. Your knee may give-way when you stand on it and you may hear a popping sound.

  • Medial and lateral collateral ligament: This kind of injury is common in contact sports, such as football or hockey. It is often the result of a blow to the outer side of the knee. Pain and swelling often occur with this injury. You may also find your knee makes a popping noise and buckles sideways when you put weight on it.

  • Tendon injuries: Overusing a tendon, as can occur during repeated activities, such as cycling, running, or dancing, can stretch the tendon and cause it to become inflamed. The repeated force of hitting the ground can also stress the tendon, which can occur with sports like basketball. Tendonitis and tears are painful and will make walking, jumping, and running difficult. Tears in particular often cause severe limited mobility of the knee.

  • Osgood-Schlatter disease: Common in young and active individuals, such as those involved in running and jumping activities, this disease is the result of tension or repetitive stress to the upper tibia. Often it results in pain below the knee that is made worse with activity, and resolves with rest. It may also result in a bump below the kneecap.

  • Lliotibial band syndrome: This syndrome is often the result of long-term overuse and stress, such as in runners. It is an inflammatory condition. It can cause a burning pain in the side of the knee, that may radiate up the leg.

  • Osteochondritis dissecans: This can result from a lack of blood flow to an area of bone beneath a joint surface. This is often a spontaneous condition that affects young, active adults or adolescents. It can cause sharp knee pain, weakness, and locking.

  • Plica syndrome: This syndrome occurs when the plicae tissue of the knee become irritated, usually by injury or overuse. This leads to knee locking, clicking, weakness, pain, and swelling.

  • * Dr. Scholl’s products are not indicated for the following knee pain conditions caused by:

    chondromalacia, meniscal injuries, cruciate ligament injuries, medial and lateral collateral ligament injuries, Osgood Schlatter disease, iliotibial band syndrome, osteochondritis dissecans, plica syndrome. Speak with your doctor for help in determining which Dr. Scholl’s product is right for you.

Image of the outside of a bare leg with a red line joining the knee to the foot