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Knee Pain: A Closer Look

The knee joint is one of the larger joints in the body as well as the most commonly injured.

General knee pain

Most knee problems fall into one of these major categories:

  • Ligament injuries
  • Cartilage injuries
  • Overuse problems
  • Degenerative arthritis
  • Fractures/dislocations

Other much less common causes of knee pain could include tumors, infection or nerve related problems.



The knee has four major ligaments

  • Anterior cruciate ligament
  • Posterior cruciate ligament
  • Medial collateral ligament
  • Lateral collateral ligament

These ligaments work together to stabilize your knee. Click here for more information specifically on ligament tears.


There are two types of cartilage present in your knee that can be injured. One, the articular cartilage, is the cartilage that covers the bone. The other cartilage is called the meniscus. You have a medial (inside) and lateral (outside) meniscus. Click here to discover more information about cartilage in your knee.

Overuse problems

Overuse problems, also called pain syndromes, in the knee are common. Depending on your level of activity, you may develop pain that would benefit from further treatments. Please speak with your provider regarding treatment options.

Degenerative arthritis/Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis, may be related to an injury or may develop with advancing age. Other types of arthritis may be related to infection, or an inflammation of the joint lining (Rheumatoid Athritis). There are three compartments that arthritic changes can narrow the joint space, dissolve the articular cartilage and be a source of pain: the medial compartment (inside), the lateral compartment (the outside) or the patellofemoral compartment (the kneecap area). Click here for more information regarding arthritis in the knee.


Fractures and/or dislocations can occur at the knee joint or at the patella (kneecap). In older patients this can from a fall. In younger patients, injuries are often caused by a high energy injury, such as a motor vehicle accident or contact sports injury. Fractures often cause severe pain, swelling, and bruising in or around the knee. Click here to discover more information regarding knee fractures. Click here for more information regarding patellar dislocations.



Click here for some simple things that you can do to reduce your knee pain and swelling.


For more specific information, please check with your provider.


Source and for additional information: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)