Getting to the bottom of chronic knee pain — and ultimately getting the best care — comes down to the diagnosis. Treating arthritis-driven joint pain, for instance, is altogether different from addressing a ligament issue. In other words, understanding the cause of your knee pain is the first step toward healing. Here are five common culprits.

1. Arthritis 

Osteoarthritis, also known as OA, is one of the leading causes of knee pain in the U.S. The Arthritis Foundation reports one in two adults will indeed experience symptoms of knee OA at one point or another. Typically described as “wear and tear” arthritis, OA is a degenerative joint disease that gets worse over time. It’s characterized by a breaking down of the protective cartilage called menisci that cushions the space between the bones. When this happens, the result is usually swelling, pain and immobility.

2. Meniscus Issues 

Remember that protective cartilage we just mentioned? Osteoarthritis isn’t the only thing that can wear it down. Injury or overuse can also wreak havoc on the knee’s menisci (the plural of meniscus). If this rubbery material, which essentially serves as a shock absorber, gets torn or inflamed, pain is likely in your future. It also might make it especially difficult to straighten the knee.

3. Runner’s Knee

Don’t be fooled by the name. Runner’s knee (a.k.a. patellofemoral pain syndrome) isn’t limited to just runners. It can affect anyone who regularly overuses the knee by bending it repeatedly. This is why high-stress exercises, like running, are often behind it. Sustaining a direct blow to the knee can also do the trick, according to WebMD. Pain when bending the knee is the most common symptom.

4. An Injured Ligament

Our knees are made up of more than just bone and menisci. There’s also a whole network of ligaments in place that work to stabilize the bones and keep the joint steady and secure. Ligament injuries can happen in a number of ways, like twisting the knee sharply, for example, or suffering a direct impact. A classic symptom of a torn ligament is feeling pain when you try to turn or twist it.

5. A Problem with the Knee Cap

Your patella, formally known as your knee cap, is the bone that sits in front of the knee. Patella issues, like a dislocated kneecap, are actually a common cause of knee pain. If dislocation isn’t the problem, something called patellofemoral pain syndrome, which causes discomfort between the kneecap and the thighbone, may be to blame.

In search of knee pain treatments in Montgomery or Prattville? Regardless of what’s causing your knee pain, Health Star Clinic specializes in non-surgical pain management. Our comprehensive knee pain treatment program is tailored to each individual patient and is focused on building up strength and balance without invasive procedures and unnecessary surgery. Contact us today!