What Causes Knee Pain?

The Two Basic Reasons Why Your Knees Hurt

Injury, or simply wear and tear over time.

We can say that knee discomfort boils down to two factors: Injury; and wear and tear. However, there are various aspects of this to be considered. We’ve all seen on TV how some  player goes down, and either hobbles off the field or is carried off. Injury can occur quickly, as in twisting the knee in various activities. You may have heard the joke about the orthopedic surgeon, who looks forward to ski season, when he can treat all the ski injuries and finance a trip to Bermuda, for example.Sports injury

Another problem is mechanical difficulties with the knee, that are injuries that take place over time, for example, due to excessive weight, or overcompensating for pain in another joint. A friend of mine broke his hip in a motorcycle accident. He got a hip replacement, but the end result was that to compensate for pain in his hip, he transferred the stress to his knee, resulting in all his knee cartilage getting ground down to the bone. Ouch!

That is an example of a combination of injury and wear and tear. When I say ‘wear and tear’, it manifests as ‘my knee hurts’ and is usually diagnosed as some form of arthritis. In short, there are myriad causes of knee pain.

wear and tear of cartilage ina joint.

See the frayed cartilage inside the joint.

However, what are the underlying causes for knee pain especially that which develops over time? Nowadays, the world population and certainly in the West and specifically in the United States has seem a noticeable rise in obesity. There are, of course, several other causes of knee pain. Lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle, previous injury that goes untreated, and overuse in stressful sports, like basketball, skiing, which often puts lots of twisting and jerking risk to the knee.

Obesity is bad for health, especially knees

Painful knees is just one result of being overweight.

One of the biggest causes of knee pain is arthritis, which is related to several subcategories. Basically arthritis means inflamed joint. And there are several causes and specific names of those conditions. For a more detail explanation of the various causes of knee pain, you can check out the other articles on this site. The Mayo Clinic also has useful information on this topic.

For a discussion of common knee problems, watch this video.