Chondromalacia patella is synonymous with patellofemoral pain syndrome, otherwise known as Runner’s Knee. It is the most common producer of knee pain. It is a condition characterized by dull pain around the front of the kneecap, your patella, where it articulates with the end of the thigh bone, your femur. The pain of chondromalacia patella is aggravated by activity or prolonged sitting with bent knees. It is caused by the deep surface of the patella rubbing against the end of the femur inside your knee joint. The reason this happens is because of something called abnormal tracking of the patella, which means that the muscles in your thigh are pulling on your kneecap improperly.
- Pain in and around the kneecap during activity or prolonged sitting
- Occasional weakness or a feeling of instability in the knee
- Rubbing, grinding, or clicking sound of the kneecap that can be heard at times when the knee is bent and straightened
- Kneecap feels tender and sensitive to touch
Jumper’s knee, also known as patellar tendinitis, is caused by inflammation of the patellar tendon. The patellar tendon connects from the bottom of the kneecap to the top shin bone (tibia). The condition may be caused by overuse of the knee joint, such as repetitive jumping on hard surfaces, which is how the condition got its name. However, you can also get it from running or walking on hard surfaces, too. It is commonly misdiagnosed as Osgood-Schlatter Disease.
- Pain and tenderness around the patellar tendon
- Pain with jumping, running, or walking
- Pain with bending or straightening the leg
Osgood-Schlatter Disease is most common in adolescents, especially if they’re active in sports. It is an overuse injury of the knee where the patellar tendon is pulling on the growth plate of the top of the shin bone. During this stage in development, the bones grow faster than the muscles. If a kid is being active during this stage in growth, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments will feel tight while the bones continue to grow.
- Tenderness below the knee
- Swelling below the knee
- Limping (may worsen following jumping activities)
- Bony growth at the top of the shin bone under the kneecap
Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is caused by inflammation to a band of fibrous connective tissue called the iliotibial (IT) band. It is an overuse injury common to runners, hikers, and cyclists. ITBS is characterized by pain over the outside of the knee joint at the lateral epicondyle, which is the at the end of the femur. In this area, the IT band crosses bone and muscle over a bursa, which is a fluid filled sac that allows for smooth gliding of tissues over and under each other. However, when the IT band or bursa becomes inflamed, the ability for soft tissue to glide decreases and pain upon motion takes place.
- Tenderness on the outside the knee and lower thigh
- Swelling or heat
- Limping (may worsen following repetitive motion activities, like cycling, running, or walking)
- Popping or snapping sensation while walking on the outside of the thigh near the knee during activity
Upholding much of the weight of the body is shared between the knee joints. A majority of people have unequal leg lengths and postural imperfections, which means that the stress on the knees is not shared equally between the two. However, obesity is the primary cause of osteoarthritis in the knees. Obesity negatively impacts every joint throughout the body, especially the knees. Just ten pounds has been proven to add a minimum of 30 pounds and up to 60 pounds of force on the knee. Studies by the Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center have shown that women are four times more likely to develop osteoarthritis when obese as opposed to carrying a normal weight. Just like anything else that takes more stress than it is designed to, over time, the knees can succumb to wear and tear of the cartilage and bone.
- Grinding of the joint when in motion
- Joint pain in wet weather
- Swollen joints
- Limited movement of joints
- Morning stiffness