Published on Apr 06, 2017 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018 - 3 min read
Knee pain in front of the knee in young people is becoming common. This article provides some educational material on causes of it, treatment and preventive methods.
The most common location of knee pain in young adults is at the front of the knee joint. The problem usually arises from patella (Knee cap bone) and surrounding soft tissue.
Knee cap (Patella) is a small bone which lies in front of lower end of thigh bone (Femur). The back side of knee cap is lined by smooth tissue called cartilage. This covering helps the patella to glide in a groove on the lower end of thigh bone. The knee cap is held on the top by thigh muscles (Quadriceps) and lower part is connected to the shin bone by Patellar tendon. Function of knee cap is to aid knee movement and stabilize knee joint while walking.
There are many theories suggesting softening and micro injuries to this lining resulting in pain. It could be due to repetitive micro trauma during falls, or vigorous unaccustomed exercises etc. Abnormal position of knee cap over the knee joint with or without weak ligaments may also damage the cartilage lining. As cartilage lining gets softened and roughened it may cause pain and crepitus (clicks and sounds) over the knee cap. Obesity makes the condition worse.
Orthopaedician can make diagnosis based on your symptoms and examining the knee. Grating sensation behind knee cap might give us some idea of the roughness of patella when you tighten the knee cap muscles.
Some times there may be a little swelling the joint.
This condition generally improves over a period with some changes in the life style. But in some patients, symptoms persist for several years.
Analgesics (Pain Killers): Simple pain killers like Paracetomol and tramadol may be sufficient in most of the cases. Sometimes anti inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) may be necessary for a short period.
Nutritional supplements to cartilage lining like Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM and collagen peptides can be taken for 2 to 3 months which may relieve the symptoms.
In some unresponsive cases Intra articular Hyaluronic injections can help. They act by providing lubrication between joint surfaces and help to nourish cartilage lining of knee cap.
Strengthening the anterior thigh muscles (Quadriceps) and muscles around the knee cap (VMO) helps to keep knee cap in right position.
Surgical management is last resort in severe or unresponsive patients. It can be performed with arthroscope (Key hole surgery). The principle is to smoothen the rough surface of the back of knee cap. In some cases where there are large defects in the cartilage, multiple drill holes into the bone may help regrow some cartilage. Now a days we are combining this procedure with stem cell treatment in selective cases.
Dos & DON’Ts:
What Is the Prognosis?
Prognosis in these cases is usually good. Severity of symptoms may vary from time to time and patient may have good and bad days. Maintaining ideal body weight with exercises to strengthen the knee muscles plays a key role in the recovery. There are no serious side effects with any of the nutritional supplements and one can use them without any hesitation.
Query: Hello doctor, I am a mother of a 14 year old son. Over the past couple of months, my son has severe knee pains daily. He has vitamin D deficiency, which I have been told may cause it. The pain usually starts after being in one position for too long. It only lasts for about a minute but the pain is ... Read Full >>
Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. The symptoms you suggested point towards chondromalacia patella, which happens to be due to the softening of cartilage behind the knee cap. I suggest you try taking the following. Tablet Ibuprofen 400 mg, twice a day for ten days after food. Tablet Rabeprazole 20 mg, tw... Read Full
Query: Hi doctor, I am a 24 year old female. My height is 5'5" and weight is 58 kg. I am a cyclist and, to a lesser extent, a runner. For the past one week, I have been getting pain in the back of my left knee. It hurts when I walk and not just doing sport. It is the movement of pushing off from the groun... Read Full >>
Answer: Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com. From your description, it appears that you may have anterior knee pain which sometimes presents as pain at the back of the knee. The second possibility is that you have over done your exercise and hamstrings are sore and the lower end of the knee cap is inflamed. Eith... Read Full
Query: Hello doctor, There is dull knee pain while standing and walking for one month. What can be the cause of this? Read Full >>
Answer: Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com. Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. Knee pain may be the result of an injury or some other medical conditions including arthritis, patellar tendinitis, ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury, knee bursitis, torn meniscus, gout, and infe... Read Full
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