Knee ailments can occur due to various reasons such as sports injuries, arthritis, overuse, or degenerative diseases. As knees are responsible for bearing weight and facilitating movement, they are prone to injuries, causing discomfort and pain. While some knee injuries can be treated with simple remedies like rest, ice, and elevation, others may require medical attention or surgery. Hence, it is crucial to identify the type of injury you have to get the right treatment. Let’s explore four of the most common knee injuries, their causes, symptoms, and possible treatment options.
1. Possible Condition: Osteoarthritis
- Causes And Symptoms: osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by the degeneration of cartilage and the bones of the knee itself. It is common if you’re over the age of 50 and is caused by the wearing down of joints over your lifetime. In addition to knees hurting when going down stairs, other symptoms include swelling, stiffness, pain, reduction in movement, and grinding noises.
- Treatment: currently there is no exact treatment for arthritis however, there are ways to reduce symptoms. Common treatment methods include heating or ice, working out, knee braces, weight loss, medication, and always leading with your stronger leg when walking down stairs.
2. Possible Condition: Chondromalacia Patella
- Causes And Symptoms: the cause of Chondromalacia Patella is damage to the cartridge of the knee specifically in the back of the joint. Symptoms include pain, swelling around the kneecap and joint noises such as grinding or clicks. It is commonly found in young patients and can be caused by flat feet, extensive use of the leg, a muscular imbalance, of the kneecap itself not sitting right.
- Treatment: common treatment methods you may use include increased stretching, exercises, knee braces (strap types), shoe inserts, ice, standard pain medications, and in extreme situations surgery is an option. It is important to note that unlike arthritis you can recover from Chondromalacia Patella however, this is a long recovery time and can take several months.
3. Possible Condition: Pes Anserine Bursitis
- Causes And Symptoms: this condition is named after the part of your body it affects the pes anserine bursa. The pes anserine bursa is a small sack filled with fluid that reduces the friction between your knees bones and tendons. This inflation is visible on the inner side of your knee a few inches below the knee joint. This condition causes your knee to hurt when going down stairs (going up stairs is noted to hurt more) and makes sleeping on your side quite painful. Common suffers of this condition include swimmers, runners, and people who are overweight with women being more common.
- Treatment: methods of treatment are common for joint issues and include increased stretching, ice, resting the joint, exercises, and physical therapy if needed. More extreme symptoms may require medical injections from your doctor or in rare cases corrective surgery.
4. Possible Condition: Runners Knee
- Causes And Symptoms: lastly, is runner’s knee the most common cause of your knee hurting going down stairs. It is also one of the most common knee issues with sports clinics reporting it as accounting for 25% of all knee ailments they encounter. This condition occurs due to the kneecap putting too much strain on the knee’s cartilage due to tight muscles, weak muscles, flat-footedness, and other physical causes. Symptoms include grinding noises, mild pain, and low amounts of swelling.
- Treatment: methods of treatment are easy and can be done at home. Your options include ice, stretching, strengthening exercises, over the counter pain medication, braces, rest, orthotics, and simply moving around more. In rare cases, surgery may be required but this is far from common.
5. Possible Cause: Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS)
When the iliotibial band (ITB) becomes tight, it can rub against the outer part of the knee, leading to pain and discomfort. ITBS is common among runners and can occur due to overuse or improper training techniques. In addition to pain when going downstairs, other symptoms of ITBS include pain on the outer part of the knee, swelling, and a clicking or popping sound when bending the knee. Treatment options for ITBS include rest, stretching, strengthening exercises, and wearing a knee brace or compression sleeve.
6. Possible Cause: Meniscus tear
A meniscus tear can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness when the piece of cartilage that cushions the knee joint tears. Meniscus tears can occur due to a sudden twisting or bending motion, such as during sports or other physical activities. In addition to pain when going downstairs, other symptoms of a meniscus tear include a popping sensation at the time of the injury, difficulty straightening the knee, and a feeling of instability in the knee. Treatment options for a meniscus tear include rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.
Knee injuries are a common cause of disability and can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. If left untreated, they can lead to chronic pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. However, many knee injuries can be prevented with proper care and attention to the body. Simple measures such as regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and wearing appropriate footwear can go a long way in preventing knee injuries.
In addition to prevention, early detection and treatment are crucial in managing knee injuries. Ignoring the symptoms of knee pain or continuing to participate in activities that aggravate the injury can lead to more severe problems. Seeking medical attention at the first sign of knee pain can help diagnose the underlying cause and prevent further damage to the knee joint. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment options can range from physical therapy and medication to surgery.
There are many different ailments that can cause knee hurts going down stairs. Before deciding on any type of treatment or pain coping strategy always consult your doctor. This is important because you need to know what the root cause of your knee pain is before beginning treatment. Also, always listen to proper medical advice on what treatment methods to undertake. While not all knee ailments are treatable even in the case of arthritis steps can be taken to reduce symptoms and improve your quality of life.