The knee is a complex joint that serves multiple purposes. It connects the femur to the tibia and is responsible for flexing and extending your lower leg. It also does rotational movements around the knee joint. Altogether, the knee is a highly mobile and valuable articulation for everything from walking to pivoting and balancing the rest of your body to achieve accurate movements.
But as useful as knees are, they are also susceptible to damage. Sometimes you can have knee pain without any particular disease. You might just need to stop doing certain things and take a break from your workout routine. But what if your knee pain is continuous or severe? Then, it’s probably not something you want to take for granted.
Persistent knee pain can be a symptom of more severe knee issues. In this article, we’re going to explore the basics of knee pain and some of the most common causes of this symptom.
What Patients Need to Know About the Knee
The knee connects the upper and lower leg bones, the femur, and the tibia and acts as a joint between the two. The articulation is surrounded and cushioned by cartilage, a layer of tissue that provides a smooth surface on which bones move.
The knee also has a synovial fluid, which is the fluid that lubricates the joints and reduces friction between bone ends. You also have plenty of ligaments in the knee which hold the bones together despite the high mobility of the joint. Some of them surround the joint. Others are inside, such as the anterior cruciate ligament. They all provide knee stability and flexibility.
Another important structure is the meniscus, a cartilage cushion found inside the knee. It cushions the joint and is important to protect the articular cartilage.
When your knee hurts, it’s usually because of problems with one of the above-mentioned components. For example, you may be suffering from osteoarthritis, a condition in which the cartilage around the knee wears away. As this happens, the bones rub together, causing friction. This can lead to inflammation, swelling, and pain.