What is kneecap pain? Why does it happen? Is it a serious situation? Do you need to see a doctor? Which section do you go to? How does it go? What’s good? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
What is kneecap pain?
Kneecap pain ; It is a common knee problem that can arise from the knee joint, kneecap, or any bony structure that compromises the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage in the knee.
Kneecap pain is a common complaint among adults and is most often associated with general wear and tear from daily activities such as walking, bending, standing and lifting.
Athletes who play or run sports that involve jumping or quick turns are more likely to experience knee pain and problems.
However, although a person’s kneecap pain may result from aging or injury, it can be uncomfortable and even debilitating in some cases.
What causes kneecap pain?
Many kneecap problems are the result of the aging process and the constant wear and stress (such as arthritis) on the knee joint. Other knee problems are the result of an injury or sudden movement that strains your knee. Symptoms include kneecap pain and swelling . Treatment may vary depending on the severity of your condition.
Common kneecap problems include:
1- Knee cap slipping (dislocation)
Kneecap slippage (or dislocation) is a common injury that normally takes about 6 weeks to heal. It is usually caused by a blow to the feet or a sudden change of direction, such as in sports or dancing.
2- Sprained or strained knee ligaments/muscles
A sprained or strained knee ligament or muscle is usually caused by a blow to the knee or a sudden sprain of the knee. Symptoms often include pain, swelling, and difficulty walking. Depending on the affected area, knee cap pain and swelling may occur on the right or left side .
3- Cartilage tear
Knee trauma can tear the menisci (connective tissue pads that act as shock absorbers and also increase stability). Cartilage tears can often occur with sprains, and depending on which area is sprained, knee cap pain and swelling may occur on the right or left side.
Treatment may include wearing a brace during an activity to protect your knee from further injury. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the tear.
A direct blow to the knee area can break one of the bones in the knee. This is usually a very noticeable and painful knee injury.
Most kneecap fractures are not only painful, but interfere with the proper functioning of the knee or make weight bearing very painful. Fractures can occur on both the right and left sides, causing severe knee cap pain and swelling .
Inflammation of the tendons can result from overuse of a tendon during certain activities such as running, jumping or cycling. In this case, kneecap pain usually occurs in sports such as basketball, where the force of hitting the ground after a jump forces the tendon. This condition can affect the right or left kneecap.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects your knee. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative process in which the cartilage in the joint gradually wears away. It usually affects middle-aged and elderly people. Osteoarthritis can result from excessive stress on the joint, such as from repetitive injury or excess weight. Although it can cause kneecap pain , swelling usually does not occur.
7- Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the knees by causing inflammation of the joint and destroying the knee cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects people at an earlier age than osteoarthritis.
Who is at risk for kneecap pain?
The knee joint is a complex structure and is used frequently throughout the day. Any change in joint movement (leg length difference, change in walking style due to back problems) can cause slight changes and cause pain and injury.
With excess weight, the load on the knee joint increases. Obesity also increases the risk of osteoarthritis in the knee as the cartilage breaks down faster.
Overuse during repetitive movements, such as during certain exercises (running, skiing) or working conditions (prolonged kneeling), can lead to deterioration of the cartilage in the kneecap and cause pain.
How is the cause of kneecap pain diagnosed?
In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, other tests for knee problems may include:
X- ray uses invisible beams of electromagnetic energy to take images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film. In this way, problems in our bones are diagnosed.
2- Magnetic resonance imaging
Also called an MRI, this test uses large magnets, radiofrequency, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures in the body ; it can usually identify damage or disease in a surrounding ligament or muscle.
3- Computed tomography scan
Computed tomography uses X-rays and computer technology to produce horizontal or axial images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for joint conditions. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optical tube (arthroscope) that is inserted into the joint through a small cut in the joint.
Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen; It is used to evaluate any degenerative or arthritic changes in the joint. It is also used to determine the cause of bone diseases, tumors, bone pain and inflammation.
5- Bone scan
The bone scan procedure is a nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material injected into the patient’s bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.
Which department should I go to for knee cap pain?
Usually , kneecap pain can be evaluated and treated by your family doctor. An orthopedic surgeon will usually be consulted if your kneecap pain requires surgery or if the cause of the pain needs further evaluation. A rheumatologist may be consulted for arthritis, gout or inflammatory joint problems.
How is knee cap pain treated?
Kneecap pain treatment will vary depending on the cause of the pain. Possible treatments include:
- Medication: Medications may be prescribed to treat an underlying medical condition or relieve pain. If you are taking over-the-counter pain relievers and they do not go away, it is better to inform your doctor.
- Physical therapy: Sometimes physical therapy sessions to strengthen the muscles around the knee will make your knee more stable and help relieve pain. Working with a physical therapist can help avoid injuries or prevent an injury from getting worse.
- Injections: Injecting drugs directly into your knee can help in some cases. The two most common injections are corticosteroids and lubricants. Corticosteroid injections can help with arthritis and other inflammation of the knee. They usually need to be repeated every few months. Fluid-like lubricants already in your knee joint can help with movement and pain.
- Surgical treatment: Knee cap surgeries range from arthroscopic knee surgery to total knee replacement. The surgical treatment will depend on the cause of the pain and the severity of the problem.
What is good for knee cap pain?
Here are the things that are good for kneecap pain:
1- Massage with essential oils
Massage is an excellent way to get relief from knee and joint pain symptoms. Using essential oil to massage your knees is even more effective. According to some studies, essential oils of ginger and orange work well in relieving knee pain. It relieves stiffness in the affected part and reduces pain.
2- Use cold and hot compresses
Both hot and cold compresses can be helpful in reducing the symptoms of kneecap pain . However, the treatment you choose depends on the type of pain you are experiencing. If there is inflammation, you should avoid heat compresses as they can worsen the condition. Heat therapy is best for chronic pain like arthritis. In case of sports injury, you can apply a cold compress.
3- Try apple cider vinegar
Some research shows that apple cider vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve chronic pain like arthritis. It helps regain lubrication in the joints, which reduces pain and makes it easier to move your legs. Mix half a cup of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and drink it daily before going to bed.
4- For ginger tea
Ginger oil, ginger extract or raw ginger are good for your knees. This common houseplant is packed with a compound called gingerol, which is anti-inflammatory in nature. To get relief from knee pain, you can make ginger tea and drink it twice a day.
5- Relieve pain with turmeric
Turmeric is a magical spice with a long history of medicinal use. This yellow spice contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. The compound helps relieve symptoms of joint pain and inflammation. Add ginger and turmeric to a glass of water and boil for 12-15 minutes. You can drink this mixture daily for some relief.
6- Take advantage of red pepper
Capsicum contains an active ingredient called capsaicin, which acts as a natural pain reliever. Make a paste by mixing one teaspoon of red pepper with two teaspoons of olive oil. Apply this paste on the affected area and massage gently.
7- Add Epsom salt to your bath water
Epsom salt contains magnesium and sulfate, which are powerful pain-relieving agents. It reduces swelling and relieves pain. You can put a spoon of Epsom salt in your bath water and soak yourself in this water for 30 minutes.