Knee pain is very common. It’s especially common in active people who put a lot of pressure on their knees, like runners. It affects women more often than men.
Your kneecap (patella) is a thick, round bone. It covers and protects the front portion of your knee joint. It moves along a groove in your thighbone (femur) as part of the patellofemoral joint. A layer of cartilage surrounds the underside of your kneecap. This layer protects it from grinding against your femur.
When this cartilage softens and breaks down, it can cause knee pain. This is partly because of repetitive stress. The stress irritates the lining of the joint. This causes pain in the underlying bone.
What causes knee pain?
Many things can cause knee pain. You may have more than one cause. Some of these include:
- Overuse of the knee joint
- The kneecap doesn’t line up with the tissue around it
- Damage to small nerves in the area
- Damage to the ligament-like structure that holds the kneecap in place (retinaculum)
- Breakdown of the bone under the cartilage
- Swelling in the soft tissues around the kneecap
You might be more likely to have knee pain if you:
- Exercise a lot
- Recently increased the intensity of your workouts
- Have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25
- Have poor alignment of your kneecap
- Walk with your feet turned overly outward or inward
- Have weakness in surrounding muscle groups (inner quad or hip adductor muscles)
- Have too much tightness in surrounding muscle groups (hamstrings or iliotibial band)
- Have a recent history of injury to the area
- Are female
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call:
- SBL Bonutti Clinic at 217 342-3400, or
- SBL Orthopedics & Sports Medicine at 217 238-3435