Knee pain | All causes and treatments with home exercises

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Knee pain is a prevalent and problematic injury. When you have pain in your knee, you feel it with everything you do.

Therefore you want to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Luckily most knee pain causes can be treated with the right home exercises.

You have to know what the cause is.

Therefore I will explain every sign and symptoms of knee pain. I’ll teach you which condition can cause these symptoms and the exercises that will help you cure the problem.

If you’re looking for fast knee pain relief, you can buy this brace. It reduces the pressure on your knee, which will lead to less pain.

You’ll find everything you need right here.

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It’s a lot so let’s start.

The anatomy of your knee
What are the causes of a meniscus tear?
Anterior knee pain causes and symptoms
Posterior knee pain causes and symptoms
Lateral knee pain causes and symptoms
Medial knee pain causes and symptoms
Knee pain under the kneecap
Knee pain above the kneecap
Knee pain below the kneecap
Knee pain treatment with three home exercises

The anatomy of your knee

knee pain anatomy

Your knee is a complex joint containing many components. I’ll show you how these components work together and what they do. Knowing this is important because this lets you understand the cause of your pain and how the treatment works.

I’ll start with the bones. Your thighbone or femur and your shinbone or tibia together form your knee.

Cartilage covers both your femur and shinbone. Cartilage has a function of increasing the flexibility of the joint by smoothening the surface.

These bones, unfortunately, don’t fit well together. Your thighbone is round, and your shinbone is flat.

To make them fit together on top of your shinbone are the two menisci present. They are two C-shaped cartilage rings. Your thighbone fits right into the holes they create.

On both the medial and lateral side of your knee to ligaments connect to your thighbone and shinbone. They are called the medial and lateral collateral ligament.

They guaranty the stability of your knee together with the two cruciate ligaments on the inside of your knee, your ACL and PCL.

Further, on the front side of your knee lies your kneecap. Cartilage also covers the back of your kneecap. The cartilage is essential for optimal gliding of your kneecap during bending and extending of your knee.

The function of your kneecap is to transfer the forces of your upper leg muscles to your lower leg.

The joint capsule of your knee embeds your knee cap. The tendon of your upper leg muscles, your quadriceps) attach on top of your knee cap and also run over it and attaches on the front side of your shinbone. This tendon is called your patella tendon and also connects to the bottom of your patella.

All these structures can be damaged or insufficient which can cause knee pain in various locations.

I’m going to discuss the pain causes and symptoms now by region.

Anterior knee pain causes and symptoms

Three things can cause anterior knee pain. These are the structures that are present on the front side of your knee.

These are:

 

      • The attachment of your quadriceps to the top of your knee cap
      • Your kneecap itself
      • Your patella tendon

 

Anterior knee pain can often be felt during walking stars, jumping or bending your knee.

Overuse is often the cause for pain on top of your kneecap. It causes pain during running or walking stairs.

Also bending your knee can cause pain because it stretches the muscle and tendon that is already overused.

anterior knee pain

The pain above and under your kneecap will be discussed later on this page.

Your patella tendon can also become overused. Overuse happens mostly with jumping sports like volleyball or basketball.

It irritates the attachment of your patella tendon where it attaches to your kneecap.

You feel the pain mostly when jumping or walking stairs.

It is known as a jumpers knee.

Finally, after a trauma,  your kneecap can dislocate which causes anterior knee pain.

Posterior knee pain causes and symptoms

Posterior knee pain has two reasons.
The primary cause is a lack of strength of your knee.

When your upper leg muscles are too weak, and you’re also slowly developing osteoarthrosis the muscles on the back of your leg tens up.

The muscles on the back of your knee have to work harder to compensate for the lack of strength of your upper thigh muscles.

The compensation causes overuse of these muscles which makes them feel swollen.

It causes difficulty in walking and bending your knee hurts.

The other possible cause for posterior knee pain is a baker’s cyst. A baker’s cyst is a sack of fluid that on the back of your knee. The bag fills due to the water produced by osteoarthrosis in your knee.

Usually, there is nothing to do about it. A doctor can surgically remove it, but it often returns within a few months. The best way to treat this is to treat it as like you have osteoarthrosis.

Lateral knee pain causes and symptoms

Three things can cause lateral knee pain. The first and most common cause is a runners knee or tractus iliotibial friction syndrome.

Running is the primary cause of lateral knee pain. It hurts during running, walking, jumping and walking stairs.

Also, a tight tractus iliotibial band causes lateral knee pain. The tightness causes it to rub over the side of your thigh bone which causes the irritation and discomfort.

I’ve described the cause and treatment of a runners knee here already.

The other possible cause of lateral knee pain is a meniscus tear. A lateral meniscus tear is less common than a medial meniscus tear, but it can still happen.

It happens when your knee forcefully internal rotates and at the same time is pushed to the lateral side. The movement causes a lot of compression on your medial meniscus which can damage it.

The symptoms are usually pain on the frontal-lateral side, pain while bending your knee and pain during walking stairs.

medal knee pain

There is often a trauma moment involved, but at the age above 50, it can also be a degenerative tear without injury.

I’ve described the meniscus tear treatment without surgery already elsewhere.

The third possible cause is damage to the lateral collateral ligament. This ligament is damaged when your knee extends, and your lower leg is bent inwards.

That movement causes tension on the ligament which can damage it.

Damage of the lateral ligament is less common than an injury of the medial ligament.

It causes pain on the lateral side when you fully bend or extend your knee as well as rotating your knee. It also makes your knee unstable.

Medial knee pain causes and symptoms

There are two causes of medial knee pain.

The first one is a medial meniscus tear.

Outer rotation of your lower leg combined with your knee falling inwards is the primary cause for a medial meniscus tear. The movement causes pressure on your meniscus. It can also be caused by degeneration when you’re above 50 years of age.

You can usually treat it well without surgery.

I’ve described the meniscus tear treatment without surgery already elsewhere.

The second cause of medial knee pain is damage to your medial collateral ligament.

The damage happens when your knee stretches, but at the same time is pushed inwards. Also, when you overstretch your knee, this can be the cause.

It causes pain when fully bending or extending your knee as well as rotating your leg. Walking is difficult, going up and down the stairs and running are also very difficult. It also makes your knee unstable.

The pain is located only on the lateral side of your knee and is easily palpable.

Knee pain under the kneecap

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is the primary cause of pain under your kneecap.

The cause of the pain is that your kneecap doesn’t move as smoothly over your knee as it should be.

There a several causes for this:

      • Reduced amount of cartilage under your kneecap
      • Reduced strength of your leg muscles
      • Tightening of the joint capsule

Al these factors contribute to the fact that your knee cap suffers resistance when you bend and extend your knee.

The resistance during the movements results in both friction under your knee cap and also of overuse of the structures that attach to your kneecap.

You can feel the pain when bending your knee and also during walking, running and climbing stairs.

I’ve described the cause and treatment of the patellofemoral pain syndrome already here.

Knee pain above the kneecap

Irritation or overuse of the tendon of your upper leg muscles that attaches to your kneecap can cause pain above the kneecap.

A Lack of mobility of your kneecap can be the cause of this overuse.

Patellar hypomobility causes overuse of your upper leg muscles because they have to pull harder on your kneecap to move it up.

The irritation causes the pain above our kneecap.

Knee pain below the kneecap

Irritation of the patellar tendon that is attached to your patella and your lower leg causes knee pain below your kneecap.

Especially in jumping sports such as basketball and volleyball this tendon can be overused and starts to irritate on the attachment on the patella.

The irritation can be solved easily by giving your knee rest from sports for a few weeks and at the same time increase the strength of the leg.

Knee pain treatment with three home exercises

Now you know the most common causes of knee pain that you can have, I’ll show you how you can treat your pain by yourself with these simple home exercises.

There are three things you have to do to reduce knee pain:

 

      • Increase the strength of your upper leg muscles
      • Increase the mobility of your knee
      • Increase the stability of your knee

 

When doing this, you will improve the quality of your meniscus, your ligaments, and your tendons.

It will also make sure that your kneecap will move better over your knee joint.

When you suffer from a lot of knee pain, you can buy this brace to reduce your pain immediately.

Also riding a stationary bike improves the quality of your knee because it improves the quality of your cartilage.

So let’s start with exercise one.

knee brace

Knee pain exercise 1: Improving the strength of your upper legs

The purpose of this first knee pain exercise is to increase the power of your quadriceps muscles. This exercise is specially designed to train your quadriceps without putting forces on your knee or bending your knee. That’s because the pressure on your knee will increase the damage or overuse of your knee. Therefore this is a better exercise than squads.

As you perform the exercise, you will notice that it is harder to achieve it with your injured leg than it is with your healthy leg. The difficulty is a direct result of the injury.

You can do the exercise like this:

 

      • Lay down on your back
      • Pull your toes towards you
      • Lift your leg with your knee extended

 

Start with three sets of 10 repetitions and perform this two times a day. Then slowly in time, try to increase the repetitions towards 15 and eventually 20. When you can increase the repetitions, you will notice that your pain decreases.

Perform the knee pain exercise as shown below:

Knee pain exercise 2: Increasing the mobility of your knee

The second knee pain exercise is designed to increase the movement of your knee.

When you slowly increase the mobility of your knee, the movement of your patella will increase, and the pressure on your cartilage and patella tendon will decrease.

The increased flexibility will reduce the pain in your knee.

With the following exercise, you can increase the mobility of your knee without the risk of re-injuring.

Perform the exercise like this:

 

      • Sit on a chair with your knee’s bend
      • Place your healthy leg in front of your painful leg
      • Bend your healthy leg further, pushing your painful leg backward as well
      • Hold this for 10 seconds to get a good stretch
      • Repeat this ten times and several times a day

 

When you perform the exercise, you may feel a little discomfort in your knee. However, it shouldn’t hurt too much. Slowly try to increase the flexion over time.

Perform the knee pain exercise as shown below:

Knee pain exercise 3: Increase the stability of your knee

The third knee pain exercise is designed to increase the control of your knee.

When your knee is damaged, especially with ligament or meniscus problems, the stability of your knee decreases.

The reduced stability increases pain and chance of re-injuring your knee.  So to restore this stability, you need to train your knee.

What happens is that the muscles around your knee learn to react faster. This way your muscles will compensate for the loss of stability caused by the meniscus or ligament problems.

You can perform the exercise like this:

Try to do this exercise as often as possible.

You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by doing it on a balance cushion.

When you increase the difficulty of the exercise, you will retrain the stability of your knee to a higher level.

The increased stability enables you to you to walk on an unstable surface or make a sudden movement without causing any problems.

This way the pain in your knee will completely disappear when you can stand on one leg on this balance ball for 20 seconds.

ankle stability

If you find our information helpful and would like to support us, you can donate here through PayPal or leave a review on Google or Facebook.

Also, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more video’s.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a lot you can do to reduce knee pain yourself with just a few exercises.

Try to keep performing these exercises because when you stop them, the increased strength and stability will disappear again.

Good luck