Medial Knee Pain: Causes, Symptom, Treatment And Prevention

Medial Knee Pain: Causes, Symptom, Treatment And Prevention

What is Medial Knee Pain?

Medial knee pain is pain that occurs on the interior side of the knee and can be caused by a number of reasons. It may occur gradually over a certain period of time or may develop suddenly after a knee injury.Inside knee pain can be a general knee inner pain, sharp pain or pain that restricts movement. Injuries experienced on medial collateral ligament (MCL), medial meniscus, fibrocartilage band across the knee joint or the ligament on the inner knee may lead to arthritis. This pain may also be caused by muscle weakness or tightness that can subtly change knee movements.

Pain on the inside of the knee is usually an acute injury caused by a sudden trauma, however it can come on gradually over time with poor biomechanics and overuse.

Causes of medial knee pain

Common causes of medial knee pain

Patellofemoral pain syndrome is a common cause of  pain on the inside of the knee. It occurs when the patella or kneecap rubs against the bone underneath creating friction and pain. Patellofemoral pain is usually known as a cause of pain at the front of the knee as well as sometimes on the outside of the knee. Treatment involves reducing the pain and swelling then correcting any problems which might be causing the patella to track incorrectly over the femur bone.

Medial meniscus tear is a tear of the semi circular cartilage in the knee joint. This can be an acute or sudden injury or it can come on over time through overuse and degeneration of the cartilage meniscus. There may be a history of twisting or trauma to the knee with symptoms including pain on the inside of the knee joint. Swelling may develop 24 to 48 hours after the initial injury.

Medial ligament sprain is a tear or sprain to the medial ligament on the inside of the knee. It can be caused by an impact on the outside of the knee causing the medial ligament to over stretch or tear. It may also come on gradually if there are biomechanical problems causing the knee to twist or bend putting too much stress on the medial ligament.

Less common causes of medial knee pain

Synovial plica is a fold in the synovial membrane which surrounds the knee joint and contains the lubricating synovial fluid. The fold is found along the inside of the knee cap causing symptoms of pain and discomfort and a sharp pain may be felt when squatting. A synovial plica may sometimes feel like a thickened band under the inside of the kneecap.

Pes anserinus tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon on the inside of the knee. A bursa or small fluid sack can also become inflamed causing pain and this is known as Pes anserinus bursitis. Symptoms are similar to that of a medial ligament injury with pain over the inside of the knee, particularly the lower part. Pain may be felt when climbing stairs or when contracting the hamstring muscles against resistance.

Osteoarthritis of the knee is wear and tear of the knee joint. Symptoms include a deep aching sensation in the joint which is worse after exercise. Stiffness in the knee is also common, particularly first thing in the mornings. There is likely to be swelling in the knee and sometimes cracking or click noises are heard when using the knee.

Referred pain is where a problem somewhere else in the body causes pain on the inside of the knee. This can be from the lumbar spine such as in sciatic or a slipped disc or from problems in the hip.

Signs and Symptoms of Medial Knee Pain

There are many different signs of MCL, including noticeable pain in the knee. Specifically, someone with the injury may complain of knee pain; inner side or just deep under the knee cap. This is different than arthritis in the knee because unlike arthritis sufferers do not complain of stiffness.

Another difference between MCL and arthritis is the sensitivity to temperature. Arthritis sufferers often complain of increased symptoms when it is cold. With a medial collateral ligament injury, the weather is not a factor. Symptoms will persist regardless of the temperature.

The general symptoms of MCL are knee swelling, knee locking, pain and tenderness and knee instability. The amount of pain felt may vary based on the severity of the injury.

Understanding what kind of inner knee pain you have is an important step in getting an accurate knee pain diagnosis. In order to get diagnosed, a doctor may ask someone who thinks they have MCL to bend their knee or even take a MRI to determine if injury had occurred.

How to treat Medial knee Pain

There are many ways to treat medial knee pain, but most professionals agree that physical therapy is recommended. Physical therapy is a collection of procedures based on physical manipulations used to treat an ailment. The exact treatment procedure may vary and is based on the severity of the initial injury.

Some common physical therapy treatments include massage, ice therapy, heat therapy and exercise. Some practitioners may also use ultrasound technology to reach the deep inner knee pain that patients report. Ultrasound delivers sonic waves to the muscles, reducing some of the pain. Ice therapy is prescribed to reduce inflammation.

Other treatments for the knee injury include anti-inflammatory drugs as well as elevation of the affected knee.

Exercise is also an important step to recover from a MCL injury. For many people getting treatment for MCL knee pain, the thought of exercise is painful. It is however, necessary to strengthen the supporting muscles and prevent any further damage. The extra effort will go a long way to prevent future pain.

Prevention Steps for Medial Knee Pain

Proper alignment is the best way to prevent an injury that would cause medial knee pain. This can be done with strength training as well as proper coaching. Student athletes should pay close attention to their form when exercising to prevent any unnecessary injury.

For many, a MCL knee brace is an easy way to ensure the correct alignment. These braces hold the knee in a proper alignment and prevent further damage. If someone frequently suffers from medial knee pain, a brace might be an easy way to train the knee into the right spot while preventing further damage. Re-injury is common without proper re-strengthening.

A knee injury is a painful type of injury, but it is even worst when you are unable to see the damage. MCL is a common cause of knee pain for both young and old, but unfortunately it can be difficult to diagnose. With a doctor who is knowledgeable of the condition you can easily get a diagnosis done and be on your way to feeling better.

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