Knee Pain Q & A

Why does my knee hurt?

Knee pain can occur after a specific injury or may be related to wear-and-tear over a number of years. Common types of activities that can cause knee pain include:

  • Repetitive bending
  • Walking or running
  • Sitting with knees bent for long periods of time
  • Kneeling
  • Twisting of the knee
  • Direct impact to the knee
  • Kicking movements

Pain may occur suddenly from a minor movement, including stepping off a curb, or it may be more mild and irritating or annoying. Common locations of knee pain include:

  • Inside the knee joint
  • In the ligaments or muscles surrounding the knee
  • Behind the knee
  • Near the patella
  • Just below the patella
  • Shin

Your provider asks questions about the type of pain you’re experiencing, the location of your pain, and any known cause or injury to determine your diagnosis.

What causes knee pain?

Knee pain tends to occur in specific patterns based on the location of pain and pain triggers. Common causes of knee pain include:

  • Patellar tendinitis
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease
  • Bursitis
  • Meniscus tear
  • Ligament sprain or tear
  • Iliotibial band syndrome
  • Baker’s cyst
  • Quadriceps tendinitis
  • Hamstring strain

To determine your diagnosis, the team performs an orthopedic exam of your knee, which may increase or decrease your pain depending on the location of your injury.

How is knee pain diagnosed?

To diagnose the cause of your knee pain, your provider first checks the strength of the muscles surrounding your knee, your balance, range of motion, and nerve supply. They may also assess your hips and lower back, which can trigger pain or postural issues that aggravate knee injuries.

Orthopedic tests involve bending your knee to different angles, pressing on different areas of your knee, and applying gentle pressure to your knee joint to determine if you’re showing signs of instability. If appropriate, the team sends you to an imaging center for X-rays or an MRI.

How is knee pain treated?

Based on your injury history, physical exam, and any imaging, the team determines your diagnosis and outlines treatment. Early in treatment, their aim is to reduce your pain through physiotherapy — including electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and laser therapy. Once your pain decreases, they incorporate rehabilitation to improve your range of motion and build strength in the muscles surrounding your knee.

Have questions about Knee or other pain management issues? Call us, we can help you feel better. (402) 391-7246.

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