Having pain on one side of the knee joint can be caused by a variety of factors. This article will explore possible causes of knee pain, the symptoms, and the diagnosis of knee pain, as well as treatment and prevention options. This article is aimed at helping readers learn about the knee joint and maintaining a healthy knee joint for a good lifestyle.
There are various probable causes of lateral knee discomfort, including:
- Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS): The presence of ITBS is a common overuse injury that occurs when the iliotibial band, which is a thick band of tissue that runs from the hip to the knee, grows tight or inflamed.
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) injury: The LCL is a strong band of tissue that connects the thigh bone to the fibula on the outside of the knee. When this ligament is injured, it can cause pain on the outside of the knee.
- Meniscus tear: A meniscus tear is a tear in the cartilage that acts as a shock absorber in the knee joint. A tear in the meniscus can result in discomfort on the side of the knee, as well as swelling and stiffness.
- Patellofemoral pain syndrome: Pain around the kneecap is characteristic of this disorder, which can radiate to the side of the knee joint. It is usually due to overuse or improper alignment of the patella (kneecap).
- Bursitis: Inflammation of the tiny sacs filled with fluid that cushion the joints, known as bursae, can cause pain and swelling on the side of the knee.
Symptoms of lateral knee discomfort might vary depending on the underlying reason, they may include:
- Outside of the knee pain or discomfort
- Swelling or stiffness in the area around the knee joint
- Instability or weakness in the knee
- When moving the knee, there is a popping or clicking feeling.
- Bearing weight on the afflicted limb is difficult.
Other symptoms associated with side knee pain include redness, warmth, or discomfort around the knee joint. If you have chronic or severe knee pain, you should see a doctor right away because early diagnosis and treatment can help avoid further damage and improve outcomes.
Treatment for side knee pain is determined by the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Among the possible treatments are:
- Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (RICE) therapy: The following involves taking a break from exercising, applying ice to the impacted area, employing compression to reduce expansion, and raising the affected leg to promote healing.
- Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design an exercise program to assist build the tissues around the knee joint, increase mobility and range of motion, and reduce discomfort and inflammation.
- Medication: Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) are over-the-counter pain medicines that can help relieve discomfort and reduce inflammation.
- Wearing a knee brace: Putting on knee support or other supportive devices, such as athletic tape or compression sleeves, can also add support and stability to the knee joint. It can help avoid further knee joint injury.
- Surgery: In some circumstances, such as a meniscus tear or LCL injury, surgery may need to repair or remove damaged tissue.
- Injection: Doctors may use corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid injections to relieve pain and inflammation.
Prevention methods can help lower the likelihood of lateral knee discomfort. Some possible preventative techniques include:
- Gradual Progression: Begin new physical activity gradually and progressively increase intensity over time to allow muscles to adapt.
- Proper Form and Technique: To lessen the chance of injury and muscle pain, use proper form and technique during physical activity or exercise.
- Warm-Up and Cool-Down: To prepare the muscles and lessen the chance of soreness, take the time to properly warm up before and cool down after physical activity or exercise.
- Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids prior to, during, and following exercising or engaging in physical activity to keep muscles hydrated and cramp-free.
- Nutrition: Consume a well-balanced diet high in protein to help muscle growth and repair.
- Wear suitable footwear: Shoes that fit well and provide adequate support will help lessen the likelihood of side knee pain caused by poor alignment or joint pressure.
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts extra strain on the knee joint, increasing the likelihood of injury and pain.