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4 Common Causes of Knee Pain

Spring is Here! It is time to get outdoors to enjoy the many gardens, parks, festivals, and activities Greensboro has to offer. An increase or change in your activity can lead to knee pain. At Greensboro Orthopaedics, we don’t want knee pain to spoil your fun. We are here to educate and help you be active.

Anatomy of KneeThe knee is a hinge joint moving into flexion and extension. Three bones make up the knee joint: femur (thigh bone), tibia (shin bone), and the patella (kneecap). Inside the knee, these bones are covered by a layer of articular cartilage. Two menisci act as cushions between the femur and tibia. Four main ligaments connect the bones to each other: ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), PCL (posterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament), and the LCL (lateral collateral ligament). Knee discomfort and dysfunction can result from a multitude of different conditions or injuries.

Here are 4 common orthopaedic conditions/injuries that can result in knee pain.

Patellar Tendonitis

The patella tendon reaches from the bottom on the patella to the top of the tibia. When the tendon is inflamed, it is called patella tendinitis. The inflammation commonly results from overuse (typically running or jumping) or a muscle imbalance. Tenderness is felt on the front of your knee between your patella and tibia bones. The pain is worse with activity.


Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative arthritis, is a common knee condition. This is the breakdown of the articular cartilage covering the femur and tibia. It frequently occurs in mature adults as a result of “wear & tear.”  Obesity, genetics, repetitive stress, bone health, and injury all play a role in the development of osteoarthritis. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joint. Osteoarthritis can severely limit a person’s ability to function.

Meniscus Tears

The menisci are C-shaped pieces of cartilage which function to cushion the knee. Individually, they are called a meniscus. Tearing a meniscus can occur with sudden rotating or twisting of the knee. With a tear, a “popping” sound may be heard. Sometimes, it is difficult to straighten your knee with a meniscus tear. Normally, the knee will become swollen and painful. Often, patients say their knee “locks.”

ACL Tear

The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is the ligament connecting the femur to the tibia. It functions to keep the tibia from moving forward and limits rotation. ACL tears typically occur in athletics. Quick directional changes and awkward landings can result in a torn or ruptured ACL. Physical contact does not have to occur to tear the ligament. With a tear, a “popping” sound may be heard or a “shifting” sensation may be felt at the time of injury. The knee will swell and become painful. The resulting knee instability will likely not allow a person to continue exercising.

The dedicated physicians at Greensboro Orthopaedics specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of different types of knee pain in both the athletic and non-athletic population. Our caring clinicians, expertise, and the state of the art technology at Greensboro Orthopaedics will best help you to enjoy the outdoors.


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