We all have had, or will have knee pain at some point in time. Or maybe you have pain now. Maybe you’re wondering why does my knee hurt when I sit and then stand, or why does it only hurt when I climb the stairs, but not when I’m running? Actually, there is a specific name for this condition, chondromalacia patellae or “runner’s knee.”
The knee is a complex joint. It supports a lot of body weight and many functions – walking, running, climbing, squatting, and standing for long periods of time. The knee joint is made up of the femur bone, the tibia bone, and the patella (knee cap), which are held together by tendons and ligaments that are attached to muscles. As the knee bends, the patella’s job is to glide along a groove aided by cartilage, another important component. The cartilage acts as a cushion between the patella and the femur, and the ligaments hold it in place as the patella glides smoothly over the femur when you bend your knee.
In the case of runner’s knee, this cartilage has become rough and deteriorated, so bending the knee can cause pain. The deeper the knee is bent, the more the patella has to move, therefore, there is potential for more pain. You may experience this pain when you squat down and then stand up, or after sitting for an extended amount of time. You most likely won’t feel pain from running, walking or standing because the knee is bent at a much smaller angle.
Runner’s knee can be caused by an injury from playing sports, such as a direct hit to the knee. The deterioration of the cartilage, or arthritis, is a big factor as you age. When the muscles and ligaments are not able to hold the patella in place, it can slip and can cause extra wear and tear on the cartilage. Treatment for this condition is usually non-surgical, and may include rest from running, playing sports, strength building of the thigh and calf muscle; and low impact exercising like walking or swimming.
Diagnosing knee conditions can be challenging. There are many different moving parts and components. It is very important to take note where it hurts, and what you do that causes the pain. This will be helpful information to tell your doctor. A trained orthopedic doctor will ask you many questions and do a thorough exam which may include an X-ray and MRI. The orthopedic specialists at Meli Orthopedic Centers of Excellence are board-certified and fellowship-trained in surgical and non-surgical care. Dr. Paul I. Meli, MD, our medical director, has been practicing since 1990, and he specializes in knee conditions. We have two locations in Ft. Lauderdale and Margate with state-of-the-art equipment to serve you.
If you’re dealing with knee pain, don’t wait to find out what the cause could be. The longer you wait, the more damage you could be doing to your joint. Call us today for an appointment. Find out more information in our patient education section on our website.