Pain & Stiffness in the Knee

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Stiffness and pain in the knee can be caused by a variety of different factors, such as a ligament injury or arthritis. If you play high-impact sports or your job involves repetitive use of your legs and knees, you may be at higher risk of developing an injury to the knee. See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment options. If you have severe knee damage, you may need surgery.

Ligament Injuries

Your knee has four ligaments, which are the tissues that connect bones to other bones. You may have injured one or more of them if you experience pain, an inability to place weight on that leg, a popping sound or the feeling that your knee may buckle.

Bursitis

Bursitis is another common cause of knee pain and stiffness. Other possible symptoms include swelling, redness and fever in the case of bursa infection.

Osteoarthritis

According to MayoClinic.com, there are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis, and osteoarthritis--a use-and-age condition--is the most common among these. Some symptoms that are seen with osteoarthritis of the knee include pain, stiffness, aching, swelling, the loss of motion or flexibility and popping sounds.

Diagnosis

Because there are so many possible causes for knee pain and stiffness, an accurate diagnosis may be difficult. The doctor will start by performing a physical exam and taking a medical history. You may also need tests, such as an X-ray, an MRI or a CT scan.

Treatment

Treatment options for knee pain and stiffness often include rest, icing and elevation. Your doctor may recommend a physical therapist or prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen. Nonsurgical options for osteoarthritis include arch supports, corticosteroid or hyaluronic acid injections and topical painkillers.

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