One of the most overworked joints of our bodies is our knees. Responsible for a majority of the movements during the walking cycle, knees are also important for bearing weight and maintaining upright body posture. With wear, tear, and time, our knees can become problematic, causing the development of several knee problems that could become much worse over time. How do you know if your knees should see a doctor? These 5 warning signs should tell you when it’s time to seek a treatment for knee pain.
- Crepitus – One of the most common symptoms of knee problems is crepitus. This is the medical term used for the grating sound or sensation caused by certain joint problems. Crepitus isn’t exclusively experienced in the knees, however many knee problems include this common symptom. In some cases, crepitus can be so profound that an audible noise is generated upon movement of the joint.
- Swelling –The anatomy of the knee joint includes a liquid filled sac, which allows the joint to move smoothly. This can be found between the femur and the tibia, which come together to form the joint halfway the leg. When there is an injury or a condition in the knees, it’s possible for the fluid to accumulate, thus causing a swollen appearance. In advanced cases, the swelling can reach to the point of pitting, wherein the skin forms depressions upon application of pressure.
- Limited Range of Motion – There are two different joint positions that apply to all joints of the body, and these are close-packed and loose-packed. The close-packed position basically means that the two surfaces that meet upon movement of the joint are in full contact. In the case of the knee, the distal head of the femur and the proximal head of the tibia are those that meet when the knees are extended. Because the close-packed position can add pressure to the affected knee, it can be difficult for an individual to fully extend the joint. This in turn causes a limitation in the range of motion.
- Instability – The knees are a main contributor to postural control and walking. So if they’re affected, they may lose balance and stability during the gait cycle. If you feel that your knees are weak when you stand, or if you can’t completely bear your weight on them, there might be a problem with the internal structures.
- Warmth – Just as you would develop heat during a fever, so will your knees become warm to the touch if they’re infected or injured. Heat and redness indicate an increased blood flow, which often occurs in order to help the affected knee recover. There are also several conditions affecting the knees that could be causing the increased temperature, so be sure to talk to your doctor to find the right treatment.
For as sturdy and strong as they might seem, your knees are susceptible to injury and infection. Keep your knees healthy and functional by keeping an eye out for these 5 symptoms of knee problems.