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Common Causes And Presentation Of Inner Knee Pain

Common Causes And Presentation Of Inner Knee Pain
Common Causes And Presentation Of Inner Knee Pain

There Are Three Main Causes Of Inner Knee Pain

The three major causes of inner knee pain have slightly different presentation from onset to symptoms and aggravating activities. Correct diagnosis is crucial to ensure appropriate management of the complaint and the presentation of inner knee pain goes a long way towards establishing an accurate diagnosis.

Medial Meniscal Disorder Presentation

  • Onset: Can be due to a sudden incident frequently involving twisting of the knee normally in a bent position but can also be on degenerative origin and occur more gradually through wear and tear.
  • Symptoms: medial meniscal complaints will frequently be accompanied with inner knee pain, swelling, clicking, catching, locking with movement, and difficulty with fully straightening or bending the knee as well as this sometimes instability will be experienced.
  • Aggravating Activities: Squatting movements, stairs, running and sometimes walking.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) Sprain Presentation

  • Onset: Occurs as a result of a sudden incident forcing the foot laterally compared to the knee joint often due to an awkward landing, sudden twisting or tackle.
  • Symptoms: Swelling and bruising may occur depending on severity and is accompanied with feelings of instability and stiffness in the acute phase.
  • Aggravating Activities: The turning and twisting movements of sport, and in the acute stage walking including stairs and bending the knee.

Osteoarthritis Presentation

  • Onset: Osteoarthritis has a gradual onset and occurs more commonly in individuals in absence of acute trauma in late middle age and beyond.
  • Symptoms: Depending on severity can include around-the-clock pain but typically the main symptoms are joint pain and stiffness which may be worse after resting or not moving for a while. Again depending on the stage, osteoarthritis may limit knee joint movement and flexibility. Clicking or grinding is also commonly experienced with osteoarthritis.
  • Aggravating Activities: Cold weather and moving after periods of inactivity may cause pain and stiffness as well as experiencing pain with high load activities such as running. Depending on the severity however ultimately inner knee pain as the result of osteoarthritis of the knee can effect simple day to day activities including walking and climbing stairs as the disease progresses.

Common Symptoms Associated With Inner Knee Pain

When suffering with inner knee pain commonly a number of symptoms may be experienced some symptoms are more typical of a particular complaints presentation.

  • Mobility: Mobility can be affected by a number of conditions, chronically in Osteoarthritis but also acutely in a MCL or medial meniscal injury.
  • Instability: Instability, the sensation that your knee may give out from beneath you is a feature of some inner knee pain conditions specifically injury to the MCL and to a lesser degree but still common in a medial meniscal injury.
  • Clicking: Clicking, crunching, grinding noises associated with inner knee pain are more common symptoms of cartilage problems in the medial meniscus, osteoarthritis and the patellofemoral joint can not be ruled out as a cause of inner knee pain causing clicking sounds in the knee.
  • Locking: Locking is where you cannot bend or straighten the knee and can occur due to a mechanical block internally in the knee as with a medial meniscal tear, or a foreign body in the joint potentially as the result of an osteoarthritic cartilage fragment floating loose in the joint catching between the joint surfaces blocking motion. Pseudo locking can also be experienced as a result of pain or swelling blocking normal knee motion.
  • Swelling: Swelling of the knee is a common symptom associated with inner knee pain, swelling following injury associated with inner knee pain is possibly due to injury to the MCL or medial meniscus. In reference to immediate swelling of the knee following injury damage to the anterior cruciate ligament and fractures always need to be ruled out. Osteoarthritis may cause less substantial swelling of the knee than an acute ACL rupture but can still be associated with an individual experiencing swelling and inner knee pain.
  • Pain Timing: Inner knee pain walking down steps is very common and is often associated patellofemoral conditions, pain twisting and turning is often associated with MCL and medial meniscal conditions and pain walking after periods or rest and inactivity such as first thing in the morning easing with gentle activity is quite typical of early osteoarthritis.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance on Inner Knee Pain should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, general practitioner or physiotherapist.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.