3 Common Causes Of Knee Pain In Seniors

Posted on: 30 November 2021

Your knees do a lot of work and heavy lifting. They bear a lot of weight whenever you are active. For this reason, as you age, you may start to notice knee pain. Of course, identifying the cause of your knee pain can be difficult. If you would like to know more, check out these three common causes of knee pain in seniors.

1. Osteoarthritis

There are many forms of arthritis, but osteoarthritis often affects seniors because it is degenerative in nature. Over time, it destroys the affected joint, breaking down the cartilage until bone touches bone. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain, stiffness (especially after periods of inactivity), loss of flexibility, and swelling.

You can't cure osteoarthritis, but you can slow its progress by staying active. However, it's best to avoid high-impact activities like running. Low-impact exercises like swimming and walking will exercise the knee without putting too much pressure on it.

A physical therapist can help show you what exercises will strengthen the muscles and ligaments, which will take the pressure off the joint. Medications can help dull the pain, but in severe cases, surgery may be needed to add lubrication, realign bones, or replace the joint.

2. Gout

Gout is another form of arthritis, so it may also present with swelling, limited range of motion, and joint pain. The cause of gout is urate crystal accumulation. These crystals are naturally formed in the body when you consume foods with purines (red meat, seafood, and alcohol). However, if you consume too much, the crystals can build up in joints.

Gout is commonly associated with the big toe, but it can affect any joint in the body, including the knee. Treatment often includes diet changes to reduce your purine intake. However, some medications can help reduce how much uric acid your body produces (uric acid forms the crystals).

3. Bursitis

A bursa is a special sac that helps cushion joints, particularly the shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. When this sac becomes inflamed, it leads to bursitis. Bursitis is often caused by overuse, but it may be a side effect of osteoarthritis and gout. Symptoms of bursitis include pain, tenderness, and limited motion.

Typically, bursitis goes away on its own with rest. You can control the pain with anti-inflammatory medications. However, if the bursitis is caused by an infection, you may need antibiotics or drainage.

Knee pain can make life hard, but in many cases, you can reduce the symptoms of your knee condition. Some pain may be chronic, but in the case of bursitis, a little rest may help. If you would like to know more, contact a knee specialist in your area like one from Sports and Orthopedic Specialists