Pain on the inside of the knee, also known as medial knee pain, can prevent you from walking and running normally. Internal knee pain after running is sometimes called a runner's knee, although runner's knee is considered by the medical community to be a common pain around the knee that occurs during running.
Your internal knee pain can come on suddenly or gradually, and it can occur without any specific traumatic event. This can happen when you are not running. This is often done conservatively with stretching and strengthening exercises, but some people benefit from more invasive treatments, such as injections or surgery.
Runner's knee symptoms
Symptoms of runner's knee can be very different and include:
- Pain in the middle of the knee joint.
- Swelling in the knee
- Sharp pain below the kneecap.
- Trouble running, climbing stairs, or getting up from a sitting position
Pain inside the knee is usually intermittent and occurs when running or immediately after running, or it can be the result of any activity that puts pressure on the knee joint. Pain can limit your ability to bend or straighten your knee without pain and often occurs during strenuous activities such as climbing stairs.
A runner's knee can be caused by a variety of factors. Causes of internal knee pain can include:
When running or walking, the best position for the knees is just above the foot. Sometimes flat feet will cause the lower leg to bend. This can cause increased stress on the medial part of the knee joint, causing pain.
If you feel pain inside your knee, you should see your doctor immediately for an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosing internal knee pain can be challenging. Why? Because sometimes there is no single cause of the problem. Rather, there may be multiple disorders present that may be causing your pain. Finding out what disorders are causing a runner's knee is the key to proper treatment.
Common diagnostic tests for a runner's knee may include:
During a physical exam for internal knee pain, your doctor or physical therapist will evaluate the various structures around your knee. This exam may include:
Once you have an accurate diagnosis of internal knee pain, you can begin to properly treat your specific condition.
Treatment of internal knee pain.
There are several treatments for internal knee pain caused by walking or running. They vary from simple to more invasive. With proper treatment, you can expect the medial knee pain to go away within a few weeks.
Home remedies for internal knee pain can reduce your pain and improve your overall mobility. Home remedies can include:
- Ice – Applying ice can help reduce pain and swelling by limiting blood flow to the injured knee. Ice can also reduce swelling by allowing the knee to move fully in range of motion. Ice is usually applied during episodes of acute pain or immediately after the onset of knee pain. Apply with the knee several times a day for 10-15 minutes.
- Heat – Heat has been shown to increase blood flow and improve tissue mobility. It can be applied a few days after the onset of pain to help the knee move and feel better. Heat can also be used before stretching to improve the overall mobility of the tissue. It should be applied for 10-15 minutes, but care must be taken not to burn the skin.
- Medications : Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can be used to reduce pain and swelling from internal knee pain, and pain relievers can be used to relieve pain. Be sure to check with your doctor before taking any medications to make sure they are safe for you.
- Exercise : Exercise can include stretching for tight muscles or resistance exercises for muscles that may be weak. Stretching the hamstrings , quads , and hips improves hip and knee mobility. Strengthening exercises include resistance exercises for the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus medius . Strengthening these muscles improves the kinematics and posture of the knees when walking and running.
- Change shoes or use a shoe insert : If flat feet cause the knee to turn inward, it may help to maintain the medial arch of the foot with new shoes or an insole.
If internal knee pain persists after running, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
When to call a doctor
There are several times when you should consider calling your doctor for internal knee pain. These examples may include:
- Internal knee pain due to injury.
- Pain that lasts for more than a few weeks.
- Pain that significantly limits your ability to walk.
- Pain accompanied by malaise, such as fever, malaise, or unexplained weight loss. (Although rare, it could be a sign of a tumor or malignancy in your body.)
Most episodes of internal knee pain resolve within a few weeks after beginning or beginning conservative treatment. If the pain persists, the doctor must control it in order to initiate the appropriate treatment.
If you have persistent internal knee pain after running, you may need to see your doctor for invasive pain management. Your doctor can refer you to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in bone and joint problems.
Suggested medical treatments for internal knee pain may include:
- Prescription anti-inflammatory medications : You may be given medications to reduce pain and swelling in your knees. Some medications, such as Voltaren gel , can be applied topically to the knee to reduce swelling and pain around the joint.
- Physical therapy : Physical therapy can help you identify the mechanical causes of knee pain. Your therapist can prescribe exercises and movements to help strengthen your muscles and improve flexibility and range of motion around your knee.
- Cortisone injections : For persistent knee inflammation, your doctor may inject a powerful anti-inflammatory corticosteroid. This medicine washes the internal structures of the knee with an anti-inflammatory agent, which reduces pain and swelling of the joint.
- Viscosupplement Injections : If osteoarthritis is causing pain in the medial knee, there may be a lack of lubrication within the joint, resulting in abnormal friction of the joint surfaces. A medication that mimics lubrication can be injected into the knee joint to improve the gliding surfaces of the knee joint and glide over each other, resulting in less internal knee pain.
- Knee surgery : If knee pain persists after conservative and medical treatments, surgery can help correct the problem.
Surgery can be simple; Arthroscopic knee surgery involves several small incisions to access the knee. From there, the joint surfaces can be cleaned and the meniscus located in the knee can be repaired.
If severe osteoarthritis is causing knee pain, your surgeon may recommend a partial knee replacement or a total knee replacement. This is considered a major operation and your surgeon will cut the arthritic surfaces and replace them with metal prostheses.
Surgery for medial knee pain should only be considered a last resort if all other treatments have failed. Most people who have arthroscopic knee surgery return to walking without pain within four to six weeks. More complex surgical procedures on the knee, such as total knee replacement, may require about six months of special rehabilitation to return to normal.
Keep in mind that each person is different and has different needs for knee pain. Talking to your doctor about the best treatment for you is an important step in getting adequate relief from internal knee pain.
Get the word of drug information
Pain inside the knee that occurs when running or after running can be difficult to treat. Your pain can have many different biomechanical causes, and treatments can range from a few simple exercises to more invasive injections or surgeries.
Working closely with your doctor or surgeon and understanding the treatments available can help you make the right decisions about your treatment. This way, you can be sure that you will quickly and safely return to your previous level of painless activity.