Common causes of knee pain in athletes

Knee Pain Causes

Athletes may find it difficult to train and compete when they have sudden or long-lasting pain in the knees. Knee pain can keep you from reaching your full potential and may even keep you from participating in sports at all.

What causes knee pain in athletes?

There are several conditions that may cause knee pain in athletes, including:

  • Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears — The ACL is one of the four ligaments that help hold together the bones in your knee joint. It runs through the center of the joint, providing stability and keeping the knee from twisting. If the knee does suddenly twist, the ACL may tear, which is painful and affects the stability of your knee.
    In some cases, surgery may be necessary to regain complete use of your knee, but physical therapists help improve the quality of your recovery.
  • Meniscus tears — The shinbone and thighbone on each side of the knee joint are cushioned by flat, C-shaped pieces of cartilage known as the menisci. These help cushion the knee from impacts and protects the bones from friction.
    A sudden twisting motion to the knee while putting weight on it can cause the meniscus to tear. When this happens, the meniscus can prevent the knee from fully bending or straightening.
  • Tendinitis — Repetitive use of the knee can cause inflammation in one of its tendons. Known as tendinitis, this is a painful condition that can limit your range of motion for a period of time.
  • Fracture — A fall or a collision with another athlete could lead to one or multiple bones in the knee fracturing. These fractures range in severity with some being relatively mild and others requiring surgery for treatment. Physical therapists still help when surgery may be necessary.
  • Iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome — The IT band is a long band of soft tissue that runs along the outside of your leg from your upper thigh down to your knee joint just above the shinbone. This helps stabilize the knee when bending and extending your leg.
    Overuse of the knee can cause inflammation and pain in the IT band, which can limit your range of motion and your ability to put a lot of weight on your knee. 

Visit Excel Sports and Physical Therapy for knee pain treatment

Don’t let knee pain stop you from enjoying your favorite sports activities. Our physical therapists at Excel Sports and Physical Therapy can help you recover at a pace that’s right for you. Contact our team today for more information about knee pain treatment or to schedule an initial appointment.