The knee comprises three parts - from the lower end of the thighbone, the kneecap, and the upper end of the shinbone. The cartilage covers the three bones where they meet, protecting the joint and allowing movement smoothly. Rested between the thighbone and shinbone are C-shaped wedges of tissue called the menisci. They provide additional cushioning and shock absorption to the joint during movement. The ligaments hold the joint in place while the synovial membrane lubricates when the joints are in motion.
Joint cartilage cannot repair itself, and injuries to the joints, if left unattended, can be permanent. In addition, arthritis causes damage to the cartilage in the knee resulting in pain, stiffness and affecting mobility. Cartilage damage can affect the entire knee or partially to the inner or outer portion of the knee. The occasional pain may not be a cause of worry. Still, if left untreated, especially if the pain is persistent and intense, it could affect your quality of life and risk permanent damage.
As age catches on, the knee joints also become more vulnerable. Even a moderately minor injury could develop into something more serious later if ignored. For example, suppose your knee is very swollen, or you cannot put weight on it. In that case, it is probably time to seek professional help, as this could be a sign of tendon or ligament damage.
As there aer different causes of chronic knee pain, your physician may require various diagnostic tests to determine. These include blood work, physical examination, X-rays, CT scan , or MRI.