What Causes a Pinched Nerve in the Knee and How to Treat It

What causes a pinched nerve in the knee?

The cause of a pinched nerve in the knee is not clear. However, it may be due to many factors such as:

1) A tear or rupture of the meniscus (a cartilage covering part of your joint).

Meniscal tears are common in older adults. They happen when there is degeneration or wear and tear from repeated trauma over time.

2) An injury to the meniscus itself.

If a tear occurs, it can lead to a herniated disc which then leads to further damage of the nerves and muscles in your legs.

3) An infection of some sort.

Some infections are benign while others are dangerous and require medical attention. Infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites or worms.

How do I treat a pinched nerve in my knee?

There are several things you can try to relieve your symptoms. You need to consult with a doctor if you have any concerns about these treatments.

1) Rest – Do not exercise your knees until they feel better.

You will need to rest them for at least two weeks before starting any exercises again. Your doctor may prescribe other medications or even surgery depending on what is causing the problem.

2) Ice – You can apply ice wrapped in a towel to the sore area for at least twenty minutes several times a day.

This will help reduce the swelling and pain. Be sure to never put ice directly against your skin for an extended period of time, it can cause burns.

3) Compression – Use an elastic bandage or compression sleeve to keep the joint and limb tight and stable to prevent any unnecessary movement.

This can help stabilize the area and prevent swelling.

4) Medication – Take over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help with the swelling and pain.

Do not take these for more than a week without consulting a physician however.

5) Cortisone Shots – Your doctor can inject a steroid medication into the knee to reduce inflammation and pain.

This is only a temporary solution however it can provide relief until you can seek further treatment.

6) Physical Therapy – A physical therapist can provide exercises to strengthen the muscles in your legs and improve flexibility to help take pressure off of your knee.

You may also have to wear a compression sleeve or bandage while doing these activities to aid with knee support and stability.

7) Surgery – If all else fails, you may need surgery to repair any damage inside the knee.

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure done to repair any damaged meniscus or other internal issues. This can usually be done as an outpatient and you will usually be able to return to light activity in a few weeks. However, your knee may never be quite the same after this.

What are the symptoms of a pinched nerve in the knee?

The most common symptom of a pinched nerve in the knee is pain, especially while moving your foot or leg. This can range from a dull ache to sharp pains. You may also experience numbness, tingling and weakness in the area. Sitting with your legs crossed, bending forward or standing up from sitting can worsen these symptoms.

You may also notice a difference in the range of motion in your knee or foot compared to the unaffected side. In serious cases, you may even notice a loss of feeling in the area.

If you suspect that you have a pinched nerve, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible because this can become more serious and lead to other complications if not treated.

What are the symptoms of a knee fracture?

The most common symptom is pain, especially when you apply pressure or try to bend your knee. It may also hurt when you try to put weight on your leg.

Other symptoms can include swelling, bruising, and a lack of ability to move your knee. In some cases, the knee may look deformed or bulge outward.

Your health care provider will examine the knee and move it around to see if any noises or sensations indicate a fracture or tear. X-rays will be taken to confirm the diagnosis.

If you think you may have a broken knee, seek medical attention immediately.

What are the symptoms of a torn meniscus?

The most common symptom of a torn meniscus is pain. This can be especially present when putting weight on your leg or trying to bend it. You may also experience swelling, tenderness, or stiffness in the knee.

Torn cartilage in the knee can sometimes lead to a grinding noise when moving and a loss of flexibility.

As with any injury, if you think you have a torn meniscus you should seek medical attention immediately.

What are the symptoms of chondromalacia patella?

Chondromalacia patella is more commonly known as “runner’s knee.” It can be caused by overuse or because of tight or weak muscles combined with repetitive use. This causes damage to the cartilage underneath your patella (kneecap).

The most common symptom is pain along the front of your knee, which worsens when running or climbing stairs. You may also experience swelling and tenderness over your patella.

While there is currently no cure, you can treat chondromalacia by resting, icing, and taking anti-inflammatory medication. Physical therapy can also help strengthen the muscles around your knee and reduce some of the stress on your knee joint.

What are the symptoms of a knee contusion?

A knee contusion, also known as a bruised knee, is a bruise on or around your knee cap (patella). This is fairly common among athletes and people who participate in physical activities that involve a lot of jumping, turning, and cutting.

Treating a bruised knee is typically just a matter of resting, icing, and taking over the counter pain medication. Your health care provider may also give you a brace or crutches.

What are the symptoms of medial collateral ligament sprain?

The most common symptom of a sprained MCL is pain and difficulty moving your leg. You may also notice swelling, bruising, and feel a popping or snapping sensation when you injure your knee. The severity of the sprain can range from mild to severe.

In the early stages, your health care provider may recommend that you rest, apply ice, and take over the counter pain medication. After a few days, manual therapy and strengthening exercises can help regain strength and flexibility in your knee. A brace may also be recommended during this time to provide extra support.

Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help alleviate some of the pain.

What are the symptoms of an ACL tear?

The most common symptom of an ACL tear is when your knee “gives out” or is weakened and you hear a popping or tearing sound. This happens when the ACL tears away from the bone and no longer holds your tibia (shinbone) and femur (thighbone) together.

You may also notice swelling, bruising, feel a popping or snapping sensation, and experience difficulty moving your knee.

While most people tear their ACL playing sports, a certain activity may have put you at risk of tearing your ACL. While running, turning, and cutting are the most common reasons for an ACL tear, other things such as jumping off of ahigh platform, falling down from a bike, or being involved in a car accident can also lead to this injury.

An ACL tear can sometimes be “misdiagnosed,” especially if you have a minor tear in the ligament. If you had an MRI or other medical imaging test and were told you did not tear your ACL, the proper way to diagnose this tear is if you hear a pop or feel your knee give out and you cannot bear weight on it. Otherwise, you may have a minor tear in the ligament that will heal on its own.

The following are treatments for knee contusions (bruises). Your physician will determine which treatment is best for you. Treatment options include:

Resting, icing, and taking over-the-counter pain medication (such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen).

Severe contusions may require a prescription pain medication. Also, you may need to protect and immobilize your knee with the use of a brace or elastic wrap if there is significant swelling or if your knee is weak or unstable.

Stretching and strengthening exercises may be recommended to strengthen your knee and improve flexibility. A physical therapist can help you create an exercise routine. In addition, they may also provide you with elastic bands, tubing or other devices to help increase the strength of your muscles.

Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and resting will alleviate swelling and reduce pain.

Cold therapy (such as ice or cold packs) can help decrease swelling and ease pain for a short time.

ACL injuries can occur in people of all ages, genders and sizes. Female athletes do suffer ACL tears more frequently than males; however, it is becoming apparent that this is due more to the overuse of their knee joints rather than an increased risk of injury. Females tend to have less muscle mass than males, which can make the joint more susceptible to injury. It is also very common for girls to participate in sports that require a lot of quick starts and stops, such as soccer or basketball. This puts extra stress on the ACL, making it more likely to suffer an injury.

While men do suffer from ACL injuries more than women, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious and require surgery to repair.

Also more common in men are ACL tears within sports that involve a lot of cutting and changing of speed direction (such as basketball, soccer and football).

ACL injuries can happen at any age, but they most frequently occur in people who are between the ages of 10 and 30.

Sources & references used in this article:

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Displacement of the common peroneal nerve in posterolateral corner injuries of the knee by N Bottomley, A Williams, R Birch… – The Journal of …, 2005 – online.boneandjoint.org.uk

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation: basic science mechanisms and clinical effectiveness by KA Sluka, D Walsh – The Journal of pain, 2003 – Elsevier

Screening for musculoskeletal causes of pelvic pain by R McKenzie, P Van Wijmen – 1985 – Spinal publications New Zealand

Patient outcome after common peroneal nerve decompression by SA Prendergast, JM Weiss – Clinical obstetrics and gynecology, 2003 – journals.lww.com

Lumbar spinal stenosis: Diagnosis, management, and treatment by DB Humphreys, CB Novak, SE Mackinnon – Journal of neurosurgery, 2007 – thejns.org

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