When acute pain is confined to the knee joint, it usually indicates a joint problem in the knee itself such as a soft tissue injury or swelling of the joint. However, sharp stabbing pain in knee comes and goes. It usually indicates a neural problem either in the knee itself, or in the lower back.
Common Causes of Sharp Knee Pain
The most common causes of sharp knee pain are:
- Torn Knee Cartilage: the special cushioning that lines the knee joint
- Knee Bursitis: inflammation of anti-friction sac
- Knee Arthritis: wear and tear
- Loose Body: bone fragment floating in the joint
- Fracture: broken bone
- Nerve Irritation: nerve gets squashed or irritated.
Here we will look at the most common causes of acute knee pain, how they are present and how you can find out what is happening to your knees. Then we will look at how to treat the various causes of acute knee pain
1. Soft Tissue Injuries
Knee soft tissue injury is a common cause of acute knee pain. Acute pain usually begins when there is damage to the cartilage covering the knee or inflammation in the knee bursa.
Knee Cartilage Tear
Severe pain in the knee is usually caused by something stuck in the knee joint. The surface of each knee bone is covered with a thick layer of cartilage that allows for smooth, painless movement by acting as a spacer between the joints so that when the knee moves, there is no friction in the bones. Knee cartilage also acts as a shock absorber to reduce knee-jerk strength with activities such as running and jumping.
If the knee joint is damaged, then the smaller pieces may be torn and trapped in the joint.
However, there are two ways this can happen:
- Cartilage Fragment: A small piece of cartilage may tear completely over a large part of the meniscus and float on the knees.
- Bucket Handle Tear: This is when the tear in the cartilage leaves the open flap slightly attached to the meniscus. This flap can move slightly and occasionally get stuck in the joint
If the loose part of the cartilage is trapped in the balance, it usually causes severe stabbing pain and often results in a lock, when the knee joint is stuck and you cannot move your leg.
Knee bursitis is another common cause of knee pain and can affect any part of the knee.
The area of pain indicates which bursa is affected. If the acute pain of the sting is:
- Front Knee: or below the knee cap, possibly prepatellar bursitis, housemaid knee.
- Behind the knee: possibly Baker’s Cyst.
- Inner Side of Knee: Pes Anserine bursitis usually causes pain in the inner side of the knee.
- Outer Side of The Knee: iliotibial bursitis causes pain on the outer side of the knee, which usually affects athletes.
2. Bone Problems
There are also a number of bone problems that can cause severe knee pain. There are three knee joints that makeup two separate joints.
- Tibiofemoral Joint: is what we often think of as the knee joint and is where the femur and tibia, thigh and shin bones, meet.
- Patellofemoral Joint: kneecap joint between femur and patella, thigh bone and kneecap
Joint Wear & Tear
Severe pain in the knee may be a sign of wear and tear on the inside of the joint. Inflammation of the cartilage, or aging that causes it to become thinner and scattered, or injuries that cause it to rupture, can lead to the formation of osteophytes, small bone lumps that protrude slightly.
These osteophytes reduce the space between the bones and besides cartilage to protect and seal them, the bones rub against the bone. This often leads to arthritis. When you move the knee to a different position and release the pressure on the osteophytes, the acute pain disappears, but it may leave the remaining painful pain.
Normally, walking sounds good, but if you add any extra pressure to your knee joint such as a twitch, twist, run, or up and downstairs, this can cause sharp knee pain.
If there is severe acute knee pain that is chronic and started as a result of the injury it may indicate a knee fracture of one of the knee bones.
With a broken bone, there is often severe swelling and there may be obvious deformities. Any bone movement, however. Any movement of the bones, no matter how small, can cause severe, sharp pain in the knee as the fractured bones rub against one another.
It takes a lot of energy to break one of the knee bones so you know right away that something is wrong. The break may be in the tibia or femur, or if you fall before the knee, there may be a fracture of the patella.
How to deal with the pain in the knee with Home Remedies?
Minor knee pain is very common and can often be treated at home. One of the most common remedies for minor knee pain is rest, ice, compression, elevation, or RICE. Try the following RICE methods:
- Avoid the activity that causes you pain.
- Use crutches to keep weight off your knee.
- Ice the area three or four times per day for 20 minutes at a time.
- Wrap your knee using an elastic compression bandage.
- Place pillows underneath your knee to elevate it to the same level or higher than the level of your heart.
However, You may also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to alleviate the swelling. If symptoms persist after three days despite this treatment or if your pain worsens, talk to your doctor.
How to Fix Knee Pain with Exercises?
Daily exercise can help you keep your muscles strong and maintain mobility. It’s an essential tool for treating OA and other causes of sharp stabbing Knee Pain.
However, Resting the leg or limiting movement may help you avoid Knee Pain, but it can also stiffen the joint and slow recovery. In the case of OA, not enough exercise may speed up the rate of damage to the joint.
Also, Low-impact activities are a good option, such as:
- Swimming or water exercise.
- Tai chi or yoga.
However, Ask your doctor or a physical therapist to help you design a program that’s suitable for you, and adapt it as your symptoms change.
What are the other treatments for sharp stabbing knee pain?
Other Common Treatments of sharp stabbing knee pain or knee fracture include the following:
Medications might be prescribed to treat an underlying medical condition or for pain relief. If you are taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications regularly for your knee pain, you should see your doctor to be evaluated.
Sometimes physical therapy sessions to strengthen the muscles around the knee will make it more stable and help guarantee the best mechanical movements. Working with a physical therapist can help avoid injuries or further worsening of an injury.
Injecting medications directly into your knee might help in certain situations. The two most common injections are corticosteroids and lubricants.
However, Corticosteroid injections can help in reducing inflammation of the knee. They usually need to be repeated every few months. Lubricants that are similar to the fluid already in your knee joint can help with movement and pain.