Aching knees are seen as an issue for older people, but many younger people deal with knee pain. While the symptoms may feel similar, younger people usually have knee pain for different reasons.
Cause for knee pain in young adults?
Knee pain for people in their 20s is often related to overuse injuries. When muscles, ligaments, or tendons are overworked, stiffness and other symptoms could develop. Tendonitis and bursitis are common overuse injuries experienced with strenuous activity. But they can also arise in inactive people who try to be active too quickly. While these types of injuries are common in young adults, there are a few other causes of knee pain:
Patellofemoral syndrome is a common cause of knee pain for young people, and it occurs when there is an imbalance in the muscles supporting your knee joint and helping it move. When thigh muscles are weak, or muscles or tendons are tightened around your knee, it can change the way your knee works. Over time, this causes areas of strain and pressure in the knee joint. These areas can experience irritation and inflammation, and later, the pain can radiate to the kneecap and in the front of the knee. People with this condition experience pain or stiffness when kneeling, squatting, or climbing stairs. Some people experience a grinding or grating sensation inside the knee.
Arthritis can affect your knees as early as your 20s, even for athletes or for those who are overweight. Arthritis develops when the protective layer of cartilage in the knee joint wears down. Some athletes, especially those who perform jumping or high-impact activities, are more prone to arthritis. Repeated injuries to the knee can also damage the cartilage, making you more vulnerable to arthritis. Obesity can similarly affect your knees since the additional strain from carrying excess weight can weaken the cartilage and cause it to break down.
Knee Pain in Teens and young children
Young children and teens can have knee pain, especially if they are regularly active or play sports. Adolescent knee pain is usually not caused by arthritis, but patellofemoral syndrome can cause it. Typically, adolescent anterior knee pain develops because of overuse or poor training routines. It can cause imbalances, which can pull the kneecap out of alignment and cause uneven stress inside the joint.
How do you stop knee pain at a young age?
Knee pain in younger patients is often treated with the basics:
- Avoiding or limiting physical activities
- Applying ice/warm compress
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Physical therapy/stretching exercises to promote balance
- Paying attention to early signs of pain to avoid overuse
If you have knee pain, get the care you need to feel better and prevent permanent joint damage. Give our Irvine office a call to learn how regenerative cell therapy and how it can help your pain.