Around the time Carmelo Anthony began complaining of knee stiffness a few weeks ago, his team – the New York Knicks – began suffering in the points department. With one of their strongest players not feeling up to par, it’s no wonder that the team started racking up losses. Luckily for Knicks fans, all Anthony needed to get back to his former self was for his knee to be drained, and the Knicks are now on a winning streak with Anthony as their points leader.
But for others who suffer from knee stiffness, it’s no surprise that the condition affected Anthony’s ability to function so drastically. They know the pain and lessened mobility that knee stiffness brings. And unfortunately, many of them also know that draining the knee doesn’t always solve the problem, as it seems to have for Anthony (along with the constant care of an on-staff sports medicine specialist, Dr. Lisa Callahan).
If you haven’t yet found the right treatment for your knee stiffness and a personal physician isn’t an option for you, it’s important to figure out with your physician what the cause of your pain is. Here are some common causes of knee stiffness:
Arthritis – Osteoarthritis is the most common arthritis affecting the knee. It’s a degenerative disease that slowly causes joint cartilage to wear away, resulting in pain and stiffness – especially during physical activity, long periods of sitting, or weather changes.
Bursitis – Bursae are small, fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions between the bones and tendons. With bursitis, these sacs become inflamed, causing pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and redness.
Gout – Gout is a form of arthritis that’s brought about in some people by consuming organ meats, mushrooms, scallops, and alcohol. These foods contain purines which produce uric acid. With gout, urite crystals are formed, which pool at joints like the knee and cause pain and stiffness.
Ligament damage – If these strong cords of tissue that connect your bones are damaged through sports or a fall of some kind, it could result in pain and stiffness, possibly requiring surgery and rehabilitation.
Meniscus tear – The meniscus is a rubbery piece of cartilage that helps to absorb shock in your knee. These menisci can be torn by a hit to the knee or twisting of your knee, and can result in pain and stiffness. This kind of injury is often marked by a popping noise when it occurs.
Tendinitis – The patellar tendon runs from your tibia to a bone in your knee. Small tears to this tendon can be caused by repeated jumping, being overweight, muscle imbalance, or tight leg muscles. Over time, these tears can cause inflammation, pain and stiffness known as tendinitis.
Sources: newsday.com, nj.com, and livestrong.com