At What Age Do Knee Problems Start?


Article by Shane Armfield

At What Age Do Knee Problems Start?

Knee pain can start at many different times throughout your life but is usually due to specific conditions.

Children and teenagers can experience knee pain due to conditions such as Osgood Schlatters, patellofemoral pain, or due to injury. These are usually time-limited and will resolve with time and treatment. It is worth getting your child’s knee pain assessed as a return to activity or sport can be optimised by your physiotherapist. Rare conditions such as Juvenile Chronic Arthritis (JCA) can occur and need specialist assessment and management. This appears as a painful swollen, sometimes red joint even at rest.

Adults in their twenties and thirties are most likely to get knee pain due to injury. Sport or vigorous work activity can lead to ligament damage, cartilage damage, muscle strains or tendon injury. These need to be assessed and treated as untreated injuries can lead to you having an increased chance of further injury. It can also increase your chances of developing Osteoarthritis at a later stage. Suppose you have injured your knee and experience significant pain weight-bearing, considerable swelling, any painful clicking or locking or feelings of instability in the knee. You need to have this assessed. Visit your physiotherapist, who is highly skilled at assessing the knee and the most appropriate management plan.

Pain in the knee can start in later life even with no injury history. All joints in the body will have an element of degeneration over time. It is a normal part of aging and can include thinning cartilage, meniscal tears, increased bone growth and increased laxity of supporting ligaments. This is essentially Osteoarthritis. This can start even in your thirties; although this is rare, but is more common for people in their fifties or sixties. Some people can get significant evidence of osteoarthritis on an X-ray, experience little or no pain, and have excellent function. Other people can have low levels of osteoarthritis and experience considerable pain.

The pain is usually related to weight-bearing activity, especially involving twisting movements. There is occasional swelling associated with this, but this does not always occur. This often happens if someone has significantly increased activity on the knee within a short period. People looking to get back to sport or exercise after a period of inactivity or getting stuck back into the garden to beat back the weeds may experience a flare of pain in their knee. Osteoarthritis needs to be treated as it can ultimately lead to avoidance of exercise or movement. This can then exacerbate other problems such as cardiovascular disease. Your physiotherapist can treat osteoarthritis and develop a programme to restore your knee’s strength and functional capacity.

Sometimes in later life, people get to the stage where a knee replacement is required to restore pain-free movement and function. This is a very successful operation but does require some rehabilitation afterwards to get optimal results.

PhysioWorks offer same-day appointments for prompt diagnosis and rehabilitation plan. Your PhysioWorks Physiotherapist has a particular interest in knee injury and can help guide your rehabilitation to get you back to what you love faster!

So please don’t delay in seeing your knee physiotherapist for their opinion on your knee pain.

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