The knee is a hinge joint, connecting the upper and lower parts of the leg, allowing it to flex and extend. Those two parts are the the femur (i.e., the thigh bone) and the tibia (i.e., the shin bone). The patella (or kneecap) covers the front of the knee joint. As for soft tissue, the knee includes four supporting ligaments and a meniscus—which is a c-shaped pad of cartilage that absorbs shock—on each end. There are also a host of muscles and tendons around the joint that help stabilize it. Injury or degenerative damage to any part of the knee can cause knee pain. The pain can be acute (occurs one day to one week following an injury), subacute (occurs two to six weeks following an injury), or chronic (lasting more than two months). Depending on the injury or condition that’s causing the pain, it can occur in the front of the knee, inside of the knee, outside of the knee, or in the back of the knee. The location of the pain can provide clues as to its source. While treatment for knee pain will depend on the cause, rest, ice, compression, and elevation may be beneficial.
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