FAQ’s on Knee Pain
What is Knee Pain?
Pain in the knee is one of the most frequently treated causes of pain in our patients, accounting for nearly a third of all visits to physicians in the United States alone. The knee is the largest joint the body has, and is a combination of muscles, bone, cartilage ligaments, and tendons that all work in unison to provide movement. If any one of these areas develops a complication, patients may experience a great deal of pain and a loss of functionality in their knee.
The most common causes of knee pain include both acute causes and sources of pain from overuse. Common acute causes include direct injury to the knee, such as impact, or may occur if the knee it suddenly bent the wrong way during a landing. Acute injury can also be caused by sudden trauma to the knees, found commonly in a patient who has landed on them during a fall. Overuse of the knee can occur from any repetitive action of the knee, or if the knee is placed under a constant pressure. Both of these causes can produce inflammation, or may result in a tear of the tendons and ligaments.
What are the symptoms of Knee Pain?
The primary symptoms experienced with knee pain will be based on what the origin is. Symptoms shared between numerous causes include knee pain localized to the area of the cause, inflammation or swelling of the knee, tenderness in the area surrounding the cause, or a discoloration of skin above swelling. Depending on the location of swelling, a patient may have a reduced range of movement for their knee or have pain that worsens during knee movement.
How is Knee Pain diagnosed?
A complete examination will be made of the knee and combined with the results of diagnostic imaging techniques to achieve diagnosis. In many cases, an X-ray will be used to investigate the physical aspects of the knee with a CT scan or MRI used to examine the tissue surrounding the knee in search for damage or inflammation.
What are the treatment options for Knee Pain?
The treatments provided to patients will be based on the severity of the pain and the likely source of pain as confirmed by diagnostic testing. Patients with only minor pain, such as in the early stages of overuse where swelling is minor, may receive conservative treatment. This includes resting the knee as much as possible, medication given in the form of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, and the usage of a warm (or cold, whichever works best) compress on the knee.
Patients with moderate symptoms will typically be given physical therapy in addition to the above conservative treatments. A physical therapy program and exercise regimen will be tailored to the unique requirements of the patient to provide the best opportunity for relief.
Patients who have had trauma occur to the knee resulting in physical damage, such as a broken bone or a torn tendon or ligament, will normally require an invasive correction procedure to repair the damage. It is also possible that one or more therapeutic injections will be given to numb the area to provide relief. In the case of inflammation, such as with osteoarthritis, a steroidal injection may be given to assist in the reduction of swelling to provide relief (Intra-articular Injections of Hyaluronic Acid and Other Drugs in the Knee Joint, 2013)
If pain is the direct result of a chronic condition such as osteoarthritis, direct treatment can be difficult. Due to the cartilage loss of arthritis, providing a direct surgical corrective treatment is not possible. Patients do have options however, as there is ground being made in regenerative medicines for the treatment of osteoarthritis in the knee. Through the use of stem cell injections (Intra-articular injection of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee, 2014) and platelet rich plasma therapy (The effect of platelet-rich plasma on pain, function, and quality of life of patients with knee osteoarthritis, 2013), our clinic is better equipped than ever to provide relief for knee pain.