Knee pain is a common problem with many causes, from acute injuries to complications of medical conditions. Knee pain can be localized to a specific area of the knee or be diffused throughout the knee. Knee pain is often accompanied by physical restriction. Knee pain is a common problem that can originate in any of the bony structures compromising the knee joint (femur, tibia, fibula), the kneecap (patella), or the ligaments and cartilage (meniscus) of the knee.
The location of the knee pain can vary depending on which structure is involved. With infection or an inflammatory process, the whole knee might be swollen and painful, while a torn meniscus or fracture of a bone gives symptoms only in one specific location.
CONDITIONS & SYMPTOMS
Doctors at IPM often see conditions like:
- Difficulty walking due to instability of the knee
- Limping due to discomfort
- Difficulty walking up or down steps due to ligament damage
- Locking of the knee (unable to bend the knee)
- Redness and swelling
- Inability to extend the knee.
The following are symptoms of knee pain you may be experiencing. If any of the below sound familiar, please make an appointment with our specialists.
Injuries to the meniscus are typically traumatic injuries but can also be due to overuse. Often, a piece of the meniscus will tear off and float in the knee joint.
Dislocation of the knee is a true limb-threatening emergency. This is also a rare injury. Dislocation of the knee is caused by a particularly powerful blow to the knee. The lower leg becomes completely displaced with relation to the upper leg. This displacement stretches and frequently tears not only the ligaments of the knee but also arteries and nerves. Untreated arterial injuries leave the lower leg without a blood supply. In this case, amputation may be required. Nerve injuries, on the other hand, may leave the lower leg viable but without strength or sensation.
Dislocated kneecap (patella)
A common injury caused by direct trauma or forceful straightening of the leg, such as an injury that happens when serving in volleyball or tennis. Patellar dislocation is more common in women, the obese, knock-kneed people, and in those with high-riding kneecaps.
Osteoarthritis is caused by degeneration of cartilage in the knee. In its extreme form, the menisci (cartilage) will be completely eroded, and the femur will rub on the tibia, bone on bone.
As a result of trauma, infection, or crystalline deposits, the various bursae of the knee may become inflamed.
Treatments for Knee
Treatments for Knee Pain include the following. If pain persists or is significant, please contact our pain specialists right away:
Medications: Medications might be prescribed to treat an underlying medical condition or for pain relief.
Physical therapy: Sometimes strengthening the muscles around the knee will make it more stable and help guarantee the best mechanical movements. This can help avoid injuries or further worsening of an injury.
Injections: Injecting medications directly into your knee might help in certain situations. The two most common injections are corticosteroids and lubricants. Corticosteroid injections can help arthritis and other inflammations of the knee. They usually need to be repeated every few months. Lubricants that are similar to the fluid already in your knee joint can help with movement and pain.
Surgery: Knee operations range from arthroscopic knee surgery to total knee replacement. Arthroscopic knee surgery is a very common surgical procedure that allows the physician look inside your knee through a few small holes and a fiberoptic camera. The surgeon can repair many of the injuries and remove small pieces of loose bones or cartilage. This is a common outpatient procedure.
Partial knee replacement: The surgeon replaces the damaged portions of the knee with plastic and metal parts. Because only part of the knee joint is replaced, this procedure has a shorter recovery then a total knee replacement.
Total knee replacement: In this procedure, the knee is replaced with an artificial joint.
Other therapies: Acupuncture has shown some relieve of knee pain, especially in patients with osteoarthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have shown mixed results in research studies.