Knee PainJanuary 13, 2020 12:24 pm
The knee is a major weight bearing joint that is subjected to many additional stresses beyond just weight bearing. It is for this reason that knee pain can affect every segment of the population. Individuals who participate in sports or are quite active may sustain ligamentous injuries, meniscus tears, tendon injuries, or articular cartilage lesions. These injuries may be due to acute trauma, overuse, or both. People who have endured a lot of wear and tear over time may develop osteoarthritis.
The first step in addressing one’s knee pain is to diagnose the problem. An orthopedic surgeon would take a patient’s history, and perform a physical examination. Routinely, X-rays are obtained as well. Although most patients that present with knee pain do not have any broken bones, X-rays are of vital importance in working up knee pain. In some cases, particularly if there is any concern about an ACL or meniscus tear, an MRI will be ordered. In most cases, a diagnosis can be made based on the patient’s history and physical examination. Sometimes, imaging studies such as X-rays and MRIs are necessary in order to make a definitive diagnosis.
Once a diagnosis is made, treatment options are discussed. Most knee problems can be treated conservatively. Anti-inflammatory pain medication and physical therapy can be extremely helpful. Sometimes injections can be administered to relieve pain as well. When the problem is one that doesn’t sufficiently respond to conservative treatment, surgery may be recommended.
The most common surgery orthopedic surgeons perform is a knee arthroscopy. As technology has evolved over the past 35 years, so has the capability of arthroscopic surgery. This is a minimally invasive procedure that can help to treat common injuries such as meniscus tears, articular cartilage lesions, and ligament ruptures.
The single most common cause of knee pain is arthritis. Like most knee disorders, this can be treated conservatively with medication and/or physical therapy. Injections are also frequently administered to help relieve arthritis pain. In the past few years, a lot of research has been conducted which has studied alternatives to conventional corticosteroid or viscosupplementation injections. When conservative treatment doesn’t adequately manage arthritis pain, the last resort is knee replacement surgery. In recent years, prosthetic implants and surgical techniques have evolved so that knee replacements are lasting longer than ever before.