Chronic knee pain reduces mobility and can be debilitating if left untreated.
Knee pain often occurs quickly after an injury, such as a fall, car accident or twisted knee. Athletes are prone to knee injuries.
But knee pain can also gradually increase over time. Chronic knee pain is hereditary or can be caused by past injuries that were never properly cared for. t Common causes of knee pain include:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- New Injury
- Old Injury
- Improper Posture or Alignment
- Ligament Injuries/Sprains
- Tendinitis/Ruptured Tendon
- Osgood-Schlatter Disease
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Whether your knee pain is from an injury or a long-term degenerative condition, an orthopedist can help relieve the pain. Do not wait until your quality of life is affected. Living with chronic knee pain is not normal, or necessary. With many recent advancements in orthopedics, doctors can now diagnose and treat problems quickly and effectively.
Patients often leave their doctors’ offices with less pain and little downtime. The doctor may recommend a series of at-home exercises to help strengthen the sore knee or surgery may be required. Here are some treatment options an orthopedic specialist may recommend to end knee pain:
Pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers can help speed recovery from minor injuries.
Many different types of surgical operations exist for knee conditions. An orthopedic surgeon will need to diagnose the problem and determine the best treatment option. The most common operations performed to help alleviate pain and improve mobility are:
- Arthroscopic Surgery - This minimally invasive procedure utilizes a camera that allows the doctor to see inside the knee and, if needed, remove damaged tissue.
- Knee Resurfacing - If the knee joint grinds against the surrounding bones, a surgeon may recommend resurfacing, or covering, the ball of the joint.
- Knee Replacement – Extensive knee pain and damage may require a total knee replacement. This procedure requires a lengthy recovery but can change a person's life.
- ACL Reconstruction - Partial or complete tears in the ACL can be extremely painful and the torn ligament will need to be surgically repaired.
- Torn Meniscus Repair - Arthroscopy or open knee surgery is required to repair the damaged tissue.
A physical therapist is a specially trained medical professional who uses exercise and movement to heal injuries, strength muscles, improve balance and aid surgical recovery. After knee surgery, for example, many patients need help re-learning how to walk.
Extra weight puts stress on joints. Losing excess weight will reduce strain and alleviate the pain. Weight-loss can also help prevent injuries and many chronic health conditions. Low-impact activities to help lose weight include:
- Chair Yoga
- Elliptical Machines
Also consider dietary alterations, such as reducing calories and eating more fiber to shed some weight. Consider speaking to a dietitian if help is needed.
Sometimes knee pain after injuries is due to weak muscles around the knee. Many patients do well with physical therapy and exercise to build up strength in the muscles of the legs. Other patients might benefit more from electrical stimulation. During this treatment, electrodes are placed around the muscles, and electrical impulses help the muscles flex and relax. This is a more passive way to build strength and stability around the knee.
Knee Braces, Ice, and Rest
In some cases, the doctor might recommend rest, ice, or knee braces. Minor injuries may correct themselves with time and adequate rest. The pain should start to subside over time as the area heals naturally. Ask your orthopedist if any over-the-counter medication should be used if the pain becomes intolerable.
If the pain does not subside, you may need to ask about other treatment options. There might be an underlying issue keeping your body from properly healing. Sometimes crutches or a walker may be required to keep weight off the joint and allow it time to rest and recover naturally.
Chronic knee pain can reduce mobility and severely reduce a person’s quality of life. Even simple daily tasks can be difficult without proper mobility in the knee joint. It can also be challenging to determine the cause of your knee pain. Knee pain and inflammation occur with most knee injuries and disorders. An experienced orthopedic specialist can help diagnose your specific problem and recommend the best treatment option for you.
If you or a loved one has knee pain, contact us today. Our team of dedicated orthopedic doctors can get you moving again.