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KNEE PAIN TREATMENT

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KNEE PAIN TREATMENT

  • 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 diffuse throughout the knee.
  • Knee pain is often accompanied by physical restriction.
  • A thorough physical examination will usually establish the diagnosis of knee pain.
  • The treatment of knee pain depends on the underlying cause.
  • The prognosis of knee pain is usually good although it might require surgery or other interventions.

What is knee pain?

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. Knee pain can be aggravated by exercise, affected by the surrounding muscles and their movements, and be triggered by other problems (such as a foot injury). Knee pain can affect people of all ages, and home remedies can be helpful unless it becomes severe.

What are knee pain symptoms and signs?

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. A Baker cyst will usually cause pain in the back of the knee.

The severity of the joint pain can vary, from a minor ache to a severe and disabling pain.

Some of the other signs and symptoms that accompany knee pain are

  • 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, and
  • shifting weight to the opposite knee and foot.

What causes knee pain?

Knee pain can be divided into three major categories:

  • Acute injury: such as a broken bone, torn ligament, or meniscal tear
  • Medical conditions: arthritis, infections
  • Chronic use/overuse conditions: osteoarthritis, patellar syndromes, tendinitis, and bursitis
Below is a list of some of the more common causes of knee pain. This is not an all-inclusive list but rather highlights a few common causes of knee pain in each of the above categories.

Acute knee injuries

Fractures: Direct trauma to the bony structure can cause one of the bones in the knee to break. This is usually a very obvious and painful knee injury. Most knee fractures are not only painful but will also interfere with the proper functioning of the knee (such as kneecap fracture) or make it very painful to bear weight (such as tibial plateau fracture). All fractures need immediate medical attention. Many fractures require significant force, and a thorough examination is performed to detect other injuries.

Ligament injuries: The most common injury is the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury. This is often a sports-related injury due to a sudden stop and change in directions. The remaining ligaments (posterior cruciate ligament, lateral collateral ligament, and medial collateral ligament) are injured less frequently.

Meniscus injuries: The menisci (medial and lateral) are made of cartilage and act as shock absorbers between bones in the knee. Twisting the knee can injure the meniscus.

Dislocation: The knee joint can be dislocated, which is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Knee dislocation can compromise blood flow to the leg and have other related problems. This injury often occurs during a motor-vehicle accident when the knee hits the dashboard.

When should people with knee pain call a health care professional?

Any pain that does not respond to rest or disappears within a few days should be evaluated by a doctor. In addition, the following are symptoms and signs in the knee that a doctor should evaluate:

  • Swelling
  • Inability to bend
  • Deformity
  • Unable to walk or discomfort while walking
  • Significant pain