Knee pain can affect people of all ages, particularly adults, and is generally associated with wear and tear from daily activities such as walking or bending. At Axon Health Associates, we offer personalized treatment plans to alleviate pain and improve mobility and quality of life. Our state-of-the-art diagnostic tools help identify your knee pain’s root cause.
What is Knee Pain?
Knee pain may start suddenly after an injury or slowly begin as mild discomfort and then gradually worsen. The pain can be at a particular place or spread throughout the knee and may cause mobility difficulties. Knee pain can be further exacerbated by physical activities, injuries, and obesity.
Knee pain can originate from the anatomical structures of your knee, including the bursa, patella (knee cap), tendons, ligaments, cartilage(meniscus), muscles, and tibiofemoral joint.
Signs of Knee Pain
Symptoms depend on the severity of the knee pain and the problems causing it. Pain location depends on the structure involved; for example, fractures or torn meniscus can have symptoms in a specific place, while inflammation can cause pain in the whole knee. Joint pain severity varies from minor to severe.
Do not ignore knee injury signs since it can result in posture issues, abnormal gait, and pain in other body parts such as feet, ankle, back, and hips. Signs include:
- Inability to straighten the knee
- Feeling that your knee might buckle or give way
- Difficulty walking
- Inability to bear weight in the affected knee
- Clicking, locking, or popping of your knee joint
- Swelling or bruising
- Knee cap changing shape
- Redness and warmth to the touch
- Joint stiffness
- Limited mobility in your joint
- Tenderness on or around your knee
Causes of Knee Pain
Various factors can cause knee pain, such as:
- Fractures of the knee cap
- Infections in the knee bone
- Arthritis and inflammatory conditions
- Baker cyst (fluid-filled swelling behind the knee)
- Bone cancer
- Infection in the knee joint
- Knee cap dislocation
- Torn ligament, meniscus, or cartilage
- Osgood-Schlatter’s disease (bony lump below the knee; common in children and young adults)
- Patellofemoral syndrome (pain in front of the knee)
- Repetitive overuse from exercise and sports
- Weakness and muscle imbalance in the lower kinetic chain
- Patellar or IT band tendonitis
- Trauma or injury
- Mechanical deficiencies
- Wear and tear from poor posture
The following risk factors can cause knee pain
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Obesity or excessive weight
- High-intensity exercise or sports
- Previous injury
- Certain occupations
- Lack of muscle flexibility or strength
- Overuse from repetitive motions
- Gait abnormalities
- Faulty biomechanics
- Excessive sitting
When to See the Doctor
If you experience any of the following symptoms for more than a day, seek medical assistance:
- You cannot move your knee or put any weight on it
- Intense pain
- Significant swelling or change in shape
- Your knee locks painfully, clicks, or gives way
- Limited range of motion
- Heat around the joint
- High fever and shivers
- Redness or heat around the knee area
- Knee or joint looks deformed
- Inability to walk or discomfort when walking
Knee Pain Diagnosis
Your doctor will begin by taking your medical history and asking you about the nature of your knee pain. You will be asked how long and severe your knee pain is, and whether there is anything that worsens or improves the pain.
Your doctor will then conduct a physical examination to:
- Check your range of motion
- Assess your knee for pain, warmth, visible bruising, tenderness, and swelling
- Pull or push the joint to analyze the knee’s structure integrity
Additional tests for knee problems may be necessary to help confirm a diagnosis, such as:
X-ray: This makes images of internal tissues, bones, and organs to help detect degenerated joint disease or fractures.
Ultrasound: To check for specific problems in the knee.
Radionuclide bone scan: This test shows cell activity and blood flow in the bone.
Computerized tomography (CT scan): This test helps to diagnose fractures and bone problems.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This helps reveal injuries and determine damage or disease in a surrounding ligament, muscle, tendons, or cartilage.
Blood tests are done when the doctor suspects an infection or inflammation.
Knee Pain Treatment
Treatment depends on the cause and may include:
Anti-inflammatory medications include Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen for pain relief and swelling.
Physical therapy or exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee. Exercises improve flexibility and balance.
Injections: Your doctor might recommend injecting medications to the knee, such as:
- Hyaluronic acid is similar to the natural fluid that lubricates the joints. The injection helps improve mobility and ease the pain.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP): This concentration is made from your own blood components. PRP promotes healing and helps reduce inflammation.
- Corticosteroid injections to provide pain relief and reduce arthritis symptoms.
Home remedies such as:
- The RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method
- Avoid lifting heavy objects or activities that cause pain
- Place a pillow under the knee for support when sleeping
- Practice stretching and strengthening exercise
- Wear an elastic bandage to provide support and reduce swelling
- Warm up before exercises and cool down afterward
- Weight loss
- Avoid exercising excessively
This is recommended when other treatments are not effective. Surgical options may include:
Total knee replacement removes damaged bone and cartilage and replaces it with an artificial one.
Partial knee replacement surgery is a minimally invasive surgery that removes only the damaged portion of your knee with artificial ones.
Osteotomy involves removing a bone from the thigh to realign the knee and relieve arthritis.
Arthroscopic surgery to repair or remove damaged joints after an injury.
At Axon Health Associates, we offer a customized treatment plan for knee pain in combination with other therapies such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage therapy. Contact us today for more information or schedule an appointment online.