Top Knee Pain Treatment

Top Knee Pain Treatment

The knee joint is especially vulnerable to injury and damage because it holds up your full body weight as well as any extra force when you jump or run. Knee pain is more common among older people, those who are overweight, and athletes.

What are the common causes of knee pain?

Sports involve a lot of moving and turning, including football, skiing, soccer, and basketball. The knee can be injured easily, or age may lead to wear-and-tear on the joint. Common causes of knee pain are:

  • Osteoarthritis (OA) – This condition causes recurrent stiffness and pain due to damage of the articular cartilage (protective knee bone surfaces), as well as swelling of the joint tissues. The pain is often worse with weight-bearing.knee pain specialist san diego
  • Sprains and strains – When knee tissues are stretched, you could have a sprain or strain of the knee. These injuries do not result in permanent damage, but may require you to rest the knee joint for a while.
  • Menisci or cartilage damage – The menisci are two rubbery pads of tissue that sit between the thigh and lower leg bones. These cushions act as shock absorbers. A meniscus is torn during a twisting knee injury, and results in pain, swelling, and knee locking. Cartilage is a protective covering over the ends of the leg bones. This tissue can be damaged by a knee injury as well.
  • Tendonitis – Overuse or injury to the tendon that connects the shin bone to the kneecap is known as patellar tendonitis. Also called jumper’s knee, this condition is brought on by jumping activities, such as volleyball or basketball. The knee often becomes reddened, warm, and swollen.
  • Torn tendons and/or ligaments – Ligaments are tough, flexible bands of tissue that connect the knee joint bones. Tendons are fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bone. These structures are torn during running sports, such as football or soccer. Injured tendons and ligaments will cause knee pain at rest and worse pain with weight-bearing or bending of the knee. The knee may also feel like it is giving way.
  • Bursitis (housemaid’s knee) – This condition is caused by repetitive knee movement or frequent kneeling. The bursa is a sac around the knee joint that holds synovial fluid to lubricate the joint. With injury, fluid can build-up and cause pain. Also called housemaid’s knee, bursitis causes pain that is worse with kneeling and bending the joint.
  • Bleeding into the joint – Any knee injury can result in bleeding into the joint space, which is known as hemarthrosis. This often occurs when a ligament is torn or with fracture to one of the knee bones. Signs of hemarthrosis are warmth, knee swelling, bruising, stiffness, and pain.
  • Septic joint – An infected knee can be hot, swollen, and quite painful. This condition is caused by a pathogen, such as bacteria.
  • Osgood-Schlatter’s disease – For teens and young adults, a bony lump (growth plate) could become painful during growth spurts. This condition is more common in active youth who participate in sports that involve jumping, running, and bending of the knees.
  • Gouty arthritis – Caused by a build-up of uric acid, a waste product in the body, will cause crystals to form in the joints. This leads to knee pain from inflammation and decreased joint movement.

How common is knee pain?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), knee pain affects 18% of men age 60 years and older. For women, the prevalence rate is slightly higher at 20%.

How is knee pain diagnosed?

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The San Diego knee pain doctor will attempt to discover the actual cause of your knee pain to diagnose the condition. This involves asking questions about your symptoms, taking a detailed medical history, and conducting a physical examination. Blood tests, x-rays, and MRI scans are often used to diagnose the problem.

How is knee pain treated in San Diego?

The treatment of knee pain depends on the underlying cause. Treatment options include:

  • Physical therapy – The therapist helps you with strengthening and flexibility maneuvers. In addition, pain relief measures include ultrasound, heat therapy, and electrical stimulation. In a study involving patients with knee OA who had manual physical therapy, the majority statistically and clinically improved after 4 weeks. Effects included less pain and stiffness, as well as improved functional ability.
  • Hyaluronic acid injections – These substances are injected into the knee joint to supplement naturally occurring synovial fluid. Acting as a lubricant and shock absorber, this solution allows joint bones to smoothly move over each other. Injections are often given once a week for 3-5 weeks, depending on the product. Examples include Orthovisc, Synvisc, and Hyalgan. In a recent research study, the success rate for hyaluronic acid injections was 80%.
  • Corticosteroid injections – For pain and inflammation, the doctor can inject the joint with a corticosteroid agent. This offers pain relief that could last for up to 6 months. Because repeated injections could cause cartilage breakdown, the doctor will not perform this procedure that often. In a recent Cochrane meta-analysis, corticosteroid injections offered symptomatic knee pain relief for 4 weeks.
  • Arthrocentesis – This involves removal of joint fluid by using a hollow needle inserted directly into the joint space. Also called joint fluid aspiration, this procedure can also involve injecting the knee with a corticosteroid with or without an anesthetic agent. According to clinical studies, this procedure has a 93% efficacy rate.
  • Medications – For inflammatory cause of knee pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are prescribed. Special gout medications can benefit those with gouty arthritis, and pain relievers are given short-term for severe discomfort.

Resources

Altman RD & Moskowitz R (1998). Hyalgan Study Group Intraarticular sodium hyaluronate (Hyalgan) in the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized clinical trial. J Rheumatol, 25:2203–2212.

Bannuru RR, Natov NS, Obadan IE, et al. (2009) Therapeutic trajectory of hyaluronic acid versus corticosteroids in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arthritis Rheum, 15:1704–1711.

Deyle GD, Henderson NE, Matelkel RL, et al. (2000). Effectiveness of manual physical therapy and exercise in osteoarthritis of the knee: A randomized, controlled trial. Ann Int Med, 132(3).

Kirchner M & Marshall D (2006). A double-blind randomized controlled trial comparing alternate forms of high molecular weight hyaluronan for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis Cartilage, 14(2):154–162.

Lohmander L S, Dalén N, Englund G, et al. (1996). Hyaluronan multicentre trial group intra-articular hyaluronan injections in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled multicentre trial. Ann Rheum Dis, 55:424–431.

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