Knee pain is a common problem among people of all ages. It is often caused by an injury or a medical condition such as arthritis.
The pain experienced can be limited to a specific part of the knee, or it can be widespread, affecting the entire knee region and nearby tissues. Left untreated, knee pain may worsen and affect one’s daily routine, reducing one’s quality of life.
Knee pain can be caused by a variety of things, including:
Any injury that induces direct trauma to the knees, including torn cartilage, anterior cruciate ligament tear, meniscus tear, dislocation and other sports injuries.
Arthritis, considered one of the leading causes of knee pain, manifests in different forms such as gout, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, knee pain may be caused by age-related problems such as bone or cartilage degeneration, and excessive weight and hip or foot pain that may alter gait and place extra stress on the knees.
A common problem with runners and cyclists, patellar tendonitis and patellofemoral pain syndromes occur with the repetition of the same movements. Other sports-related injuries may also contribute to knee pain.
The location and severity of knee pain depend on its cause, but are often accompanied by some of these signs:
An accurate diagnosis of knee pain allows an orthopaedic surgeon to prescribe an effective treatment. Usually, the orthopaedic surgeon will conduct a physical examination to evaluate your condition. The doctor may also request imaging tests like an X-ray, CT scan and MRI to inspect the condition more thoroughly, especially if degenerative joint diseases or fractures are suspected. Lab tests are done for conditions such as gout.
In mild cases, home remedies like the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and physiotherapy may be all that is needed. However, in more severe cases, surgery may be needed to restore mobility and function to the knee.
This is a procedure in which an arthroscope—a lighted, tubular endoscope attached with a camera and other microsurgical instruments—is inserted into the knee or joint via small incisions. Arthroscopy allows the orthopaedic surgeon to view the inside of the knee from the outside. It is a minimally invasive way to repair and reconstruct damaged cartilage and ligaments, and remove loose tissues or bone.
Also known as unicompartmental arthroplasty, this knee replacement procedure involves removing the most damaged parts of the knee and replacing it with metal or plastic components. It is typically done through small incisions, resulting in reduced pain and a faster recovery time.
This is a major operation where the entire damaged knee joint, as well as the tissues surrounding it, is removed and replaced with an artificial metal-plastic joint. Because of the more invasive nature of the procedure, the recovery time is longer.
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