Knee problems are not uncommon and can lead to symptoms such as pain and limited function. There are a variety of advanced nonsurgical treatments available, but in some cases, surgery may be the best option to alleviate symptoms. Read on to find out more about treatments for knee pain and whether you may be eligible for surgery.
Common Causes of Knee Problems
Factors such as injury, infection, or a medical condition can lead to knee problems. Damage to any part of the knee such as the ligaments, tendons, bone, cartilage, nerves, and the bursae (the fluid-filled sacs that surround the knee joint) can lead to pain and other symptoms. Injuries such as torn ligament or cartilage, tendonitis or a fracture are common sports-related injuries. They can result from accidents, poor training practices, lack of conditioning, insufficient warm-up/stretching, or improper use of equipment.
Osteoarthritis is a common knee condition that can lead to significant pain over time if left untreated. It affects the cartilage in the knee, causing it to deteriorate, which can lead to painful bone-on-bone rubbing within the joint.
Knee pain can also be caused by other factors such as gait or mechanical problems, lack of muscle strength and flexibility around the knee, or carrying excess weight.
Knee problems can lead to a variety of symptoms that can vary in severity and location depending on the cause of the problem, including:
- A crunching or popping noise when moving the knee
- Reduced function, such as not being able to straighten the knee fully
- Redness or warmth around the knee
When Should I See A Doctor?
Minor knee problems may be relieved successfully with self-care treatments, such as over-the-counter pain relief medication, rest, ice, compression, and elevation. You should see your doctor if:
- You have significant pain or swelling
- You are unable to bear weight or your knee is unstable
- If pain is accompanied with other symptoms, such as a fever, tenderness, redness, and swelling (sign of infection)
- Your knee pain is not improving or is getting worse
You should seek immediate medical attention if there is an obvious deformity in the knee joint, if you experience intense pain and sudden swelling, or if you experience a popping noise at the time of injury.
Treatment for Knee Pain
The type of treatment you require will depend on the cause and severity of your knee condition. Lab or imaging tests such as an X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI may be necessary to accurately diagnose your condition. Nonsurgical treatments are usually fully explored before surgical options are considered. These may include:
- Medications, such as over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers and anti-inflammatories
- Physical therapy, which utilizes different therapeutic modalities and exercise to relieve pain, improve strength stability and range of motion, and prevent problems in the future
- Joint Injections, which can help to relieve pain and inflammation, or help to lubricate the knee joint to improve mobility
- PRP (platelet-rich plasma) therapy and biologic treatments, which reduce inflammation, repair soft tissue damage, and promote natural healing
Is Knee Surgery An Option?
You may be eligible for knee surgery if your symptoms limit your ability to carry out your everyday activities and lifestyle, and when nonsurgical options no longer provide relief. All types of surgeries come with risks, and you should speak to your primary care doctor before considering surgery to ensure your health is good enough to undergo the procedure or rehabilitation afterwards. Some types of surgery, such as a knee replacement, can mean certain limitations and activity restrictions afterwards, which should be carefully considered prior to treatment. Some types of surgery can take a toll on you physically, so make sure you are fully prepared and in good health beforehand to help ensure you have a successful recovery. Surgical options will depend on your diagnosis, but may include:
Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that allows a surgeon to view, diagnose, and treat joint problems. It utilizes a small, flexible, high-definition camera (arthroscope) and other specialized surgical tools that are inserted through very small incisions. This type of surgery helps to prevent damage to nearby healthy tissue. There is also less risk of infection and complications, scarring, and recovery time associated with arthroscopic surgery compared to traditional open surgical methods. Arthroscopic surgery may be used to reconstruct ligaments, repair torn ligaments or cartilage, or remove fragments of loose bone, cartilage, or inflamed tissue within the joint.
A knee osteotomy is typically used to relieve pressure and pain in the knee joint associated with arthritis. It involves removing or adding a section of bone near the knee joint to help align the knee better and shift body weight off of the damaged portion of bone.
Knee Replacement Surgery
A knee replacement may be necessary when other more conservative treatments no longer provide relief, for severely damaged joints, or when knee pain and immobility are limiting your ability to carry out normal activities. Surgery involves replacing part (partial knee replacement) or all of the damaged knee joint with artificial implants, called prosthetics. The prosthetic joint is designed to replicate a normal, healthy joint, allowing you to perform most of the pain-free movements you could do previously. There are many different types of artificial knee joints available, and your surgeon will discuss which option is most appropriate for you, depending on factors such as age, weight, activity level, and overall health.
Some patients may be eligible for minimally invasive knee replacement surgery, which uses smaller incisions than traditional surgery and allows you to experience less pain, less time in hospital, and a faster recovery. Not everyone is a candidate for this type of surgery, but your surgeon will advise you on the most suitable option for you.
Knee Surgery in Lauderdale Lakes and Pembroke Pines, FL
If you have chronic pain or limited function in your knee, seek the expert treatment you need from Total Orthopaedic Care. Our board-certified orthopaedic doctors are experts in diagnosing and treating a range of injuries and conditions using advanced non-surgical and surgical treatments.
To find out more about your treatment options and whether you are eligible for knee surgery, call us at (954) 735-3535. Alternatively, you can schedule an appointment using our online appointment request form.