Knee pain is terrible to live with, although millions of people of all ages do. The key is to get a clear diagnosis of what’s causing your knee pain so that the treatment you select can most effectively relieve your symptoms. Your best bet is to visit an orthopedic doctor for this.
There are many potential causes of knee pain. Acute knee pain is usually caused by an injury, usually after a sudden twisting or jerking of the knee or after suffering a direct trauma to the knee. These types of injuries include torn ligaments like ACL or meniscus tears, fractures, tendonitis, and bursitis.
When Your Knee Pain is Chronic
When your knee pain is chronic, on the other hand, it may be arthritis. The two most common types of arthritis that affect the knee are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease in which cartilage that cushions the places where bones meet begins to break down, ultimately leading to bone-on-bone friction. It is very common in older adults, due to the wear and tear of the musculoskeletal system over time. However, it also develops in younger athletes, too – because it commonly develops at a weakened joint, say after a knee injury.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where your body mistakenly attacks the cartilage at a joint. It can affect people of all ages.
All in all, there are many types of arthritis that can affect the knee, which is why you should be examined by an orthopedic doctor.
Symptoms of Knee Arthritis
Knee arthritis is characterized by stiff and swollen joints. Arthritis affects the range of motion of your knee, making it difficult to straighten or bend it. Therefore, walking or going up the stairs and kneeling may prove to be challenging. Some arthritis sufferers tend to avoid physical activity in fear of the pain. However, that’s counterproductive because arthritis pain actually gets worse with long periods of inactivity. Despite how worrying this may sound, you do not have to live with arthritis pain. There are treatment methods that can effectively target your pain.
Treatment of Knee Arthritis
Conservative treatment methods for knee pain associated with arthritis, especially in its early stages, include prescription or over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), bone supplements, corticosteroid injections, and viscosupplementation (in which hyaluronic acid injections are used to lubricate the joint). Certain lifestyle changes can also help manage your symptoms. These include maintaining a healthy weight level and aiming for low-impact and strengthening exercises.
Knee arthritis that does not respond to conservative treatments may require surgical intervention. Your orthopedic surgeon may recommend arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage, or an osteotomy to realign your knee joint to relieve pressure on it. Depending on the extent of your arthritis – and whether it has affected all or just a part of your knee joint – a partial or total knee replacement can give you a new lease on life after living with the pain of knee arthritis. These joint replacement procedures are very common and can be done on an outpatient basis these days.
Knee Arthritis Treatment in San Antonio, Texas
If you are suffering from knee pain, please contact the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at (210) 692-7400 or request an appointment now.
Our orthopedic doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of musculoskeletal conditions that cause knee pain, including arthritis. Since 1982, we have been helping patients with musculoskeletal issues in the San Antonio area get back to living an active life – without pain.