Do you have knee pain? There are some facts you need to know.
- Knee pain is a common problem with many causes ranging from acute injuries to complications of medical conditions.
- Knee pain can be located in a specific area of the knee or be diffuse throughout the knee.
- Knee pain is often accompanied by physical restriction.
- A thorough physical examination will usually establish the diagnosis of knee pain.
- The treatment of knee pain depends on the underlying cause.
- Most knee pain can be treated without surgery. A sports or pain medicine doctor can offer you cutting edge treatments to help you avoid surgery.
What kind of treatments are used for knee pain?
About 80 percent of all knee problems can be treated without surgery. There are many types of conservative treatments for knee pain. Sometimes the wide variety of choices can be more confusing than helpful. Your sports and pain medicine doctor will work with you to help determine which ones are most likely to be beneficial for your condition.
- Rest, ice, compressive wraps and elevation are usually recommended for acute knee pain. Avoiding or reducing aggravating activities and losing weight are good strategies for chronic pain.
- Medications. These can range from over-the-counter supplements, muscle rubs and pain relievers to prescription anti-inflammatory pills and creams and other categories of medication.
- Exercises. Strengthening of muscles around the knee is important but treatment also involves correcting muscle imbalances, weakness, or alignment problems of the lower back, pelvis, hip, or lower extremities. Strengthening hip and abdominal muscles could correct abnormal alignment of the low back, hip, and pelvis and relieve knee strain. Appropriate flexibility exercises may also be used. Your sports medicine doctor may show you how to do these exercises or direct you to a physiotherapist.
- Orthotics may be helpful for those who pronate excessively (or have flat feet), as this condition is thought to increase the risk for some knee problems. A good pair of well-cushioned walking shoes can help some conditions.
- Bracing and taping can be effective in reducing pain severity, but do not cure the problem
- Acupuncture can provide relief for arthritic knees, but again, does not cure the problem.
- Injections. Patients today have more choices then ever when it comes to different injection techniques for the knee. The well-known steroid or “cortisone” injection directly into the knee is helpful for acute inflammation and is effective for relieving pain quickly. Lubricant (or hyaluronate) injections are intended to replace the joint fluid of arthritic knees. These injections don’t work as quickly as steroid injections at reducing pain, but they can provide longer lasting relief and are generally considered healthier for arthritic joints. Orthobiologics is an exciting new area that is rapidly becoming a good choice for certain knee conditions. This is a medical treatment that uses your own blood and cells for injection therapies. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is an orthobiologic treatment that can be done in the office and has been found to be as effective as hyaluronate injections.