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How To Describe Knee Pain

What Are Knee Injury Symptoms And Signs

What is Causing Your Knee Pain? Tendonitis? How to Know?(Patellar Tendonitis? Quadricep Tendonitis?)

Acute knee injuries can cause pain and swelling with difficulty bending the knee and weight-bearing. Acute knee injuries often may be considered as falling into two groups: those where there is almost immediate swelling in the joint associated with the inability to bend the knee and bear weight, and those in which there is discomfort and perhaps localized pain to one side of the knee, but with minimal swelling and minimal effects on walking.

If the swelling occurs immediately, it may suggest a ligament tear or fracture. If the swelling arises over a period of many hours, meniscal or cartilage injuries may be the cause. However, injuries to the knee may involve more than one structure and the symptoms may not present classically.

Longer-term symptoms that point to knee problems will include pain and swelling in addition to other complaints. Inflammation in the joint may be caused by even minor activity. Swelling may be intermittent, brought on by activity, and may gradually resolve as the inflammation decreases.

Pain, too, may come and go. It may not occur right away with activity but might be delayed as the inflammation develops. Pain can also be felt with specific activities. Pain while climbing stairs is a symptom of meniscus injury, where the cartilage is being pinched in the joint as the joint space narrows with knee bending. Pain with walking down stairs suggests patellar pain, where the kneecap is being forced onto the femur.

What Natural Home Remedies Relieve Knee Pain

Over-the-counter pain medications can frequently alleviate the pain. If someone is taking these medications on a regular basis, he or she should see a health care professional to evaluate the knee pain for proper diagnosis and to avoid the potential side effects of chronic medication use.

The RICE mnemonic is often helpful, especially for minor injuries:

Rest: Rest the joint, and take a break from your usually activities involving the knee joint.

Ice: Applying ice can help with pain and inflammation.

Compress: A compression bandage can help prevent swelling and help knee alignment. It should not be tight and should be removed at night.

Elevate: Elevation can help with swelling and resting of the knee.

Previous Consultations Or Treatment

  • What previous treatment have you had?
  • Have you seen a chiropractor?
  • Have you seen a therapist?
  • How successful or non-successful has that treatment been?
  • Have you seen a surgeon and if so, what did they say?
  • Did you have previous spine surgery and if so, what procedure?
  • What happened to your symptoms with the prior surgery?

Disclaimer: This symptom description list may seem obtrusive, long and picky but believe it or not, this symptom list is not fully thorough. Many other factors can cause symptoms. For example, there are disorders that can mimic the pain that you describe but not be spine related at all. However, for the majority of patients, this list will be a reasonable start regarding how spine pain should be described to your provider.

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Evaluation Of Patients Presenting With Knee Pain: Part I History Physical Examination Radiographs And Laboratory Tests

WALTER L. CALMBACH, M.D., University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas

Am Fam Physician. 2003 Sep 1 68:907-912.

Family physicians frequently encounter patients with knee pain. Accurate diagnosis requires a knowledge of knee anatomy, common pain patterns in knee injuries, and features of frequently encountered causes of knee pain, as well as specific physical examination skills. The history should include characteristics of the patient’s pain, mechanical symptoms , joint effusion , and mechanism of injury. The physical examination should include careful inspection of the knee, palpation for point tenderness, assessment of joint effusion, range-of-motion testing, evaluation of ligaments for injury or laxity, and assessment of the menisci. Radiographs should be obtained in patients with isolated patellar tenderness or tenderness at the head of the fibula, inability to bear weight or flex the knee to 90 degrees, or age greater than 55 years.

Knee pain accounts for approximately one third of musculoskeletal problems seen in primary care settings. This complaint is most prevalent in physically active patients, with as many as 54 percent of athletes having some degree of knee pain each year.1 Knee pain can be a source of significant disability, restricting the ability to work or perform activities of daily living.


Anatomy of the knee.


Anatomy of the knee.

What Are Knee Injury Treatments

Knee pain

Almost all knee injuries will need more than one visit to the doctor. If no operation is indicated, then RICE with some strengthening exercises and perhaps physical therapy will be needed. Sometimes the decision for surgery is delayed to see if the RICE and physical therapy will be effective. Each injury is unique, and treatment decisions depend on what the expectation for function will be. As an example, a torn ACL would usually require surgery in a young athlete or a construction worker, but the ACL may be treated nonoperatively with physical therapy in an 80-year-old who is not very active.

With the technology available, many knee injuries that require surgery can be treated surgically with an arthroscope, in which a camera is used to visualize the damage and small punctures are made in the knee to insert instruments to make repairs. Patients usually begin their post-op rehabilitation within days of the surgery.

If there is no rush to operate, then opportunity exists to pre-hab or strengthen the quadriceps and hamstring muscles beforehand. When a joint like the knee is injured, the muscles around it start to weaken almost immediately. This is also true after the surgery, which can also be considered a further injury. Strong muscles in the preoperative state allow the potential for easier postoperative therapy.

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Keeping Track Of Knee Pain

Here are some additional prep steps you can take before and during your office visit to make the most of it:

  • Keep a pain diary. For a week before your doctors appointment, keep track of your knee pain on paper or the computer. Log the time of day when your pain is at its worst and what you are doing when it hurts. You may see a pattern that will make it easier for you to describe your symptoms.
  • Rate your pain. Your doctor may ask: On a scale of one to 10, one being slight and 10 being unbearable, how would you rate your pain? Note your ratings in your pain diary and bring it with you to your doctors appointment.
  • Talk about limitations. Tell your doctor if your pain prohibits you from doing specific activities or tasks, such as climbing stairs or going grocery shopping. Talking about how the pain is affecting your daily activities gives him or her clues to work with.
  • Prioritize your concerns. Write down your most pressing concerns and order them from most important to least important. That way youre sure to at least discuss your most important concerns during the limited time you have at your visit.

Why Should I See A Pain Management Specialist

Pain management is an important part of any treatment plan, both for lessening discomfort and aiding in recovery. Pain management specialists understand the full range of pain relief options and how to use these options in combination. Treatments done as part of a comprehensive, multimodal plan may help even if each treatment does not seem to make a difference when used in isolation.

Pain management specialists work with patients to help diagnose pain and treat it safely and effectively with as few side effects as possible. These treatments do not have to involve medication. In fact, pain management is generally more successful when a comprehensive approach is used, with or without medications.

Also Check: Can I Regrow Cartilage In My Knee

What Are Some Common Knee Problems

Many knee problems are a result of the aging process and continual wear and stress on the knee joint . Other knee problems are a result of an injury or a sudden movement that strains the knee. Common knee problems include the following:

ACL Tears in Female Athletes: Q& A with a Sports Medicine Expert

Sports injury prevention isn’t a one-stop shop, especially for injuries like ACL tears, which are four to eight times more common among women than men. Discover ways for women to help prevent this common injury.

Fractures Bursa Inflammation And Patellar Injuries

What Is Causing Your Knee Pain? Bursitis? How To Tell?


Fractures of the bones of knee are relatively common. The patella, or kneecap, may fracture due to a fall directly onto it or in car accidents, when the knee is driven into the dashboard. If the bone is displaced , surgery may be required for repair, but if the bone is in good position, a knee immobilizer and watchful waiting may be all that is required.

The head of the fibula on the lateral side of the knee joint can be fractured either by a direct blow or as part of an injury to the shin or ankle. This bone usually heals with little intervention, but fractures of this bone can have a major complication. The peroneal nerve wraps around the bone and can be damaged by the fracture. This will cause a foot drop, so do not be surprised if the physician examines your foot when you complain of knee problems.

With jumping injuries, the surface of the tibia can be damaged, resulting in a fracture to the tibial plateau. The mechanism of injury is jumping and landing on a fully extended, straightened knee. Since the femoral condyle sits on the tibial plateau to make the knee joint, it is important that it heals with the most even joint surface as possible to prevent future arthritis and chronic pain. For that reason, after plain X-rays reveal this fracture, a CT scan may be done to make certain that there is no displacement of the bones. This type of fracture may require surgery for repair.

Bursa Inflammation

Patellar Injuries

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What Is The Prognosis For A Knee Injury

The goal for treating knee injuries is to return the patient to their previous level of activity. The prognosis for an individual injury depends upon the type of injury, the underlying health of the patient, and their willingness to work with their care provider and therapist to maximize their outcome.

Understanding Knee Pain Diagnosis

Understanding what is causing your knee pain is the first, crucial step to overcoming knee pain. The knee pain diagnosis charts here are very useful visual tool to help you work out what is wrong.

You can find out loads more about these conditions by using the links above. Alternatively, if you want some more guidance, visit the knee pain diagnosis section.

There are lots of other causes of knee pain that don’t appear on either of these knee pain diagnosis charts e.g. gout knee. They tend to cause more general, widespread knee pain, rather than pain in a specific locations so haven’t been included here on these knee pain diagnosis chart. You can find out more in the common knee conditions section.

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Will Surgery Treat And Cure Knee Pain


Knee operations range from arthroscopic knee surgery to total knee replacement. Arthroscopic knee surgery is a very common surgical procedure that allows the physician look inside your knee through a few small holes and a fiberoptic camera. The surgeon can repair many of the injuries and remove small pieces of loose bones or cartilage. This is a common outpatient procedure.

Partial knee replacement: The surgeon replaces the damaged portions of the knee with plastic and metal parts. Because only part of the knee joint is replaced, this procedure has a shorter recovery then a total knee replacement.

Total knee replacement: In this procedure, the knee is replaced with an artificial joint.

Other therapies

Acupuncture has shown some relieve of knee pain, especially in patients with osteoarthritis. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have shown mixed results in research studies.

Percentage Of Pain By Location

Physical Therapist
  • What is the percentage of pain in the back vs. buttock and leg? This is important as the buttocks and posterior thigh region is typically associated with leg pain or nerve pain while the sacroiliac joint can originate from lower back or leg sources.
  • Is it 80% back vs. 20% buttocks and leg or the reverse? Is it 70/30, 60/40 or 50/50 . This percentage number is quite valuable to determine what type of pain the disorder is causing. The pain may be all posterior thigh or even only 100% in the foot .

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How Are Knee Problems Diagnosed

In addition to a complete medical history and physical exam, other tests for knee problems may include:

  • X-ray. This test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging . This test uses large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to make detailed images of organs and structures within the body can often determine damage or disease in a surrounding ligament or muscle.

  • Computed tomography scan . This test uses X-rays and computer technology to make horizontal, or axial, images of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.

  • Arthroscopy. A minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube , which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen used to evaluate any degenerative or arthritic changes in the joint to detect bone diseases and tumors to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.

  • Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the patient’s bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.

Can Knee Pain Come Back After Treatment

Frequently, knee pain will occur for a short period of time and then resolve. Sometimes it can return a few weeks or months later. For chronic knee pain, it is important to get it evaluated to avoid further damage to cartilage, bones, or ligaments. Prognosis depends on the underlying causes of the pain.

With modern surgical techniques, it’s possible to relieve many of the knee pain syndromes and return to an active lifestyle.

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Knee Doctor In Little Rock Ar

Several conditions and injuries can contribute to knee pain. It is vital to accurately describe your pain to your orthopedic doctor. You should rate your pain, enumerate symptoms, note down the frequency, and remember specific triggers.

If youre looking for an orthopedic doctor in Little Rock, visit Bowen Hefley Orthopedics. Dr. William Hefley, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, leads our team of healthcare professionals. To help you stay active, Dr. Hefley prefers to use minimally invasive procedures for the knees, hips, and shoulders.

If your condition requires it, you can rest easy knowing your orthopedic surgery will be performed by a highly experienced surgeon. Furthermore, our team of physiotherapists and clinicians will design a rehabilitation plan to speed up your recovery.

To schedule a consultation, you may request an appointment online or call us at 336-2412. We look forward to helping you get back on your feet!

Overpronation Knee Pain And Injuries

What is Causing Your Knee Pain? Osteoarthritis? How to Tell

Overpronation, where the ankle rolls inwards while running, is often harmless, but it can also cause pain and injuries throughout the bodys kinetic chain.

The problem occurs when the overpronation of the ankle joint causes the lower leg to rotate inwards, which then places extra forces on the knee.

This article will go through the science behind overpronation and knee pain, as well as what a runner can do about it.

Basically, if your foot arch overpronates then it can cause pain in the foot, shins, knee, hip and even the lower back, simply because the leg isnt aligned correctly.

So what actually happens when a person runs on a foot that overpronates?

When the foot first hits the floor, the ankle and foot rolls inwards.

To a certain extent this is normal, but when it happens excessively it causes the lower leg to also rotate inwards.

This affects the alignment of the knee, so it sometimes doesnt track in the patella-femoral groove correctly.

The result is extra rubbing and strain on the knee joint, which results in pain. When this happens, the upper leg is affected and the hip becomes mis-aligned.

Finally, this can then cause the lower back to twist, completing an entire chain of problems.

This is why the lower body is often said to be connected via a kinetic chain: if there is a problem with one part of the chain then it can affect the others.

Finding out whether you overpronate is actually relatively straightforward process.

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A Woman’s Aching Knees

The knee is formed by the femur , the tibia and the patella . It is essentially a hinge joint that is held in place by the medial collateral , lateral collateral , anterior cruciate and posterior cruciate ligaments .

Most of us have heard that women athletes are more prone to suffering from a traumatic knee injury. But what most people don’t know is that you don’t have to be a weekend warrior to end up with a serious knee problem. Each year, roughly 10 million women see their doctors for knee pain, often caused by activities that are not related to sports, such as lifting boxes, going up a flight of stairs or squatting too much while gardening.

Why are women winding up with more knee injuries? Researchers suspect one of the most likely causes is the way women are built. Women tend to have wider hips and are slightly knock-kneed and this alignment can create added stress on the joints. Another cause could be traced to a woman’s muscles. More often, women tend to use their leg muscles differently than men.

Here are some common knee problems women encounter and tips from UCSF orthopedic surgeons and knee specialists on how to prevent them:


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