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How To Diagnose Knee Injury

What Are Complications Of Knee Injuries

How to Diagnose and Rehab a Knee Injury | Sports Injury Clinic

Knee injuries are rarely life-threatening, though severe injuries may be disabling. Some knee injuries lead to chronic, irreversible damage to the knee and may result in complications such as long-term dysfunction. Knee-joint dislocations can cause blood vessel injuries and can lead to severe disability.

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.

Deformities Of The Knee

The appearance of the knee can change during a flare and as damage progresses.

In RA, swelling and redness are common during a flare. In the long term, persistent inflammation can result in permanent damage to the cartilage and the tendons. This can affect the shape and appearance of the knee.

With OA, the muscles around the knee can weaken, resulting in a sunken appearance. The knees can start to point toward each other or bend outward.

Knee deformities range from barely noticeable to severe and debilitating.

Treatment will depend on the type of arthritis a person has.

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What Is The Anatomy Of The Knee

The knee is a hinge joint that has a simple purpose. It needs to flex or extend to allow the body to perform many activities, like running, walking, kicking, and sitting. Imagine standing up from a chair if your knees couldn’t bend.

While there are four bones that come together at the knee, only the femur and the tibia form the joint itself. The head of the fibula provides some stability, and the patella helps with joint and muscle function. Movement and weight-bearing occur where the ends of the femur called the femoral condyles match up with the top flat surfaces of the tibia .

There are two major muscle groups that are balanced and allow movement of the knee joint. When the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh contract, the knee extends or straightens. The hamstring muscles on the back of the thigh flex or bend the knee when they contract. The muscles cross the knee joint and are attached to the tibia by tendons. The quadriceps tendon is special, in that it contains the patella within its fibers. The patella allows the quadriceps muscle/tendon unit to work more efficiently. The quadriceps tendon is renamed the patellar tendon from the kneecap to its attachment in the tibia.

Bursas surround the knee joint and are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the knee during its range of motion. In the front of the knee, there is a bursa between the skin and the kneecap called the prepatellar bursa and another above the kneecap called the suprapatellar bursa .

What Is The Prognosis Of A Knee Injury

Knee Injuries

The prognosis of a knee injury depends on the type and severity of the injury.

Most minor knee injuries heal on their own with conservative treatment. The prognosis for these types of injures is good.

Ligament or cartilage injuries that lead to dysfunction or instability of the knee may require surgery. These injuries generally respond well to surgery and patients can ultimately gain full or nearly full range of knee motion.

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Knee Ligament Injury Care At Uw Medicine

Choosing UW Medicine for your orthopedic and sports medicine care means getting access to some of the most experienced physicians and surgeons in the country, many of whom have spent years caring for elite and high-level athletes who have ligament and meniscus injuries. The UW Medicine team helps care for athletes from the Seattle Seahawks, Washington Huskies and many youth sports leagues.

Treatment plans for most knee injuries rely on making an accurate diagnosis with a focus on managing pain and rehabilitation to regain function. Surgery may also be necessary to lead to full, functional recovery. Our goal is to restore and optimize the function of your knee so you can get back to the activities you enjoy.

Knee and other sports injuries can be evaluated at any of our sports medicine clinics or orthopedic surgery locations across the Puget Sound region. Physicians and surgeons at the Sports Medicine Center at Husky Stadium are specifically trained in treating elite and high-level athletes of all ages. Most UW Medicine physicians train the next generation of doctors, so you can expect to receive care from doctors who have a wealth of experience and also drive future research and education within sports medicine.

How Does Va Assess Knee Pain

VA classifies knee pain and condition into many different diagnostic codes, depending on the specific problem or problem caused by the knee condition. There are assessments that can be used for knee instability, extension limitation, knee replacement, etc. It is important to know if you are entitled to compensation for all the different revisions and multiple revisions. This way, you can be sure that the Department of Veterans Affairs will provide an adequate percentage and any compensation you may be entitled to in the event of a knee injury for veterans disability compensation. Below is a list of classes that can be assigned to the same initial defect.

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How To Beat Knee Pain

If the problem persists, its a good idea to consult with your GP, who may ask you tofill in a questionnaire to help decide the best course of treatment.

There are many treatments available, but it may not come to that knee pain canoften be treated with rest and an ice pack. So stay positive, because many knee injuries will get better on their own.

The Most Common Cause Of Knee Pain

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The knee joint itself is where motion flows between the thigh bone and the shin bone .

But overlying the knee joint is the quadriceps muscle along with the patella and the tendons attached to the patella . Problems with these patellar and quadriceps structures are the most common cause of knee pain.

Diagnostic possibilities within this general category include:

  • quadriceps tendinitis,
  • patellofemoral disorder.

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Physical Therapy For Knee Injury Patients

Physical therapy is a great way to manage an injured knee. A physical therapist or sports medicine specialist will review a patients injury and provide them with exercises that can help the injury to heal.

They can also provide further advice if they believe a patient may need to take things further such as getting magnetic resonance imaging , knee arthroscopy to better view the injury, or wearing a knee brace.

Prevention Tips For Knee Injuries

  • Warm up joints and muscles by gently going through the motions of your sport or activity and stretching muscles.
  • Wear appropriate footwear.
  • Avoid sudden jarring motions.
  • Try to turn on the balls of your feet when youre changing direction, rather than twisting through your knees.
  • Cool down after exercise by performing light, easy and sustained stretches
  • Build up an exercise program slowly over time.

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What Are Risk Factors For Knee Injuries

Accidents happen, and injuries occur on the football field, on the basketball court, on the soccer pitch, and in daily life. Often knee injuries cannot be prevented. Maintaining a healthy weight, keeping fit, staying strong, and stretching may be helpful in minimizing the risk of many injuries, including those that involve the knee.

Imbalances of muscles that surround and support the knee can lead to knee injuries. If either the quadriceps or hamstring muscle groups become weak, the stability of the knee and ability to withstand an injury is decreased.

Similarly, an imbalance between muscles within the quadriceps muscles of the thigh may cause the kneecap to track improperly, causing patellofemoral syndrome or increasing the risk of patellar dislocation.

Pregnant women are at higher risk for knee injury and pain because of increased weight, the body’s shifted center of gravity, and hormonal changes that can weaken ligaments and make them more lax.

The knee joint absorbs a significant amount of the force that is generated with each step with walking or running. People who are significantly overweight may develop knee pain because of the excess weight that needs to be supported.

How Can You Prove Service Connection For Knee Pain

Knee Pain Diagnosis Chart

The first way to get a knee pain VA rating for knee pain is through direct service contact. The stronger the link between military service and injury, the more likely a claim for a person with a disability will be successful. However, this process can be complicated. One of the most common reasons billing fails is that it doesnt include three important elements.

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Diagnose Your Current Condition

  • Proof of your pre-military status including X-rays, scans, case notes, surgical documents and more.
  • Document your post-military status, including x-rays, scans, case notes, surgical documents, and more.
  • A medical transplant that makes knee pain worse binds you to military service.
  • This evidence can help demonstrate that your knee pain is associated with exacerbations during service, which can help support your VA rating for arthritis in knee claims.

What Is The Medical Treatment For A Knee Injury

More serious knee injuries require medical care.

Knee immobilization or splinting keeps the knee from moving and decreases the chance of further injury. Immobilizing the knee can help stabilize an injured knee that may not be stable due to torn ligaments. It also keeps the knee from moving to assist in resting the knee.

Chronic knee injuries involving inflammation and bursitis may be treated with anti-inflammatories. Injections of cortisone may be helpful in these situations.

More extensive injuries involving torn ligaments, instability of the knee joint, swelling, decreased range of motion, or fractures will require an orthopedic surgeon consultation. In the initial stages of these more extensive injuries, RICE therapy can still be used. Staying off the leg by using crutches or a wheelchair may be advised.

Surgery may be indicated for tears of the ligaments or extensive meniscal tears. Surgery may also be needed for fractures or dislocations of the knee. Some acute injuries such as those with high-force impact, or multiple parts of the knee damaged, may require emergency surgery.

Most knee surgery can be done by arthroscopy, a procedure in which a camera is used and small punctures are made in the knee to insert instruments. Repairs can be done inside the knee without having the open the knee with a large incision. Most arthroscopic surgeries do not need to be done immediately after an acute injury. Some are delayed to allow for decreased inflammation.

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What Specialists Treat Knee Injuries

A knee injury may first be examined and treated by a primary care provider , such as a family practitioner, an internist, or a child’s pediatrician. If you go to the emergency room for your knee injury, you will be seen by an emergency medicine specialist.

If the knee injury is severe, you may be referred to an orthopedist or an orthopedic surgeon. If your knee injury is related to sports, you may see a sports medicine specialist.

Other medical professionals who may be involved in treating your injured knee include physical therapists, occupational therapists, or other rehabilitation specialists.

Secondary Va Case Of Knee Pain

ACL Tear Knee injury – How to evaluate and diagnose signs and symptoms

In addition,secondary conditions to knee problems, including:

  • Tears of tendons around the knee
  • lower back pain
  • Increased pain and discomfort during daily activities
  • arthritis
  • Additional orthopedic problemsIf you have service-related VA secondary conditions to knee pain, you should take advantage of veteran benefits. It will be rewarded to be diagnosed by your doctor and on your way to recovery. Untreated knee pain can lead to serious, life-threatening injuries.

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How Do Doctors Diagnose Knee Injuries

The initial evaluation by the health care professional will begin with a medical history. Whether the evaluation is occurring immediately after the injury or weeks later, the physician may ask about the mechanism of injury to help isolate what structures in the knee might be damaged. Is the injury due to a direct blow that might suggest a fracture or contusion ? Was it a twisting injury that causes a cartilage or meniscus tear? Was there an injury associated with a planted foot to place stress and potentially tear a ligament?

Further questions will address other symptoms. Was swelling present, and if so, did it occur right away or was it delayed by hours? Did the injury prevent weight-bearing or walking? Does going up or down steps cause pain? Is there associated hip or ankle pain? Is this an isolated injury, and have there been other occurrences?

Past medical history and information on medications and allergies will be helpful information to learn about the patient.

Sometimes X-rays of the knee are required to make certain there are no broken bones, but often with stress or overuse injuries where no direct blow has occurred, plain X-rays may not be initially needed and imaging of the knee may wait until a later date. Standing X-rays of the knees are used to assess the joint space and compare the injured knee to the uninjured one. An MRI might be considered to evaluate the ligaments and cartilage within the knee joint.

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.

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Types Of Diagnotic Tests

After the complete physical examination of the patient, the doctor evaluates the condition of the patient and then further recommends the type of diagnostic test that specific patient needs. There are two types of tests which the doctors perform to inspect the causing factor behind knee problem. Your doctor might suggest you one of these tests for an accurate diagnosis of a knee problem:

Laboratory tests

Your doctor might suggest you laboratory test, in case he/shes suspects an inflammation or infection in your knee. Then your doctor might suggest you to have blood tests and some of the time, the doctors also perform a procedure which in known as arthrocentesis to diagnose your knee problem. In this procedure, the medical professional with the help of the needle a small takes a certain amount of the fluid from your knee joint and sends the sample to a laboratory for further analysis.

The presence of effusion, tenderness, marked pain, and warmth along with a limited range of motion in the knee joint is most recurring in patients with inflammatory arthropathy and septic arthritis. Moreover, an erythrocyte sedimentation rate and complete blood count accompanying arthrocentesis is important to detect the underlying cause of knee problem. The laboratory analysis of the joint fluid is also necessary for detecting the cell count with glucose, protein, bacterial culture, and light sensitivity to rule out the presence of any crystals in the joint fluid.

What Are Knee Injury Symptoms And Signs

Pin on Knee Treatment

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.

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When To Contact A Medical Professional

  • You cannot bear weight on your knee.
  • You have severe pain, even when not bearing weight.
  • Your knee buckles, clicks, or locks.
  • Your knee is deformed or misshapen.
  • You cannot flex your knee or have trouble straightening it all the way out.
  • You have a fever, redness or warmth around the knee, or a lot of swelling.
  • You have pain, swelling, numbness, tingling, or bluish discoloration in the calf below the sore knee.
  • You still have pain after 3 days of home treatment.


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