Facts You Should Know About Knee Pain
- Knee pain is a common problem with many causes, from acute injuries to complications of medical conditions.
- Knee pain can be localized to 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.
- The prognosis of knee pain, even severe knee pain, is usually good although it might require surgery or other interventions.
What Is Joint Pain And Swelling
Swollen joints happen when there is fluid in the tissues around the joints. It can be very uncomfortable and can make it difficult to move the affected joints. In some cases, swelling may cause affected joints to increase in size or appear to be an odd shape.
Joint pain and swelling can affect more than one joint at a time. The most common joints to be affected by pain and swelling are elbows, wrists, shoulders, the base of the spine, knuckles, hips, knees or ankles.
There are two types of joint pain and swelling: acute and chronic. Acute joint pain and swelling comes on quickly and lasts a short time, for example, if you have an injury. Chronic joint pain and swelling comes on slowly and cause long-term problems. This is more likely to be caused by an underlying condition such as a type of arthritis.
What Questions Might A Healthcare Provider Ask To Diagnose Arthritis Of The Knee
Your healthcare provider will interview you when you report your symptoms. Some questions might include:
- Does anyone in your family have arthritis of the knee?
- Does your knee swell up?
- Is your skin often red?
- Is your skin often warm?
- Do you have symptoms in one knee or both?
- How long have you had these symptoms?
- What medications do you take?
- How severe is your pain?
- Do you struggle to walk?
- Do the symptoms interfere with your daily activities?
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Research: Patients Do Not Know How Bad Their Inflammation Is Or How Destructive It Is To Their Knees
This is really something that is hard to imagine. The patient does not know how bad swelling is for their knee. Knee osteoarthritis and the eventual development of bone on bone knees do not usually happen overnight. We say usually because there is the phenomenon of rapidly accelerated knee osteoarthritis where a patient can go from stage 1 to stage 4 osteoarthritis in a matter of months or a few years. So even in this rapid stage, bone on bone does not occur overnight. As this is a gradual progression it is easy to stay with the same management routine day after day, month after month, year after year of painkillers, anti-inflammatories, and knee braces. You know all the while your knees are getting worse but you need to work or be a caregiver or do the things you need to do so you manage your knees on a daily as needed basis. On a daily basis, unless there is an acute event, it is difficult to see how your knees are moving forward to a degenerative disease requiring knee replacement.
Chronic Knee Swelling Is Developing And Worsening Knee Osteoarthritis
In this video Danielle R. Steilen-Matias, MMS, PA-C offers a brief summary of the constant degenerative process going on in your knee that shows itself every day to you as swelling.
Summary and learning points:
- Many patients tell us that their other health care providers and doctors dismiss or ignore their complaints of knee swelling. However, as research suggests, such as the research examined in this article, is that chronic knee swelling signifies the early development of osteoarthritis.
- The reason the knee is swelling relates to the strength or integrity or lack thereof of the soft tissue around the knee. So the knee swelling can be coming from knee ligament injury or instability. Your body, in an attempt to provide stability for the unstable knee, will swell the knee as a protective mechanism to provide stability to the need temporarily. It should be temporary. Your body is swelling the knee until healing of an injury can take place. The fluid fills the knee to also prevent excessive movement to accelerate healing. When the injury is healed the swelling goes away.
- If you do a job that is very physically demanding, you are on your feet all day, you climb ladders or steps, etc, that is a lot of strain to be putting on your knees and your body does the best it can to provide the swelling necessary to keep your knee together. The problem is chronic swelling is causing a rapid degeneration in the knee.
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What Does It Mean If My Knee Is Swollen
Swelling in the knee, also known as knee effusion or water on the knee, occurs when fluid collects around the knee joint. Swelling can occur due to many different reasons and apply to all ages of patients.
While some reasons for swelling can be treated with over-the-counter medication, persistent and constant swelling can lead to tissue damage, bone softening, and cartilage loss.
The quick answer is when swelling in the knee is accompanied by constant pain and other issues, it is advised to seek medical attention. The following information will include common reasons to explain what does it mean when my knee is swollen. Below are common treatment methods and when it is advised to contact a doctor. Read this article about knee pain and 5 knee symptoms you should not ignore.
Treatment For Knee Pain
The first step in treating knee pain is finding the underlying cause. A thorough examination at one of our ProBack Clinics will help identify exactly whats causing the problem. After a diagnosis is made, treatmentcan be undergone to relieve the pain, correct the problem or prevent it from recurring in the future.
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What Complications Are Associated With Sciatica
Most people recover fully from sciatica. However, chronic pain can be a complication of sciatica. If the pinched nerve is seriously injured, chronic muscle weakness, such as a drop foot, might occur, when numbness in the foot makes normal walking impossible. Sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage, resulting in a loss of feeling in the affected legs. Call your provider right away if you lose feeling in your legs or feet, or have any concerns during your recovery time.
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What Are The Most Common Causes Of Knee Pain
Muscle imbalances around the knee and thigh, lack of mobility in the hip, impact injuries caused by sports can all cause knee pain. One of the most common causes we see at ProBack Clinics is arthritis, caused by degeneration of the cartilage in the knee. Knee conditions can also be brought on by other problems within your body. For example, an issue in the spine can make joints move incorrectly. Thiscan create more pressure on the knee as it bears the weight of the body.
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Can Knee Pain Be A Result Of Sciatica
Knee pain that is not the result of a physical injury may be caused by an issue in your lower back. The muscles surrounding the knees are powered by nerves that begin in the lower spine, and any irritation there can result in sciatica.
Knee pain that has the following characteristics can be a result of sciatica:
-A warm feeling in the affected area, sharp jabs of pain, or dull ache in the side, front, and/or back of the knee.
-Knee buckling .
-The inability of the knee to hold any weight.
Weakness or pain while stretching the knee or straightening the leg.
-Pain in areas such as the calf, foot, buttock, and or thigh.
-Experiencing pain while lifting and sitting down.
-Extreme pain when getting up from the bed in the morning.
Numbness in one or both limbs, resulting in dragging of the foot when walking.
Sciatica can develop over time or happen overnight, depending on the cause. Spine arthritis takes time to develop, while a disk herniation can result in unexpected pain.
The following are some of the risk factors that can trigger sciatica.
A present or past injury If you have experienced an injury to your spine or lower back, you might be at a higher risk for developing sciatica.
Age Ageing is an inevitable natural phenomenon that accompanies the wearing down of spinal disks and bone tissues. After a certain age, you might become more prone to nerve injuries due to changes in the disks, ligaments, and bones.
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Expected Range Of Motion
After knee replacement surgery, it is important to work with a physical therapist to achieve the maximal range of motion. Typically, the range of motion will progress quickly during the first three months and can continue to increase for up to two years following surgery.
Normal motion after knee replacement is defined as the ability to get within 5 degrees of a straight knee and the ability to bend the knee back to 90 degrees. Most knee replacements have movement ranging from 0 degrees to 110 degrees or more.
The optimal motion of the replaced knee can be achieved with a combination of stretches, exercises, and gradual resumption of normal activities. Some surgeons will recommend the use of a machine to bend the knee, called a CPM, .
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What Are We Seeing In This Illustration
This illustration demonstrates the progression of knee osteoarthritis from a small tear or injury to degenerative joint disease. In this example a simple ligament injury, such as the medial collateral ligament depicted here) is not resolved, the resulting joint instability that this small injury can cause is the complete breakdown of the knee joint. As we are demonstrating in this article, a small unrepaired injury can spontaneously lead to osteoarthritis through swelling and inflammation.
Acute Knee Effusions: A Systematic Approach To Diagnosis
MICHAEL W. JOHNSON, MAJ, MC, USA, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Washington
Am Fam Physician. 2000 Apr 15 61:2391-2400.
Knee effusions may be the result of trauma, overuse or systemic disease. An understanding of knee pathoanatomy is an invaluable part of making the correct diagnosis and formulating a treatment plan. Taking a thorough medical history is the key component of the evaluation. The most common traumatic causes of knee effusion are ligamentous, osseous and meniscal injuries, and overuse syndromes. Atraumatic etiologies include arthritis, infection, crystal deposition and tumor. It is essential to compare the affected knee with the unaffected knee. Systematic physical examination of the knee, using specific maneuvers, and the appropriate use of diagnostic imaging studies and arthrocentesis establish the correct diagnosis and treatment.
Family physicians are increasingly being called on to evaluate musculoskeletal disorders. The knee is susceptible to traumatic injury and is often the site of systemic disease. An understanding of these disorders and injury patterns is critical to making an accurate diagnosis and an effective treatment plan for knee effusions.
A thorough history and a meticulous physical examination establish the diagnosis in a vast majority of cases. The appropriate use of manual testing, diagnostic imaging studies and arthrocentesis can further assist the clinician in arriving at the correct diagnosis .
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Evaluation Of Pain In Many Joints
In evaluating joint pain, doctors first try to decide whether joint pain is caused by a disorder of the joints or a serious bodywide illness. Serious bodywide disorders may need specific immediate treatment. The following information can help people decide when to see a doctor and know what to expect during the evaluation.
How Is Joint Pain And Swelling Treated
Acute joint pain, such as strains and sprains, can usually be helped by the PRICE method:
- Protect the joint area from further damage or harm.
- Rest the joint avoid activities that cause pain.
- Ice the joint for 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours make sure the ice is wrapped up so it doesnt touch your skin.
- Compress the joint with a bandage which is firm, but not tight.
- Elevate the joint above the level of the heart to reduce swelling.
If you have long term joint pain and swelling, see your doctor. They will provide a plan of treatment, including exercise and appropriate medicines. The best types of exercises are gentle to your joints they include swimming, aqua aerobics, tai chi, cycling or walking.
If the problem is caused by an infection, you may need antibiotics or surgery to drain the area.
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To Understand Your Inflammation Is To Understand That Your Knee Is Or Has Become Unstable But Is Your Unstable Knee Causing Inflammation Or Is It Inflammation Causing Your Unstable Knee Something Needs To Get Fixed
Research is busy asking the question, what comes first, the inflammation or the degenerative knee disease? On the surface that seems pretty straightforward, inflammation and degeneration cause knee erosion. But not so fast
Doctors at the University of Calgary, publishing in the medical journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, suggest that knee joint instability leads to destructive alterations in the synovial membranes and cartilage. So in this research, the knee instability came first, then inflammation, then osteoarthritis.
When Should You Call The Doctor For A Knee Injury
Emergent medical care should be sought if, due to injury,
- there is almost immediate swelling in the knee,
- if the bones appear deformed,
- if there is inability to bear weight,
- if the pain is intolerable,
- if there is loss of sensation below the injury site,
- if the foot and ankle turn cold and no pulses can be felt.
Medical care should be considered if a knee injury does not resolve with routine home care, including rest, ice, compression, and elevation . Other symptoms that may suggest the need for medical care include recurrent pain and swelling.
A swollen joint is never normal, and if it is red and warm or if there is an associated fever, more urgent medical attention should be accessed because of the worry of infection being present. This is particularly a warning sign in infants and children, people who have had knee joint replacements, intravenous drug abusers, and those who have compromised immune systems.
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How To Treat Pain Behind The Knee
For the treatment of pain behind the knee, the cause of this condition must first be determined. Your doctor will listen to your complaints and do your examination.
One of the following imaging methods can be used to detect pathology in the knee, behind the knee and around the knee :
- magnetic resonance imaging
After determining the underlying cause, treatment steps will be started for the cause . To treat pain behind the knee, treatment steps for the underlying cause include:
|If you experience frequent leg cramps, you can get relief by stretching your leg muscles regularly. You should avoid sudden muscle movements.
You can ask your doctor for exercise recommendations to strengthen the knee and surrounding muscles.
|Its usually not a cause for concern. The size of the cyst can be checked with intermittent examinations.
Bakers cysts that grow too large can cause back knee pain. In this case, medical treatment options or surgical removal of the cyst may be considered.
Tightness In The Hamstrings
Ever see people in the gym every day using a foam roller to massage and relax their hamstrings? These people can never seem to get permanently rid of the tightness. If this is you, theres a reason this is happening, and its not good for your knees.
The L5 nerve travels from the lumbar spine and down the outside hamstring muscle to power the biceps femoris. Hamstring pain or tightness that wont go away despite repeated stretching is one of the first signs in the lower extremity that there could be a nerve issue in your back causing knee pain. When the hamstrings become tight, painful, or inflamed, this will impact how the knee joint works. So not only is the knee affected directly by the nerve but also by the adjustments you might make in how you move to compensate for the stressed hamstring.
After a few weeks of hamstring tightness, the meniscus will begin to suffer and your body will attempt to repair it by mobilizing the stem cells in your knee and other inflammatory cells in the body. Since the trauma will be constant and ongoing, the cells efforts will be futile, and the swelling will live there until the root cause is addressed.
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