What Injuries Can Cause Knee Pain
Injury can affect any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the knee joint. Injury can also affect the ligaments, cartilage, menisci , and bones forming the joint. The complexity of the design of the knee joint and the fact that it is an active weight-bearing joint are factors in making the knee one of the most commonly injured joints.
Imaging For Diagnosing Advanced Knee Osteoarthritis
X-rays are very helpful in diagnosing advanced knee osteoarthritis because the joint will have specific characteristics, including:
- Bones that are closer to each other than they should be: As cartilage wears away, the joint space between them often narrows.
- Cysts: As the body responds to cartilage destruction and attempts to stabilize the joint, cysts or fluid-filled cavities can form in the bone.
- Increased bone density or uneven joints: When bones are no longer cushioned by cartilage, they can rub against one another, creating friction. The body responds by producing more bone tissue, which increasing bone density. Increased bone creates uneven joint surfaces and bone spurs at the joint.
What Are The Symptoms Of Knee Arthritis
While knee pain can certainly affect patients without arthritis, there are some classic knee arthritis symptoms to keep an eye out for. These can include:
- Chronic or recurrent pain
- Stiffness, often upon waking or after sitting for a long period of time
- Limited mobility
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to be evaluated by a qualified provider to obtain a definitive diagnosis and find out what treatment options are available to help relieve your discomfort. During your initial consultation for knee arthritis in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Williams will thoroughly evaluate your joints and perform any necessary imaging studies to determine whether arthritis may be affecting you.
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When To Call Your Doctor
If your pain and swelling are gettingworse and you can no longer put weight on your knee, see your doctor. A simpleX-ray can show if there is osteoarthritis and, if needed, an MRI scan can checkfor meniscal tears or loose chips of cartilage.
Arthroscopic surgery can sometimes remove loose cartilage. Partial or total knee replacements are other surgical options, especially for those who can no longer stay as active as theyd like. Sometimes computer assistance is used for some complicated knee replacements.
Surgery is a last resort, though,says Dr. Nickodem. Its something to consider when nonoperative treatmentsarent helping.
What You Need To Know
- Knee arthritis occurs when the cushioning cartilage in the joint wears down, making the knee stiff and painful with certain movements.
- Osteoarthritis gradual, age-related degeneration of cartilage is the most common form of arthritis in the knee, but trauma and autoimmune conditions can also lead to cartilage damage.
- The cartilage damage associated with arthritis is irreversible, but there are nonsurgical and surgical treatments that can help reduce pain, increase joint flexibility and improve overall quality of life for people with knee arthritis.
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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.
Use Hot And Cold Therapy
Heat and cold treatments can help relieve arthritis pain and inflammation.
- Heat treatments can include taking a long, warm shower or bath in the morning to help ease stiffness and using an electric blanket or moist heating pad to reduce discomfort overnight.
- Cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, swelling, and inflammation. Wrap a gel ice pack or a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel and apply it to painful joints for quick relief. Never apply ice directly to the skin.
- Capsaicin, which comes from chili peppers, is a component of some topical ointments and creams that you can buy over the counter. These products provide warmth that can soothe joint pain.
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How Is Knee Arthritis Diagnosed
Your doctor may use some of the following diagnostic tests and procedures to determine if you have knee arthritis:
- Medical history and physical examination
- Blood tests for genetic markers or RA antibodies
- X-rays to determine cartilage loss in the knee
- Joint aspiration: drawing out and testing the synovial fluid inside the knee joint
Cartilage cannot be seen on X-ray, but narrowing of the joint space between the bones indicates lost cartilage. X-rays show bone spurs and cysts, which can be caused by osteoarthritis. Other tests such as MRI or CT scans are rarely needed for diagnosis.
What Are Diseases And Conditions That Can Cause Knee Pain And How Are They Treated
Pain can occur in the knee from diseases or conditions that involve the knee joint, the soft tissues and bones surrounding the knee, or the nerves that supply sensation to the knee area. The knee joint is commonly affected by rheumatic diseases, immune diseases that affect various tissues of the body including the joints.
Arthritis is associated with pain and swelling of a joint. The causes of knee joint pain and swelling range from noninflammatory types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, which is a degeneration of the cartilage of the knee, to inflammatory types of arthritis . Treatment of the arthritis is directed according to the nature of the specific type of arthritis.
Infections of the bone or joint can rarely be a serious cause of knee pain and have associated signs of infection including fever, extreme heat, warmth of the joint, chills of the body, and may be associated with puncture wounds in the area around the knee.
Tumors involving the joint are extremely rare. They can cause problems with local pain.
The collateral ligament on the inside of the knee joint can become calcified and is referred to as Pellegrini-Stieda syndrome. With this condition, the knee can become inflamed and can be treated conservatively with ice packs, immobilization, and rest. Infrequently, it requires a local injection of corticosteroids.
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How To Treat Arthritis In The Knees
This article was medically reviewed by Troy A. Miles, MD. Dr. Miles is an Orthopedic Surgeon specializing in Adult Joint Reconstruction in California. He received his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in 2010, followed by a residency at the Oregon Health & Science University and fellowship at the University of California, Davis. He is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Association, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the North Pacific Orthopaedic Society.There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 58,611 times.
Research suggests that treatment may slow down arthritis and relieve your symptoms, though there’s no cure for it.XTrustworthy SourceNational Health Service Public healthcare system of the UKGo to source Arthritis occurs when your joint becomes inflamed, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in your joint wears away, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks your joints. Experts say arthritis in the knee is very common because it’s a weight-bearing joint, but you can get arthritis in any joint.XResearch source Although arthritis may interfere with your life, you may be able to manage your condition.
The 10 Best Foods To Eat If You Have Arthritis
If you have arthritis, you know just how devastating this condition can be.
Arthritis is a term for a class of diseases that cause pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. It can affect people of all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds.
There are many different types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is one type, which develops in joints with overuse. Another type is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your joints (
Fortunately, there are many foods that can ease inflammation and may help relieve some of the joint pain associated with arthritis.
In fact, one survey found that 24% of those with rheumatoid arthritis reported that their diet had an impact on the severity of their symptoms (
This article will look at 10 of the best foods to eat if you have arthritis.
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Treating Osteoarthritis Of The Knee: Popular Supplements Dont Work
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, affecting 1 in 10 Canadian adults . The knee is one of the most common and most symptomatically affected joints, causing knee pain in many people. They often try over-the-counter remedies to help the pain, and to avoid knee surgery. Amongst these treatments are the supplements glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, which are very popular.
Because glucosamine and chondroitin are building blocks of cartilage, and because osteoarthritis is related to cartilage degradation, many believe that adding these building blocks to the diet of a person suffering from osteoarthritis will help rebuild cartilage and lessen pain. While on the surface this may seem logical, in reality these supplements do not provide effective pain relief. Heres why:
These popular supplements dont work.
Many studies have shown that glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate do not help to relieve pain from arthritic knees. People who take the supplements often report less pain or swelling of their joints. But people get similar results if they take a placeboa sugar pill with no active ingredients. Pain relieving drugs, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen , help a lot more.
The supplements can be dangerous.
You arent always getting what you think.
To make matters worse, often the labels on the bottles are misleading. In 2013, Consumer Reports tested 16 joint pain supplements and found that seven had less chondroitin than the label listed.
Use drugs carefully.
Why Does My Knee Hurt When I Walk
For countless men and women across the country, knee pain is a daily struggle. In fact, knee pain can be so severe that some patients are unable to continue working. There are several possible causes and risk factors for chronic knee pain, including:
Without a doubt, one of the most common causes of knee pain is arthritis. Patients suffering from arthritis in the knee may have either rheumatoid arthritis a condition developing in the joints lining or osteoarthritis, which is characterized by the breakdown of cartilage. While RA may occur at any point in a persons life, osteoarthritis is much more common and affects the vast majority of patients suffering from knee arthritis.
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Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, commonly known as TENS, interrupts pain signals sent to the brain with a weak electrical pulse. For some people with arthritis in the knee, this non-invasive treatment works wonders. TENS machines can now be purchased cheaply over the counter, which makes it an easy option to try.
No Link Found Between Exercise And Developing Arthritis In The Knee
OXFORD, U.K. Exercise may be good for your health, but does all that wear and tear on the joints eventually take a toll? An international team says the answer appears to be no. A new study finds there is no link between exercise and developing arthritis in the knee.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 32 million adults in the United States have osteoarthritis, with the knee being one of the most common trouble spots. Osteoarthritis is more common in women and older adults, with obesity also being another common risk factor.
The analysis included six global community-based studies, examining 5,065 participants with and without knee osteoarthritis. Researchers followed these individuals for five to 12 years.
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How Is Osteoarthritis Of The Knee Diagnosed
The diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis will begin with a physical exam by your doctor. Your doctor will also take your medical history and note any symptoms. Make sure to note what makes the pain worse or better to help your doctor determine if osteoarthritis, or something else, may be causing your pain. Also find out if anyone else in your family has arthritis. Your doctor may order additional testing, including:
- X-rays, which can show bone and cartilage damage as well as the presence of bone spurs
- magnetic resonance imaging scans
MRI scans may be ordered when X-rays do not give a clear reason for joint pain or when the X-rays suggest that other types of joint tissue could be damaged. Doctors may use blood tests to rule out other conditions that could be causing the pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, a different type of arthritis caused by a disorder in the immune system.
Limited Mobility Or Range Of Motion
For men and women who develop arthritis in their knees, activities that were once simple, easy, or routine may become difficult or even impossible to do without limitations and discomfort. Walking, running, or getting in and out of a car can, oftentimes, prove disproportionately challenging for patients with arthritis of the knee. The damage and loss of cartilage associated with arthritis are usually to blame for this phenomenon.
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What Causes Chronic Knee Pain
Temporary knee pain is different from chronic knee pain. Many people experience temporary knee pain as a result of an injury or accident. Chronic knee pain rarely goes away without treatment, and it isnt always attributable to one incident. Its most often the result of several causes or conditions.
Physical conditions or diseases can cause knee pain. These include:
- osteoarthritis: pain, inflammation, and joint destruction caused by degeneration and deterioration of the joint
- tendinitis: pain in the front of the knee that is made worse when climbing, taking stairs, or walking up an incline
- bursitis: inflammation caused by repeated overuse or injury of the knee
- gout: arthritis caused by the buildup of uric acid
- Bakers cyst: a buildup of synovial fluid behind the knee
- rheumatoid arthritis : a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disorder that causes painful swelling and can eventually cause joint deformity and bone erosion
- dislocation: dislocation of the kneecap most often the result of trauma
- meniscus tear: a rupture in one or more of the cartilage in the knee
- torn ligament: tear in one of the four ligaments in the knee the most commonly injured ligament is the anterior cruciate ligament
- bone tumors: osteosarcoma , most commonly occurs in the knee
Factors that may make chronic knee pain worse:
- injuries to the structure of the knee can cause bleeding and swelling and can create a chronic problem over time if not treated properly
Osteoarthritis Of The Knee
Knee OA is a very common source of pain that can limit your mobility.
Causes of Knee OA
The cause of OA is unknown. These risk factors make it more likely you will develop knee OA:
- Age: OA can occur at any time of life, but it is most common in older adults.
- Sex: Women are more likely to have knee OA than men.
- Obesity: Being overweight adds stress to your knees. Fat cells also make proteins that can cause inflammation in and around your joints.
- Injuries: Any knee injury, even old ones, can lead to knee OA.
- Repeated stress: Frequent stress on your knee from your job or playing sports can increase risk for OA.
- Genetics: You can inherit a tendency to develop OA.
- Bone deformities: If you have crooked bones or joints, you are at higher risk.
- Some metabolic diseases: Diabetes and hemochromatosis, a condition in which your blood has too much iron, have been linked to OA
Symptoms of knee OA develop slowly and worsen over time.
- Pain: Movement causes pain. Sometimes your knee will ache while sitting still.
- Stiffness: Your knees may be stiff first thing in the morning or after sitting for a long time.
- Loss of motion: Over time, you may lose the ability to bend and straighten your knee all the way.
- Creaking and grating : You may hear crackling noises or feel a grating sensation.
- Instability: Your knee may give out or buckle, or feel like it could.
- Locking: The knee may lock or stick.
- Swelling: Your knee may get puffy all around or on one side.
Your doctor will check for:
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Complementary And Alternative Therapies
Some people with osteoarthritis try complementary or alternative therapies such as acupuncture and aromatherapy and find them helpful.
However, there’s a lack of medical evidence to suggest they’re effective and they generally are not recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence .
How Is Osteoarthritis Treated
Treatment for osteoarthritis includes lifestyle changes and medications.
All patients with osteoarthritis should be enrolled in an exercise program because physical activity increases blood flow, and joints and muscles are supplied with more oxygen. Swimming, Tai Chi and weight-based exercises are usually suitable for people with osteoarthritis, although a physician should be consulted before starting any exercise program.
Weight loss can lower the risk of pain in weight-bearing joints and orthotics, devices that help to align joints – orthotic shoe inserts, splints, and braces can help with movement. Heat or cold therapy can also relieve joint swelling.
Medications for osteoarthritis may include:
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