Do you experience knee pain? Chronic knee pain has become a general complaint among adults. According to the American Osteopathic Association, knee pain is ranked second for chronic pain in an individual. Approximately one-third of the population in the US suffers from chronic knee pain.
Chronic knee pain has been associated with general wear and tear of knee joints linked with excess use of these joints. When the knee joints don’t work adequately, they form some inflammation. The origin of chronic knee pain, either from an injury or old age, wreaks havoc on oneself. Adequate management is ideal in such a case.
Is Physiotherapy Effective in Treating Chronic Knee Pain?
Physiotherapy is equally effective in treating acute and chronic knee pain conditions. Physiotherapists have experience bringing back the proper function and motion of the knee without any invasive procedure being carried out. Multiple exercises and stretches are done to strengthen the knee joints and improve flexibility.
What Causes Chronic Knee Pain
Some multiple causes and factors create chronic knee pain that depends on the location of the pain. We’ve discussed them briefly in the article. Please, read through the article thoroughly.
Injuries can be of several types that can lead to chronic knee pain sooner or later. Some tear the ligaments, while some form an inflammation within the joint. The topic has been further sectioned for easy scanning and reading to ease of understanding.
- Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament
Any sudden change of direction or side-to-side movement in a hurry may lead to tearing the ACL. The injury is common in athletes. Female athletes are more prone to this type of injury due to differences in muscle strength and control.
- Torn Meniscus
A meniscal tear is one of the common cartilage injuries in the knee. It is common for athletes to require sudden directional changes. Initially, one may not notice or feel the injury, but once one sits down, swelling and a popping sensation are felt. One may also experience difficulty bending and straightening the legs.
It is an inflammation of the Bursae. These are fluid-filled sacs that provide cushioning for the knees. For inflamed bursitis, adequate rest and ice packs help heal them. While in infected bursitis, antibiotics may be prescribed for properly healing the bursae.
- Patellar Tendonitis
It is also known as a jumper’s knee and is caused by inflammation of the patellar tendon. Patellar tendonitis weakens the tendon and can lead to tendon tears if the treatment is ignored. In addition, one may feel pain below the patellar region and experience difficulty when straightening the leg.
Wear and Tear of Knee Joints
Chronic knee pain can develop as time goes by with wear and tear and other degenerative disorders of the knee. Common causes of knee joint wear and tear have been discussed below.
Arthritis can occur over time. The contributing factors of the disease are age, weight, and mechanical wear and tear of the knee joints. Medications, physiotherapy, and pain injections may help in the conservative treatment of the knee joints.
This is caused when the natural cushioning of the joints and cartilage wears off, and the bones rub against closely. The shock-absorbing capability of the cartilage no more helps. It then leads to pain, swelling, decreased mobility, and the formation of bony spurs.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
It is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself. The main targets of the disease are joints. One may feel pain, swelling, and warmth around the knee if rheumatoid arthritis is the causative factor of chronic knee pain.
Gout occurs as the result of deposits of uric acid in the joint. It mainly affects the foot’s big toe but may disperse to other joints too. In the knee, it can cause swelling, pain, and limited mobility of the joints.
Mechanical Issues of Knee Joints
- Iliotibial Band Syndrome
The iliotibial tendon runs outside the leg from the top of the pelvic bone down to the knee. When the tendon rubs on the knee or hip bones, it develops inflammation and swelling and may cause pain.
- Bone Chips
Bone chips are also known as Osteochondritis dissecans. The chips result from a fractured piece of bone or cartilage in the knee. It could happen after repeated minor injuries or a major injury once only. The knee may feel swollen and painful and lock in a certain position.
- Dislocation of Patella
A dislocated knee happens when the kneecap pops out of the vertical groove at the junction of the joint. It occurs by force due to collision or fall. It is painful and may take up to six weeks to heal. It is common in pregnant females as the joints become more lubricated and tend to move more easily.
How to Diagnose Chronic Knee Pain?
X-rays utilize invisible electromagnetic beams that pass through and create an image of bones and internal tissues to look for abnormalities.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI provides a more detailed image of the damaged area and helps diagnose abnormalities in the surrounding muscles and ligaments.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan
A CT scan provides horizontal, vertical, and axial images to provide a detailed view of the affected area. CT scans are more precise than traditional X-rays.
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes an optic tube to evaluate any degenerative changes within the joint. A small incision is made in the joint for the tube insertion.
Radionuclide Bone Scan
A technique that injects radioactive material into the bloodstream and shows bone and cell activity through a scanner. The radioactive material used in radionuclide bone scan is in minimal quantity.
How to Treat Chronic Knee Pain
Treatment for chronic knee pain may depend on the causative factor. A proper history and examination may be essential to rule out the cause of pain and treat it accordingly. If you undergo severe knee pain after a fall or an injury, you must immediately report to a doctor for timely correction of pain and injury.
Mild injuries may resolve with adequate rest, cold application, and anti-inflammatory medications. If one requires, a knee brace may help stabilize the joint during recovery. A minimally invasive surgery to repair tendons and ligaments may also be performed if a doctor sees the need.
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Summary: Chronic Knee Pain
Knee pain can occur due to various reasons. One should consult an orthopedic surgeon if they are experiencing chronic knee pain. The doctor will examine with history and may suggest an x-ray or an MRI scan to diagnose the cause.
Various treatments for chronic knee pain depend on the cause of the pain. These include painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and joint stabilization. In certain circumstances, lifestyle modifications, such as exercise, reduction of alcohol or smoking, if any, and lowering your weight may also help reduce chronic knee pain. Visit Eve Pacific Health to learn more.