MANAGING KNEE PAIN
Knee pain affects many people at some point. When pain from an injury is acute or becomes chronic, sensations such as a constant ache, sharp, shooting pain, or dull burning may present an obstacle for daily living. At the Art of Pain Management, we assist patients in promoting natural pain relief and tissue repair using innovative biological treatments.
What Causes Knee Pain?
Knee pain may develop in one or more areas of the knee. Some pain stems from arthritis, or the degeneration of the knee joint. Some knee pain is the result of a new injury or one that hasn’t healed well. Doctors conduct a thorough health history and physical examination to understand the origin of knee pain and develop an appropriate treatment protocol for each patent.
Which Conditions can Cause Knee Pain?
There are several physical conditions that can cause acute or chronic knee pain, including:
- Torn ligament. There are 4 ligaments in the knee. The most common to develop a tear is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Meniscus tear, which is a tear in a piece of cartilage in the knee.
- Inflammation in the tendon of the knee can cause pain at the front of the leg that worsens with use.
- Inflammation in or around one of the fluid-filled bursa near the knee joint.
- Inflammation and degeneration of the knee joint.
- Baker’s cyst, the accumulation of synovial fluid in a sac behind the knee.
- Chondromalacia patella, damage to the cartilage under the kneecap.
- Gout, an arthritic condition caused by the accumulation of uric acid.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation and swelling of various joints in the body.
- Dislocation of the kneecap.
Are There any Risk Factors for Knee Pain?
Anyone can develop knee pain as the result of a fall or injury. Acute or chronic pain may be attributed to several factors, including:
- Previous trauma or injury to the knee that has caused degradation of the joint
- Obesity, which places excessive stress on the joint and surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
What Are the Pain Management Options for Knee Pain?
Various types of knee pain may require unique forms of treatment. For example, doctors sometimes recommend draining Baker’s cysts or advise patients to rest and ice inflamed bursae. Additional therapies that are often prescribed for knee pain include:
- Acute and mild to moderate chronic knee pain is often managed with over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. This does not help the joint or tissue repair, but it may decrease pain temporarily.
- Physical therapy. Prescribed physical exercises are taught and carried out both in the office and at home. Exercises assist with blood flow to the injured joint and the strengthening of tissues around the joint.
- Injection therapy. Doctors may prescribe corticosteroid injections to the knee to help decrease significant inflammation that is causing pain. These injections may be repeated a few times a year as a form of pain management.
- When knee injuries or arthritis become so severe that they affect the performance of normal activity, the patient may be advised to undergo surgery such as meniscus repair or total knee replacement.
Our approach to knee pain is to stimulate a natural healing response using biological agents such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and various types of stem cells. The insertion of these substances into an injured joint delivers anti-inflammatory chemicals directly to the origin of pain. The growth factors and regenerative capabilities of PRP and stem cells can also facilitate tissue repair in a conservative manner.
Can Knee Pain Return after Pain Management Treatments?
It is possible that pain may return after pain management treatment has been performed. This can depend on the initial diagnosis obtained through examination and imaging. For example, people who have suffered a meniscus tear or torn ligament may not experience significant pain for many years once their injury has been repaired. People with osteoarthritis of the knee, however, may need ongoing pain management to attend to the continual degradation of the joint.
Are There Complications of Untreated Knee Pain?
Untreated knee pain may worsen over time without proper treatment. Left untreated, a smaller injury may trigger osteoarthritis at some point. Damage to the structure of the knee can change gate and affect other joints, such as the hips, due to their need to compensate for the knee joint that is not functioning at full capacity.
Studies suggest that knee pain can be managed with conservative care such as platelet-rich plasma injections. The sooner that treatment begins, the better the outcome may be. Discover how our innovative therapeutic approach to knee pain may help you regain comfort and mobility. Call 215-375-7107 to schedule a consultation at our Philadelphia or Upper Darby office.