Orthopedics Palm Beach County: Most Valuable Advice – “Look After your Knees”
When you’re young, you don’t necessarily think about the distant future – a future in which your body may not be as fit and healthy as it is now.
It is especially dangerous as far as health is concerned. Whenever we see a person with severe health problems, we often assume that ‘this can never happen to me’. But for many people, it can, and it actually does.
For example, one of the last things we see coming is the problems with our knees. But as soon as you experience pain in your knees, it affects you in many ways.
Aching knees prevent people from performing their normal everyday activities, sometimes even including getting out of bed in the morning. If you have an active lifestyle, knee-related issues can force you to give up many things. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
Now plenty of treatment options are available to manage knee pain and prevent it from worsening. You just have to know the specific conditions causing the pain to start creating a plan of care that will address your medical needs.
Below are just some of the many conditions affecting the knees and the treatment options available for such diseases.
What are the common conditions that cause knee pain?
There are a variety of reasons why you’re experiencing knee pain and other symptoms. Sometimes, knee pain can be caused by a simple muscle cramp. But on other occasions, it may be the start of a degenerative disorder that needs to be treated immediately. Some examples include:
The knees are composed of several structures that provide flexibility, movement, and the ability to support the upper body.
However, the muscles and bones that make up the knee can become compromised due to physical trauma. Some examples include car accidents, sports injuries, and other blunt force trauma. Some examples of knee injuries that usually cause pain and swelling include:
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury
refers to a condition wherein the ligament that connects the thighbone to the shinbone gets injured. ACL injuries are called sprains and may be graded based on their severity, whether the ligament suffered from a slight stretch, partial tear, or complete tear.
refers to an injury wherein the tendon that connects the muscles to the knee bone gets stretched or torn. The specific knee muscles that may be injured are the quadriceps and patellar tendon.
refers to a knee injury characterized by a torn meniscus or cartilage. Normally, the meniscus acts as a protective cover and shock absorber of the knee. When it becomes damaged, moving will then become painful.
or jumper’s knee is an injury to the patellar tendon caused by overuse or repetitive motion of the knees. Initially, the tendon will only suffer from tiny tears, but it becomes painful and inflamed as it gets worse.
is an inflammation in the fluid-filled sac near the knee joint called a bursa.
refer to an injury wherein the bones in the knees get broken or fractured. It commonly affects the patella but can also injure the thighbone and shinbone. Usually, knee fractures occur due to high-impact sports and accidental falls.
happen when the knee joint or patella gets misaligned or dislocated from its normal position. A high-impact injury can also force the thighbone and shinbone to get misaligned.
Arthritis is a degenerative and progressive disorder that affects the different joints in the body, including the knees. Various types of arthritis can cause knee pain and inflammation. Some of the most common ones include:
- Osteoarthritis – this type of arthritis is due to the wear and tear in the knee cartilages. Generally, it occurs due to aging when the knees get overused through the years.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – refers to a malfunction wherein your own immune system sends antibodies to attack the synovium (lining) of the knee joints. As it gradually gets frayed and damaged, it will cease to secrete synovial fluid, thus increasing the friction when you move.
Additionally, rheumatoid arthritis causes the synovial lining to swell, causing moderate to severe pain.
- Gout – is a form of inflammatory arthritis caused by the accumulation of uric acids in the knee joint, resulting in joint pain and swelling.
- Post-traumatic arthritis – this type of arthritis develops after the knee suffers from a traumatic injury. For example, a car accident results in a ligament tear, which causes instability and can damage the joints over time.
Mechanical problems often come from a direct blow, trauma, or as a resulting complication of an underlying knee condition. Some examples include:
- Bone spurs or loose bodies – direct trauma or degenerative conditions can damage some knee structures, causing them to break off and float about in the joint space. This becomes a problem when such loose bodies get stuck in the knee joint, causing pain and mobility problems.
- Foot or hip problem – conditions that cause pain in the foot or hips can force you to change your walk, gait, or posture to try and lessen the pain. However, this can lead to knee pain over time since the altered walk can place too much pressure on your knees.
- Illiotibial band syndrome – this happens when a tendon called the iliotibial band becomes tight and irritated due to repetitive flexion. As a result, the friction it produces reaches the other part of the thigh bone, causing pain and flexibility problems.
What are the treatment options for knee pain conditions?
Treatment methods for knee pain management may vary depending on the specific condition and its severity. Generally, doctors resort to conservative methods first in treating mild diseases and those in the early stages. This includes the following techniques:
- Activity and lifestyle modification
- RICE therapy
- Physical therapy and rehabilitative exercises
- Use of assistive devices, such as a brace, cane, crutches, and orthotics.
- Medications and injectables can help manage pain and inflammation.
Surgical treatment may be the best course of action for severe conditions characterized by intense knee pain and other symptoms. Some examples of procedures used to treat knee injuries and diseases include:
is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat knee problems using 2 to 3 small incisions. It utilizes a thin-tubed instrument with a camera called an arthroscope to view the inside of the joint, remove damaged tissues, and repair muscle tears.
This procedure usually treats tears and injuries in the ligament, meniscus, tendons, and cartilages. Orthopedic surgeons also use arthroscopy to repair knee fractures and align a dislocated patella.
refers to a procedure that involves the cutting, reshaping, or removal of either the thighbone or shinbone to remove the pressure from the knee joint. This is usually performed on patients with arthritis affecting only a small area of the joint.
is a transplantation procedure to restore a still viable articular cartilage damaged by arthritis. It involves taking healthy cartilage tissue (from the other knee or tissue bank), sometimes with a subchondral bone, to fill the hole of the damaged cartilage. Doctors usually recommend this for patients with post-traumatic arthritis and chondral defects.
refers to a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the inflamed synovium to relieve joint pain and swelling.
Knee replacement or arthroplasty
is a procedure that involves the surgical removal of the damaged cartilage and bone, then replacing them with artificial ones.
How to prevent knee pain?
We often don’t realize that the health problems that occur later in life are caused by a lifetime of neglect一neglect to take care of yourself, neglect to see your doctors as soon as you notice the first symptoms, and neglect to predict how the way you live your life will influence your health and body in the future.
People tend to just ‘live for the moment’ and not see the possible outcomes of their actions.
We must finally realize that our future health and well-being are not a matter of luck but rather something we can actively take care of here and now.
With most illnesses, it’s similar to being overweight; it doesn’t just happen overnight – you have to work on it for a long period of time.
The same goes for cancer, diabetes and many others (of course, it can happen to anyone, but it’s undeniable that smoking increases the risk of lung cancer by 25%, high sugar intake can cause diabetes, and so on)!
The first thing you have to realize is that you are responsible for your own health. The things you do today will affect your health tomorrow.
That being said, be careful with how you treat your knees – run with proper shoes, don’t over-exercise, and always remember to warm up and keep your weight in check – these are just a few helpful tips that should give you a general picture. And whatever you do, always remember this simple truth – do something today that your future self will thank you for.
Learn more about Orthopaedic Surgery Associates
Despite all good intentions – if you end up with arthritic knees or other knee-related problems – Orthopaedic Surgery Associates’ team of orthopedic surgeons in Palm Beach County is available to treat your symptoms.
There are both surgical and non-surgical treatment options available. If your knee is “bone on bone”, then you may be a suitable candidate for a partial or total knee replacement.
OSA has leading orthopedic doctors who are experienced in treating orthopedic knee conditions and also in sports medicine in Boca Raton & Boynton Beach.
If you would like more information about our services, please contact us.
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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.