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How to Tell if Your Knee Pain is a Loose Body | Loose Body Treatment

Knee pain is one of the most common joint problems that people face today.

If you have discomfort in your knees, this could be caused by anything from general wear and tear to arthritis, inflammation, or a past injury. One potential cause of knee pain is something called a “loose body.”

Knowing how to identify a loose body in your knee can help you seek out the right support when you’re struggling with a persistent pain. Speaking to a doctor will always be the best way to identify a potential knee issue, but there are some signs that may make a loose body more likely.

What is a loose body?

A loose body in the knee is a small fragment of cartilage or bone that is suspended in the knee fluid, otherwise known as “synovium”. These substances can prevent the joint from moving properly, often by getting caught in extension and flexion movements as you walk and move the limb.

Loose bodies often cause symptoms such as:

  • Intermittent locking of the joints (making it hard to bend or extend your knee)
  • Limitation of motion or trouble walking
  • Knee pain or the feeling of something moving in your knee
  • Swelling or inflammation

Loose bodies in your knee can vary in size and severity, from small fragments only a couple of millimeters long, to those the size of a few centimeters.

woman with knee joint pain; muslim woman with hand holding injured knee; portrait of asian woman suffering from knee pain injury, girl with knee joint injury; young muslim woman health care model

Loose Body in Knee Causes

A loose body in your knee may be caused by a range of problems. For instance, if you had an injury or trauma to your knee during a sport activity, this could cause some cartilage to be knocked loose. This problem can also be caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis.

Types of loose bodies that are defined as “fibrinous” can occur when there is an inflammatory condition affecting the knee. Additionally, a rare condition called synovial chondromatosis may also contribute to a loose body in the knee.

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Do loose bodies in the knee go away?

Loose bodies in your knee won’t simply disappear on their own. You will need to have the issue diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. However, there are limited options available from a non-surgical perspective when dealing with loose bodies. This condition often leads to symptoms that will continue to impair your movement until the fragments can be removed.

The use of anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy can aid in alleviating or reducing the symptoms and pain associated with the presence of loose bodies and improve your chances of maintaining a flexible joint.

Most of the time, the gold standard treatment for loose bodies in the knee will be an arthroscopic surgery. This is a kind of surgical procedure that is popularly known as a “clean out” procedure. This minimally invasive treatment allows a surgeon to thoroughly examine the knee for any loose bodies and remove them completely.

Woman wearing sports clothes suffering from pain in knee. Close-up painful knee with bones

Open surgical procedures are less common due to the availability of arthroscopy as a much less stressful and invasive experience, but still may be required given the issues of the condition. Open surgery still may be needed in cases where the loose bodies causing the symptoms are particularly large, or there are a number to be removed.

Reach out today and make an appointment to consult with Dr. Burke regarding the best treatment options for knee pain.  New and repeat patients can choose between in clinic or Telemedicine Video clinic appointments, whichever is most comfortable.  The knee pain relief you need is just a phone call or click away.  Please make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Burke by visiting the website or by calling (713) 436-3488.

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Disclaimer: Please note all medical information contained within this website should never be interpreted as a diagnosis or recommendation of treatment. If a diagnosis is needed, contact Dr. Burke Orthopedics for a personalized consultation. Information shared in testimonials and reviews are specific to that particular patient and may not be representative of the experience of others.