Top 4 Causes of Knee Pain and What to Do

Damage to Knee Ligaments

One of the most common reasons that a patient will require orthopedic treatment for their knee is damage to a ligament.  There are four ligaments that may be injured in the knee.  These are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the medial collateral ligament (MCL), the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), and the lateral collateral ligament (LCL).  

The solutions to this knee problem consist of various treatment strategies.  A sprained or torn ligament will not always necessitate surgical interventions, but in severe cases, as in the complete tear of a ligament, surgery will often be recommended.  The method chosen in order to heal this area will depend on the severity of the injury, and how disabling it has been to your life.

Meniscus Tears

Another common injury requiring orthopedic treatment is at the location of the middle of the knee joint, to a meniscus.  There are two menisci in each knee, the medial and lateral meniscus.  These structures are made of a soft, fibrocartilaginous tissue that acts as a shock absorber. 

The medial meniscus is located on the inside of your knee joint and the lateral meniscus is on the outside.  Think of the menisci as a sponge between the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) where these bones meet at the knee. 

As said above, the menisci are a shock absorber for the knee and help to maintain an even spread of force throughout the knee joint.  When the knee is put in an awkward position by rotating or too much force is applied to the knee while twisting, the meniscus may tear.  There are different classification of meniscal tears depending on the severity and location. 

Arthritis of the Knee

Arthritis in the knee is an inflammation of the structures of the joints.  The two most commonly known forms of arthritis that you may be diagnosed with consist of a mechanical form and a systemic form. 

The mechanical type, known as Osteoarthritis, is a normal wear and tear of the joints and affects everyone after a certain age. One of the most commonly known forms of a systemic type of arthritis is Rheumatoid arthritis, and is an autoimmune disorder.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a degeneration of the joints.  If you are over the age of about 50 years-old, you most likely have some degree of osteoarthritis affecting your knee. Treatment for arthritis of the knee depends entirely on its severity. How you have lived your life, how much activity you engaged in causing a wearing down of the cushioning between bones of the joints will determine severity of arthritis if it develops, and treatment can range from noninvasive options such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and physical therapy to a total knee replacement.

Loose Bodies in Knee

Loose bodies in the knee is a condition that results when a part of a structure in the knee joint breaks off and is loose. The broken piece within the knee joint can be cartilage, bone or another substance that is floating freely within the fluid in the joint and can cause significant pain.

With this condition, patients may feel a grinding or rough feeling in the knee when moving.  The solution to this knee pain will often be an easy, outpatient arthroscopic procedure that ‘cleans up’ and removes the loose bodies.

Solutions to Knee Pain with Dr. Burke Orthopedics

Gaining an accurate diagnosis for your knee pain is always the most critical part of deciding on the best course of treatment.  Diagnosing knee pain can consist of a variety of techniques, all of which the doctors at Dr. Burke Orthopedics excel at.  These techniques range from an evaluation of body structures to more involved techniques including Ultrasound, X-ray, or MRI.

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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.