Top Causes of Knee Pain and Their Treatments
You may not realize it, but the knee is one of the most active joints in the human body. For athletes, the knee likely plays a crucial role in whatever sport they play. So what happens when we start to experience knee pain that can not only hinder our performance, but make it tough to even walk, run, or stand up? As the knee is a complex joint, there are a number of reasons why pain can appear.
Here are some of the top causes of knee pain and their treatments:
- Arthritis. Arthritis is typically associated with pain, stiffness, swelling, or a feeling of weakness in the knee, with pain being especially strong after a period of inactivity. While there are a number of different forms of this condition, osteoarthritis -- a degenerative disease that causes cartilage in the joint to wear away over time -- is the type most commonly seen in the knee. Treatment for this condition typically includes lifestyle modification, exercise, or the use of supportive devices like a cane or energy-absorbing shoes. If these methods prove ineffective, your doctor may suggest drugs like glucosamine and chondroitin or cortisteroids – and in more serious cases, surgery.
- Meniscal tears. The meniscus is a C-shaped piece of cartilage that works to cushion the knee joint. A common injury for athletes, meniscal tears are typically caused by a strong and sudden rotation or twist of the knee. Symptoms can include swelling, stiffness, pain, and tenderness in the knee, with some patients hearing a popping sound at the time of the injury. Treatment is dependent on a number of factors including severity, size, and location of the tear, but typically starts with the RICE method – rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Anti-inflammatory medication may also be prescribed, and in severe cases, arthroscopic surgery may be necessary.
- ACL injuries. An ACL injury involves the tearing of the anterior cruciate ligament, which runs through the middle of the knee joint. These injuries are frequently seen in patients who play sports like football, soccer, and basketball, as they’re generally caused by sudden turns and pivots. In addition to pain, a torn ACL can cause the knee to swell, and can make patients feel as if their knee is about to give out. The only way to repair a torn ACL is through surgery, though some experience relief from physical therapy.
Sports Medicine in Napa and Vacaville
To learn more about these knee injuries or other causes of knee pain, contact us today and schedule a consultation. You can reach our offices at 707.258.2547 for Napa, and 707.446.6206 for Vacaville. We look forward to serving you.