Knee pain affects people of all ages. Pain is a result of gradual degradation of the joint structure as often as it is from known injury. It is important to know that any injury to the knee can increase the risk of progressive decline in the joint. For this reason, it is vital that knee pain is evaluated and treated with appropriate therapies at the first indication of a problem.
Prompt medical attention should be sought if:
- Noticeable swelling occurs.
- Full extension or flexion of the knee is not possible.
- There is an obvious deformity in the knee or leg.
- The knee cannot bear weight, or if it “gives out” under normal weight.
- Knee pain coincides with pain, swelling, redness, and a fever.
Causes of Knee Pain
The knee is a complex and routinely used joint, which creates vulnerability for varying degrees of damage.
Injuries of the Knee
- Fracture. A fall or other physical accident could lead to a fracture of any one of the bones in the knee joint, such as the patella (kneecap).
- Torn meniscus. The meniscus is a tough band of cartilage that nearly circles the knee joint. Pain may occur on the outside or the inside of the knee depending on where the tear exists.
- Anterior cruciate ligament injury. ACL injuries are quite common among athletes, but may occur for other reasons. Depending on the severity of contact, the ACL may be sprained or it may be torn. Treatment is determined by the type of injury that has occurred.
Additional Reasons for Knee Pain
Knee pain is not always related to a known injury. Sometimes, it is the natural use of the knees, and age-related degeneration of cartilage within the joints, that ultimately lives beneath uncomfortable symptoms.
- Knee bursitis could cause pain at the site of the inflamed bursa sac. These fluid-filled sacs are located adjacent to different joints in the body. Those situated around the knee could become inflamed as a result of direct injury, or from maintaining a position of sustained pressure, such as kneeling, for a prolonged period.
- Patellar tendinitis. Tendinitis is also a form of inflammation in structures around the joint. This type of irritation occurs in the tendons that attach muscles to bones. The patellar tendon is used whenever we raise our knee, such as when we jump. Inflammation may occur if the muscles are not adequately stretched prior to exercise. Muscular imbalances may also be a factor.
Treating Knee Pain
Knee pain may be treated in a number of ways, depending on the type of injury or damage that has occurred and its severity. When possible, non-surgical modalities are the first line of treatment for knee pain. The various staff at Advanced Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation are educated in a variety of different therapies that facilitate recovery, pain management, and the reinstatement of optimal joint function.
- Physical therapy is a common approach to knee pain, as well as a follow up to knee surgery. Treatments may involve manual therapy to gently manipulate the joint, exercises to build strength and flexibility, and functional exercises to support day to day activities during the rehabilitation process.
- Acupuncture is a lesser-known therapy in the Western world, but it holds a lot of value in the area of physical medicine and pain management. Acupuncture facilitates recovery from injury by improving circulation, which aids in detoxification around the point of injury. The insertion of tiny needles into the inflamed tissue can also help to release trigger points in which knots have developed. The fact that acupuncture has been associated with the release of natural endorphins, experts also believe that there is a pain-reducing component to this modality.
- Chiropractic care is not often discussed in relation to knee injuries. This form of physical medicine evaluates the structures that may be associated with the exacerbation of knee pain or the development of it. All of the mechanical structures of the body are related. Therefore, an evaluation of the back and pelvic joints can be beneficial in keeping the knee joints in proper alignment.
The way to improved comfort and function may not be as straightforward as it seems. Rely on the training and experience of our friendly staff to help you get back on your feet. Contact Us to schedule your visit to one of our New Jersey facilities.