By Dr. Leone
If you have ever cancelled a tennis match or golf game because of knee pain, you are not alone. Knee problems are very common. They occur in people of all ages and are caused by a variety of issues –ranging from injury to arthritis.
Chronic knee pain can be worrisome and confusing. A doctor who specializes in orthopedics is trained to identify why the pain is occurring and where it is coming from. The pain may be coming from within the knee itself because of instability, torn cartilage, and/or the knee mechanics may not be damaged. Did you know, though, that knee pain may be a result of a problem with the back or the hip?
When you make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, he or she should conduct a thorough physical exam, including x-rays, to come up with a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan. Sometimes further investigation is needed such as a MRI scan or pain injection test.
Unless the damage to the knee is severe, treatment should start out conservatively. This includes muscle strengthening exercises, possibly an external brace, and/or anti-inflammatory medication. As a last resort, the specialist may recommend a surgical procedure such as an arthroscopy to stabilize or remove cartilage. If it is determined that pain is a result of joint surfaces that are worn and rubbing against each other, then a partial or total knee may be recommended.
Have you experienced knee pain and treated it successfully? Feel free to share your experience or ask questions by leaving a comment.