Knee pain can prevent you from living a healthy, active life. If the pain is severe or has been ongoing, schedule an appointment with a knee doctor in Irvine as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the joint and start treatment.
What Can Cause Knee Pain?
There are several types of conditions that can cause knee pain. Some of the most common causes of knee pain are simply due to being active. You can suffer a sprained ligament, tendinitis and even runner’s knee simply by being involved in normal activities. Iliotibial band syndrome, for example, occurs when the band of tissue that runs from the hip down to the knee becomes inflamed. This results in pain to the knee when you attempt to walk or run downhill.
Knee pain can also be caused by age-related and genetic conditions. For example, osteoarthritis is an age-related condition that occurs when the joint cartilage around the knee degenerates, leaving the joint stiff. Knee pain can also be caused by joint and connective tissue degeneration in those who have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and other similar disorders. These types of disorders can cause the knee cap to slide out of place without warning.
Sometimes, you can experience knee pain simply due to overuse and not any type of specific condition or injury.
How do Irvine Knee Doctors Diagnose Knee Pain?
There are several techniques that knee doctors can use to diagnose knee pain and the conditions or injuries that could be causing it. The doctor will always start with your medical history to learn when the knee pain started, what you were doing when the knee pain started and if they are currently taking any medications.
The next step is usually a physical exam. Your knee doctor in Irvine will look for signs of swelling and any unsteadiness in the knee. In some cases, the doctor can even rule out some common causes of knee pain and determine whether the problem lies with your bones or ligaments.
After the physical exam, tests may be ordered to narrow down the potential cause even further. If it appears that the bone is causing the issue, the doctor may order an X-ray. This test can show fractures or osteoporosis. If the problem appears to be a ligament, the doctor may order an MRI to get a look at the surrounding muscles and tissues. If there is significant swelling around the knee, an ultrasound may be ordered to get a look at the fluid causing the swelling.
Treatments for Acute Knee Pain
Treatments for knee pain depend on the cause of the pain and the extent of the damage to the joint. If the injury was minor, keeping off the knee and allowing it to rest for a week may be enough. Ice packs can be used to keep any potential swelling down while over-the-counter pain medications can keep the edge off any pain that may be felt.
If the injury was more severe, surgery and therapy may be needed to get the knee back into working condition. Arthroscopy can be used to treat tears to the meniscus. Other types of corrective surgery may help stabilize the muscles or ligaments around the knee to keep the patella, or knee cap, in its proper place. If surgery is needed, it is likely that you will need to undergo physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee. This will also help keep the joint stable. If the injury was caused by an activity, such as running, the therapist may also help correct your technique and balance to prevent potential injuries in the future.
Treatments for Chronic Knee Pain
Chronic conditions that cause knee pain usually cannot be treated permanently. If the pain is caused by tissue or bone degeneration, the knee doctor may work with a pain specialist to find long-term medication options that can be used to manage pain. Depending on your individual needs, the medication may be in pill form or an injection that is applied directly into the joint. Corrective and surgical braces can also be used to keep the joint stable.
If the knee is severely damaged due to arthritis or other degenerative conditions, a partial knee replacement or a total knee replacement may be recommended by the knee doctor. For partial knee replacements, a small incision is made into the knee. The most damaged portions of the knee are then replaced with parts that are made of either metal or plastic. When it comes to a total knee replacement, the knee cap and part of the thigh and shin bone will be taken out and replaced with high quality prosthetics made from metal or plastic.
Treating any type of knee pain is a situation that our doctor approach carefully. Our medical team suggests the best treatment plan for you based on your medical history, diagnostic tests, current health, activity level, and more. In every case, we will work to make sure you know exactly what to expect from your treatments.
When to See a Knee Doctor in Irvine
There are times when knee pain is simply caused by overuse and resting the joint for a week will fix the problem. In other cases, knee pain may be persistent and last longer than a week. If the knee does not seem to be getting better, there is significant pain or major swelling, an appointment with a knee doctor should be scheduled as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the joint. With proper treatment, you can get back to being active once again.
To learn more about the treatments that we offer at our office, contact us today. We can help you set up an initial consultation with a top knee doctor in Irvine that will help to get you back to moving with no pain or discomfort as soon as possible. We look forward to helping you with your knee discomfort.