Diagnosis and knee pain treatment

There are several causes of knee pain, like overuse, injury, fracture, or underlying health conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis. The treatment depends on the cause of knee pain. The signs and symptoms of knee injury include pain ranging from mild to severe, swelling, muscle weakness, and stiffness.

Diagnosis of knee pain

When you meet a doctor for a knee, he will do a physical exam to evaluate the cause: this involves checking your knee for swelling, location of pain, tenderness, and any visible bruising. The doctor also checks the range of motion of your lower leg in various directions. He also evaluates the integrity of your knee structures by pushing on or pulling the joint.

Imaging tests

In some cases, to find the precise cause of knee, your doctor suggests some tests, which include:

  • X-ray – An X-ray helps detect bone fractures and other degenerative joint diseases.
  • CT scan – Computerised tomography (CT) scan along with X-rays are taken at different angles to create cross-sectional images and observe inside your knee. They help to diagnose various bone problems and minor bone fractures. A special CT scan can also identify gout accurately.
  • Ultrasound – This is a special technology that uses sound waves to create real-time images of the soft tissue structures surrounding your knee joint. Your doctor might perform an ultrasound, moving your knee to different angles to check for specific problems.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – here in MRI scans, radio waves create a 3D image of the inside knee structure. MRI is primarily used in diagnosing soft tissue injuries to ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscles around the knee.

Lab tests

Suppose you are suspected of having an infection or inflammation. In that case, you are recommended to have blood tests, and sometimes an arthrocentesis procedure is ordered, where a small amount of fluid is taken from your knee joint with a small needle and analyzed in a laboratory for infection traces.

Knee pain treatment

Many options are available to get relief from knee pain, whether it might be due to injury or arthritis, or some other condition. Treatments will vary from patient to patient, depending upon what exactly causes your knee pain. The treatment options might include:

  • Medication 
  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid Injections 
  • Surgery 

Medication for knee pain

You may be suggested to take medications to relieve pain and treat the underlying health conditions that cause knee pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.

Physical Therapy

Your knee will be more stable if the surrounding muscles are strong. A doctor suggests specific strengthening exercises and physical therapy based on the condition that causes your knee pain.

If you are active physically or involved in any sports, you may need to improve your knees’ movement patterns. Practice good technique while playing sports or other activities. Regular exercise can improve the flexibility and balance of your knee.

Steroid injections to treat knee pain

For some patients, the doctor suggests injecting steroid medications directly into the knee joint, which helps treat knee pain, inflammation, etc. Some of them are:

  • Corticosteroid injections injected into your knee joint might help reduce arthritis symptoms and provide relief from knee pain. The effect of injections may last a few months, and they aren’t effective in all cases.
  • Hyaluronic acid, a thick fluid with similar features to the natural fluid that lubricates your joints, is injected into your knee joint. It improves the mobility of your joint and eases your pain. 
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a mixture of various growth factors that reduce inflammation and boost the healing process. PRP is effective in patients whose knee pain is caused due to ligament tears, sprains, or injury.

The important point to remember is that this steroid treatment provides temporary relief only.

Surgery for knee pain

Severe injuries that cause knee pain might require surgery to fix the problem. Doctors don’t prefer surgery blindly; they first consider nonsurgical rehabilitation, and if they don’t work, then surgical reconstruction is performed. If the surgery is your next option, it may include one of the following:

Arthroscopic surgery is a procedure where a fibre-optic camera is sent into your knee joint by making small incisions to diagnose and fix the problem. It involves removing or repairing the damaged cartilage, ligaments, and removal of loose bodies.

Partial knee replacement surgery is when the surgeon replaces the damaged parts of your knee with prosthetics. 

Total knee replacement is a procedure in which the surgeon removes the entire knee joint and replaces it with a prosthetic joint made up of metal, high-grade plastics, or polymers.

Lifestyle and home remedies

OTC medications like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium can ease knee pain. Creams that contain numbing agents like lidocaine or capsaicin might provide relief to some people.

Self-care measures to follow for an injured knee are as follows:

  • Rest – Take a break from the regular activities and rest yourself to reduce the strain on your knee and prevent further damage.
  • Ice therapy – is a safe and effective option to reduce both pain and inflammation. Always use ice packs wrapped in a towel around your knee.
  • Heat – Applying heat packs on the painful knee area can provide temporary pain relief.
  • Compression – This helps to maintain the knee’s alignment and stability by preventing fluid buildup in damaged tissues. 
  • Elevation – Elevate your injured knee to reduce swelling; try supporting your injured leg by placing it on pillows when you sleep or sit or sit in a recliner.

Dr Ajay Tiwari, one of the best knee specialist in Hyderabad, says that knee pain can be treated one way or the other with available treatment options. If you are experiencing any problems associated with knee joints and hip joints consult Dr Ajay Tiwari for the best possible treatment. He has more than twelve years of experience in treating various joint conditions.

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