Knee pain can be caused by a variety of reasons. Sometimes, your knees become painful as a result of physical activity. It may be the intensity or nature of the physical activity, such as high-impact sports that can cause your knees to hurt. Knee pain can also be caused by health conditions that cause inflammation and permanent damage to the joint. Your knee is a load-bearing joint with a wide range of motion, and how much you use it can make it prone to overuse injuries and wear-and-tear.
Acute Vs. Chronic Knee Pain
Acute knee pain with no severe swelling or open wounds may be treated with at-home methods. If it doesn’t get better in a few days or if your knee pain is chronic (lasts longer than a few weeks or returns repeatedly), have an orthopedic specialist examine it as soon as possible. Chronic knee pain is a symptom of osteoarthritis and other orthopedic conditions, which require medical treatment and management.
Treatment for Acute Knee Pain
The RICE method of rest, ice, compression, and elevation is often enough to relieve acute knee pain and recover from mild injuries. Anti-inflammatories can help relieve pain-causing inflammation. Rest your knee but don’t become inactive, for it can contribute to stiffness and weakness. Good blood flow and circulation are necessary for an injury to heal. After a couple of days, you should begin to feel an improvement in symptoms and be able to increase physical activity levels. Physical therapy helps with recovery and rehabilitation from a knee injury. A physical therapist can help restore your knee strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
Treatment for Chronic Knee Pain
Chronic knee pain should be evaluated by an orthopedic specialist. Pain is a sign of inflammation or damage, which can have different causes, like improper healing of a previous injury, osteoarthritis, or osteoporosis.
Lifestyle changes are often part of treatment plans. For example, if you are overweight, you have added pressure on your knees, which is a major contributing factor to knee pain. Living a sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to joint pain. Make sure to stay active.
Injection therapy can also relieve chronic knee pain. A single shot containing a combination of steroids and anesthetic is injected directly into the joint. Pain relief can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
Whether acute or chronic, physical therapy can help relieve pain and improve or restore normal knee function. Active physical therapy involves the patient doing stretching, strengthening, and range of motion exercises. Passive physical therapy involves the physical therapist using various modalities to relieve pain, improve circulation, and boost healing.
Patients with advanced-stage knee osteoarthritis or serious joint damage may be recommended surgery. Depending on the severity of the damage, partial or total knee replacement surgery may be recommended, during which the damaged portions of the knee are replaced (partial) or the entire joint is replaced (total).
Knee Surgeon in Watertown, New York
The board-certified orthopedic surgeons at North Country Orthopaedic Group can provide nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for patients with knee pain and other symptoms. We usually start with a conservative approach before recommending surgery, and use our specialized knowledge to preserve your knee as much as possible. To schedule a consultation with a knee expert, call us today at (315) 782-1650 or request an appointment now.