Experiencing discomfort in the knee? Here are the four most common diagnosis for knee pain:
Osteoarthritis is the breakdown of the cartilage in the knee joint. It typically affects an older population. If a younger person has osteoarthritis it tends to be related to morbid obesity or prior knee trauma. The symptoms are typically a throbbing/aching pain along with knee stiffness. Night pain is common. X-rays will confirm the diagnosis. The treatment has a broad range from physical therapy, an at home exercise program, an unloader knee bracing, and oral or topical NSAIDS. Cortisone, hyaluronic acid and PRP injections are also an option. When all conservative treatment fails, joint replacement surgery is considered.
2. Chondromalcia of the Patella
Chondromalcia of the patella is the break down of cartilage that covers the kneecap. This condition can occur from knee/patellar malalignment. It typically affects a younger female patient population. Symptoms are a dull pain located in the front of the knee that occurs when using stairs or prolonged sitting.The treatment involves an exercise program to strengthen the quadriceps and hip muscles.
3. Meniscal Tear
The meniscus is a shock absorber in the knee joint. Meniscal tears occur from trauma. However, in an arthritic knee the meniscus can tear from everyday use. This occurs in all age groups. The symptoms are typically a stabbing pain that is activity related, swelling and popping in the knee. An MRI scan is the definitive imaging study for diagnosis. Treatment is varied. In a knee with advance osteoarthritis, treating the osteoarthritis can resolve the meniscal tear symptoms. In a knee free of osteoarthritis, a knee arthroscopy to remove or repair the torn portion of meniscus is recommended.
4. ACL Tear
The ACL is the major ligament that stabilizes the knee joint. A significant force or trauma is needed to tear this ligament. The injury tends to occur in a younger active population. At the time of the injury a pop is heard and or felt. Swelling typically occurs within 12 hours of the injury and severe pain occurs initially. A MRI scan is the best imaging used for diagnosis. The treatment involves ACL reconstruction surgery if the patient is active in twisting, turning & jumping activities.
To get an accurate diagnosis for your knee pain, contact Dr. Stacie Grossfeld and the Orthopaedic Specialists of Louisville, Kentucky at 502-212-2663.