Knee pain is a common problem among several people of all ages. The knee pain can occur in any part of bony structures of the knee joint. It can be any ligament, cartilage or kneecap surrounding the knee.
A proper functioning knee may be affected by a number of causes. The most common cause is injury to the knee joint. Other causes include:
- Arthritis, bursitis, baker’s cyst
- Heavy body weight
- Minor sprain or strain in the knee
- Any disorder in connective tissue
- Kneecap dislocation
- joint infection
- Damaged ligament or cartilage of knee
The type and area of knee problem gives the actual symptom. The symptoms and signs include:
- Instability in knee
- Severe pain
- Stiffness and swelling
- Crunching noise while knee movement
- Redness in the injured area
Prior to the treatment process, the patient will undergo lab tests and imaging tests such as X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan and MRI scan. The are done to inspect the condition of knee and thus decide the treatment procedure. The treatment procedure may include non-surgical method and surgical method, depending upon the condition of the knee.
- Non-surgical Treatments:
Proper medications are prescribed by the doctor to relief swelling and pain. It is also useful in treating the medical conditions already prevailing in the body.
- Physical Therapy
The physical therapy is useful for retaining the lost stability of the knee. It includes knee strengthening exercises which mainly aims on muscles on the front and back of the thigh. In some people, braces may be recommended to support and protect knee joint.
Certain conditions require direct and faster use of medications. Injections are highly used for this purpose. They provide fast relief from symptoms. The most common injections used are:
- Supplemental lubrication
- Surgical Treatments
Certain injuries may be treated only with surgery. In such cases, non-surgical method may not relieve the symptoms. The different types of surgical method included are:
- Arthroscopic surgery
The arthroscopic method uses a small fiber-optic camera which is inserted through tiny incisions made on the knee. Along with camera, certain instruments are also inserted. These help to clear out loose bodies from knee joint. Also they aim to repair the damaged ligaments and cartilage of the body.
- Partial knee replacement surgery
In this method, small cut around the knee portion. Metal and plastic substances are used to replace the damaged parts of knee.
- Total knee replacement surgery
In total replacement surgery, the whole of the damaged part of knee is removed. The bone and cartilage from thighbone, shinbone or kneecap are initially removed. These parts are then replaced with an artificial joint. The artificial joint is usually made of high-grade plastics, polymers and alloys of metal.
The post-treatment will include medications and rest for the patient. Usually one or two days stay in hospital is required. A rest from normal activities is helpful for a healthy knee. However, rest should accompany physical therapies for complete healing. Stretching and strengthening exercises aim to increase the flexibility of the knee. Applying hot or clod packs on the operated area is also beneficial. Medications, as prescribed by the doctor, should be used to relieve pain and swelling.
The common risks or side-effects of surgery are:
- Bleeding or blood clots in affected area
- Itching and infection
- Enhanced swelling
- Abnormalities in movement.