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Knee Pain: Diagnosing and Treating

Knee Pain: Diagnosing and Treating

Knee pain is a common complaint among countless individuals of all ages. The knee is a complex joint made up of bone, cartilage, ligaments, tendons, muscle, bursae, and menisci. Because the joint is so complex and natural and essential in walking and bearing weight, it can be affected by numerous types of injuries, diseases, and disorders. 

Injury Induced Knee Pain

Pain in the knee is most commonly related to an injury. Sometimes an acute injury can cause immediate pain. Many of the injuries that cause immediate pain are those that cause trauma to the ligaments located in or around the knee. Meniscus tears and fractures are also common causes of immediate pain. In other cases, however, knee pain may result from years of minor injuries and strain. This is especially common in athletes. Tendonitis is caused by inflammation of the tendons and usually develops in older patients following years of physical activity.

Diseases and Disorders

There are also several diseases and disorders that can result in knee pain. Of these, one of the most common is arthritis. Other conditions include bone infections, tumors, calcification of the collateral ligament, chondromalacia, and bursitis. These conditions tend to cause pain and stiffness, and when severe, they can have a major impact on the patient's life.

Knee Pain Treatment

The treatment options for knee pain are vast. Many minor injuries will heal with rest an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. Severe injuries such as fractures or torn ligaments may require the joint be immobilized for a period. Surgical procedures may also be necessary to repair damage caused by injuries or degenerative diseases like arthritis. Due to recent advances in medical technology, many methods can be performed through minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures, so open knee surgery is often unnecessary. Arthroscopic procedures require less downtime and cause fewer potential complications. When knee pain is severe, and the damage cannot be repaired, doctors may recommend a complete knee replacement. Physical therapy is commonly recommended for those who suffer from knee pain due to injuries, diseases, or disorders.

Recovery and Pain Management

In most cases, knee pain is not a sign of a serious underlying condition. Cancerous tumors in the knee are very rare. Many conditions and injuries can be treated with over-the-counter remedies or prescription medications. When surgery is required, most patients can heal successfully without major complications. In general, knee pain can be managed, and with proper treatment, most patients are able to regain use of the joint.