What Is Knee Pain?
Many people complain of knee pain, from mild discomfort to severe pain. In some cases, the pain can be managed easily, but it other cases it will require more formal treatment.
How Does It Happen?
Knee pain can be the result of many conditions, including ACL injury, bursitis, meniscal tear, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
Depending on what kind of knee issues you're having, the symptoms can vary. Here are some to consider.
A knee that is weak or unstable
Swelling or stiffness of the knee
A knee that is warm
Redness around the knee
A knee that "locks" up
Popping sounds from the knee
How Is It Diagnosed?
If your knee is swollen or you can't put weight on it, you should see your doctor for diagnosis. He or she may first perform a physical exam but then may suggest imaging tests to really look at the problem. These include computerized tomography (CT) scans, x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound. In some cases, your doctor may remove fluid from your knee and have it analyzed by a lab.
How Is It Treated?
Treatments for knee pain can vary widely, based on what your diagnosis is. Some pain medications can help with rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, you may benefit from physical therapy or a knee brace. Many people also see improvement with pain management injections, such as cortisone shots.
In more serious cases, surgery may be your best option. You could have arthroscopy to repair the joint, or you may need a partial joint replacement or total joint replacement.
What Is the Prognosis?
There is no general prognosis for knee pain treatment. If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, you may do well with medication and gentle exercise. If you require surgery, you could need several weeks to recover, but then you may be able to live free of pain. Talk to your doctor about the best solutions for your situation.