The most common manifestations of knee problems include stiffness, swelling, weakness, and inability to move or straighten the knee fully. Knee problems are always associated with joint injuries and diseases, like arthritis.
In this post, you’ll learn the signs of most common knee problems, including diagnostic methods used to rule out or confirm the condition, as well as specific treatments.
People usually complain about knee pain because of injury. When the cartilage is torn or the ligament is ruptured due to a sports injury, slip, or a fall accident, knee pain is a symptom that is often described as excruciating.
Medical conditions, such as gout, arthritis, can also cause knee pain. While self-care measures, such as alternate ice and hot compress application, may relieve knee pain, severe pain may prompt your doctor to prescribe anti-pain medications or pain relievers, such as Tramadol or a powerful opioid.
For severe knee pain that limits everyday activities, knee replacement surgery is recommended. Knee replacement surgery is explained at https://www.aaronaltenburgmd.com/knee-replacement-surgery, which helps relieve severe pain due to arthritic knee.
Here are some examples of knee injuries that cause knee pain:
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament Or ACL Injury: This knee injury affects the tendons, ligaments, and bursae (fluid-filled sacs) surrounding the knee joint. It also affects the cartilage, ligaments, and bones forming the joint. An ACL injury is common among basketball players and other athletes who perform sudden direction changes.
- Fracture: The kneecap or patella can be fractured during a motor vehicle accident or fall. Also, the bone of people with osteoporosis are weakened, and a wrong step can already result in a knee fracture.
- Torn Meniscus: A torn meniscus is a result of suddenly twisting the knee while bearing weight. Because the meniscus, located between the thighbone and the shinbone, acts as the knee’s shock absorber, sudden changes may damage it and cause knee pain.
- Knee Bursitis: It causes inflammation of the bursae or fluid-filled sacs, cushioning the knee joint’s exterior so that ligaments glide smoothly. Knee pain may result from this condition because of swelling, pressuring the nerves that send pain signals to the brain.
- Patellar Tendinitis: It refers to the inflammation and irritation of the tendons, which are fibrous tissues attaching the muscles to the bones. The high-risk groups for patellar tendinitis include runners, cyclists, skiers, and jumping sports enthusiasts.
Swelling And Stiffness
Arthritis includes swelling and stiffness of the joints. These symptoms can be relieved by using a moist heating pad or an electric blanket at night to keep the joints loose. Also, cold treatments can help relieve joint pain, inflammation, and swelling. You can wrap a plastic bag of frozen peas or other vegetables or a gel ice pack in a towel if you don’t have ice. Apply it to affected joints for immediate relief.
Redness And Warm To Touch
These signs are a result of tissues swelling due to inflammation. If inflammation is getting worse, there are drugs available to ease redness, swelling, and joint pain. These medications help prevent the progression or advancement of joint inflammatory disease.
Anti-inflammatory pain relievers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen, aspirin, or naproxen) and corticosteroids (e.g., prednisone) can be given. Consult your doctor for the right dosage of medication based on the signs and symptoms you’re experiencing.
Instability Or Weakness
Muscle weakness may result from knee osteoarthritis, which increases instability and leads to serious health outcomes, such as falls and fall injuries, slips, loss of balance riding a bicycle, or falling from a ladder.
Crunching or popping noises are called crepitus, wherein the air seeps into the joint’s soft tissues surrounding the joint, like the kneecap. Air bubbles burst when the joint is bent, causing a cracking sound. Crepitus can be harmless, but some forms may signal a more serious problem.
Signs Of Knee Problems That Warrant Immediate Medical Consultation
Immediately ask a family member or friend to drive you to the hospital, doctor’s clinic, or emergency room if the knee pain is brought about by an injury and accompanied by:
- Sudden Swelling: It is a sign of infection called septic arthritis or “infectious arthritis”, which is a severe type of arthritis that usually occurs due to bacterial infection that comes from another part of the body.
- Popping Noise From An Injured Knee: A “pop” at the time of knee injury is likely a cracked tendon or fractured bone. Immediately seek medical help for further testing.
- Deformed Joint And Inability To Bear Weight: It is associated with a fractured bone. Emergency occurs when a joint, muscle, or bone moves in a different direction, which can lead to sprains, fractures, broken bones, and other injuries.
- Intense Pain: It can also be due to infection of septic arthritis.
- Others: Bruising, coldness, numbness, and inability to use the affected part
Treatments For Knee Problems
Hot And Cold Compress
Heat therapy is used for relieving joint stiffness. Also, it helps warm up joints before exercise or ease muscle spasm. Heat relaxes the muscles, as well as helps lubricate joints. A cold compress can reduce swelling, pain, and inflammation related to activity, acute injuries, and joint inflammatory processes.
Over-the-counter medications are available to treat knee problems, such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil and Motrin IB) and naproxen sodium (e.g., Aleve). Acetaminophen is effective in reducing the pain of osteoarthritis of the knee. Injections of hyaluronic acid or corticosteroids can be prescribed to the affected knee.
This surgical procedure can be a partial or a total knee replacement. Also, it is recommended for prolonged swelling and knee inflammation that doesn’t resolve with rest and medications. So, knee replacement is done after all non-surgical options have been exhausted.
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Using devices (e.g., braces)
- Alternative therapies
The signs and symptoms of developing knee problems often include knee pain and swelling due to injury or health condition. Osteoarthritis, gout, fractures, and other mechanical injuries may cause knee problems. Treatments include pain relievers, hot and cold compresses, and, for more severe cases, surgery.
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