Knee pain is a fact of life, especially if you are over the age of 50. Minor injuries that occur when people are in their zos or 305 can develop into painful osteoarthritis conditions that cause chronic discomfort, swelling and problems with mobility when they are in their 605 and 705. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fully half of the population over the age of 85 experience knee pain. A variety of problems can affect the knee, and treatments vary from over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to surgery to repair damaged tissue or even replacement of the entire knee joint.
Anatomy of the Knee
The knee joint consists of four components: bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It is the largest joint of the body and is created when the thigh bone connects to the shin bone, joined with the patella, or kneecap. Ligaments and tendons help to hold the three parts of the joint in place. Cartilage is connective tissue that allows the bones to move together smoothly to perform complex movements. A number of problems can affect any one or all of these parts and can lead to chronic knee pain.
Common Problems of the Knee
The knee joint is subject to a number of different conditions that can cause pain, swelling and problems with mobility. These injuries fall into a number of categories:
Fractures – The bones of the knee joint may become injured from severe impacts or crushing accidents, such as in auto crashes.
Dislocation – A dislocation of the knee can occur from a high-velocity impact, such as a sports injury.
Anterior cruciate ligament injury (ACL) – Injuries to a knee ligament often occur during sports activities or from a hard landing.
Posterior cruciate ligament injury – These injuries back of knee pain caused by a sharp blow to the front of the knee.
Meniscus tears – These injuries occur due to twisting or pivoting movements or when being tackled.
Tend on tears – These injures generally occur in older people, when engaging in sports activities or from awkward landing from a jump or blow to the knee.
Degenerative conditions of the knee – Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can cause ongoing inflammation that deteriorates the cartilage and bone tissue.
Tumors or cancer
Diagnosing Knee Problems
Finding the cause of knee pain requires diagnostic tests. The physician may do a comprehensive physical examination with lab tests to determine if there are any underlying health problems that are contributing to the pain. He or she may also order x-rays to determine the condition of the bones in the joint. Magnetic resonance imaging (M RI) testing can reveal problems with soft tissue within the knee joint. If indicated, the physician may also want to do a laparoscopic procedure to visually inspect the tissue in the knee joint to see if it can be repaired.
Medical Treatment For Knee Pain
If home care does not improve knee pain, you should consult with an orthopedic specialist who has experience in treating common knee problems Orthopedics is a specialty that deals with conditions of the bones, joints and spine. These physicians receive additional training in the unique problems of these areas of the body.