You know that the knee connects the thigh and the lower leg. You may or may not know that the knee consists of two joints, not just one: the tibiofemoral joint and the patellofemoral joint (which is the largest joint in the human body.) What you also know, without question, is that chronic knee pain can be agonizing and life-altering.
Many patients who experience knee pain try to treat it themselves – with ice, heat, medications, and/or a knee brace, hoping it will go away on its own. And, superficial pain often does resolve on its own. Chronic knee pain, on the other hand, is far more difficult to treat with home remedies. When the pain in your knee lasts more than 48 hours and/or worsens to a deep pain in the knee joint, it’s important to be evaluated and treated by a knee pain specialist.
Causes of Chronic Knee Pain
Knee pain affects individuals of all ages and can range from mild to severe. The most common causes of knee pain include:
- An injury such as a torn ligament, sprained tendon, torn cartilage, or knee bone fracture that is caused by a fall or exertion of force or overuse of the knee joints.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Osteoarthritis, which develops when cartilage in the knee breaks down and abnormal bony growths develop in the knee.
- Bursitis, which is an infection of the thin, fluid-filled membrane that protects the knee joins.
- Previous knee surgery complications.
Symptoms of Knee Injury or Damage
The first symptom that something may be wrong with your knee is pain. When you walk on or bend a healthy knee, you should feel no sensation at all. In addition to pain in the knee, other symptoms indicating that you should see a knee pain doctor include:
- Difficulty or discomfort bearing weight or bending the knee
- A popping or grinding sensation in the knee
- The inability to completely straighten the knee (known as locking)
- Loss of sensation in the knee
Treating Serious Knee Pain
When knee pain is severe or is not resolved at home after a regimen of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), it’s time to consult a pain management doctor. A physician that specializes in pain treatments is able to evaluate you and tailor a custom treatment regimen for you and will also take steps to ensure that you don’t do anything to further damage your knee if it is injured.
Depending on its cause and severity, there are several options for treating knee pain. These include:
- Medications to relieve pain or treat the causes of your pain (such as arthritis)
- Lifestyle changes such as losing excess weight or avoiding or limiting demanding physical activities
- Knee braces or heel arch supports
- Injections of corticosteroids, hyaluronic acid, or platelet-rich plasma
- Surgery (arthroscopic surgery to repair damage in the knee, partial knee replacement surgery to replace the damaged part of the knee, or total knee replacement surgery.)
Other knee pain treatments that our pain doctors perform on patients with chronic pain include:
- Physical Therapy
- Regenerative Medicine
Chronic Knee Pain Relief is Available
Not all knee pain is serious, but knee pain that is severe, affects your mobility, or lasts for an extended period of time could be serious and could worsen if left untreated. If you’re in the South Houston area and are experiencing knee pain, contact our doctors at Space City Pain Specialists. We specialize in diagnosing knee pain, and, more importantly treating it rather than masking it.