Knee pain is a common ailment that affects people of all ages. It can be caused by a variety of factors, from injury and overuse to medical conditions such as arthritis. Understanding the different types of knee pain can help you identify the underlying cause and seek appropriate treatment.
In this article, we will explore some common types of knee pain and their characteristics.
1. Acute Injury-Related Knee Pain
Acute knee pain is often caused by sudden injuries, such as ligament sprains, meniscus tears, or fractures. These injuries usually occur during sports activities or accidents. Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of acute knee pain include sharp, intense pain, swelling, difficulty in bearing weight, and a limited range of motion.
2. Chronic Knee Pain
Chronic knee pain refers to lasting discomfort that occurs for an extended time, typically three months or longer. It can stem from various causes, including repetitive strain, overuse injuries, or long-term conditions such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Chronic knee pain may worsen with specific activities, but it can also persist at rest.
Proper management, such as physical therapy, medication, or surgery, may be necessary to alleviate chronic knee pain.
3. Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome)
Runner’s knee is a prevalent condition among athletes, particularly runners. It involves pain around the kneecap and the front of the knee. The pain is generally aggravated by activities that involve bending or squatting, such as running, climbing stairs, or prolonged sitting.
Rest, physical therapy exercises, and wearing supportive knee braces or footwear can help manage runner’s knee.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that commonly affects the knees. It occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the bones wears down over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Osteoarthritis knee pain is often worse after prolonged periods of inactivity, such as in the morning or after sitting for extended periods.
Treatment options for osteoarthritis include medications, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and, in severe cases, surgical interventions like knee replacement.
5. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis causes chronic inflammation in the joints, including the knees. It is an autoimmune disorder, meaning your immune system attacks the affected body part by mistake.The pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis can be severe and typically affects both knees simultaneously. Other symptoms may include swelling, warmth, joint stiffness, and fatigue.
Early diagnosis and a combination of medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications are crucial for managing rheumatoid arthritis knee pain.
When to Visit an Orthopedic Doctor for Knee Pain
Knee pain can range from mild discomfort to severe debilitating pain, and it’s essential to know when to seek medical attention. While many cases of knee pain can be managed with rest, self-care, and over-the-counter pain medications, there are instances where a visit to an orthopedic doctor is warranted.
Here are some signs that indicate it may be time to consult a specialist:
Severe or Sudden Onset of Pain
A sudden onset of severe knee pain, especially after a fall, accident, or trauma to the knee, will require immediate medical attention. This could indicate a fracture, ligament tear, or another acute injury that requires prompt evaluation and treatment.
Persistent Pain and Swelling
If your knee pain persists for more than a few days or is accompanied by swelling that does not subside, it may be a sign of an underlying issue. Conditions such as tendonitis, bursitis, or even an infection could be contributing to the persistent pain and swelling.
Difficulty in Weight-Bearing or Walking
Are you unable to bear weight on the affected leg or experience difficulty walking due to knee pain? If so, it may indicate a significant problem. This could be indicative of a ligament tear, meniscus injury, or even significant joint damage. Consulting with an orthopedic doctor can help determine the extent of the injury and guide appropriate treatment.
Limited Range of Motion
If your knee pain is accompanied by a noticeable decrease in your range of motion, such as difficulty fully extending or bending the knee, it is advisable to seek medical attention. Restricted movement can be caused by various factors, including cartilage damage, joint inflammation, or other structural issues.
Recurring or Chronic Knee Pain
Has recurring or chronic knee pain been affecting your daily activities and quality of life? If so, it is advisable to consult an orthopedic specialist. Chronic knee pain may be a result of conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other chronic inflammatory disorders. An orthopedic doctor can help diagnose the underlying cause and develop a treatment plan for long-term pain management.
Treatment for Knee Pain in Baltimore, MD
Understanding different types of knee pain can help you understand your own pain and take appropriate measures to relieve your discomfort. It is also essential to consult a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Everyone’s experience with knee pain is unique, and seeking professional guidance is necessary for optimal care.
You can depend on Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland if you need treatment for knee pain in Baltimore, MD. Our orthopedic specialists will help you receive the highest quality care. You may reach our friendly staff at (410) 644-1880 for any questions or concerns. You can also book a visit for orthopedic care or physical therapy in Baltimore using our convenient and secure online request form.
We look forward to serving you!