Knee pain is said to be the major cause of physical discomfort and disability in people aged 65 and older. Pain is usually either acute or chronic, which is defined as either sudden (from an injury) or long-term (something that sticks around or builds up over time, such as with arthritis). For all patients with knee pain, nonsurgical treatment is always the first and least invasive option. However, if pain persists or diagnostic imaging reveals significant damage, surgical options are available.
For many people, pain is something that can be ignored at first, with the hopes of it going away or getting better. However, it doesn’t really go away, especially if there are underlying structural problems that are causing the pain. If you don’t have an honest answer for what’s causing your knee pain, you could be doing more and more damage if you don’t get it treated by an orthopedic doctor.
It is generally recommended that at the first sign of joint or bone pain, we should visit an orthopedic surgeon. Visiting the doctor sooner than later is the right thing to do, as the earlier your pain is diagnosed, the better your outcome with a lower chance of complications. Here is a guide on what to do when your knee pain becomes unmanageable:
1. Talk to your doctor immediately: Your orthopedic surgeon’s goal is to assess your pain, give you the best treatment possible, and help you return to the activities you love with optimal function and mobility. Before self-diagnosing or self-treatment, do yourself a favor and consult a professional.
2. Lose Weight: Being overweight can be a big cause of your persistent knee pain. Excess weight puts pressure on your joints. Manage your weight by exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet consisting of proteins, grains, fruit, and vegetables. Ask a nutritionist or your orthopedic surgeon for tips to help you along the way. Think long-term, starting now won’t make your pain go away tomorrow, but in the long run your body will thank you.
3. Non-Surgical Methods: Surgery is almost always seen as a last resort, unless an injury occurs with obvious structural damage. Non-surgical methods such as physical therapy, medication, exercise, can all be used as an alternative.
4. Surgery: If your pain persists and your knee structure is badly damaged, your surgeon may request that you have a knee replacement. During knee replacement surgery, the bad joint is replaced with a new joint in the form of a prosthesis, with the goal of relieving pain and restoring mobility.
To learn more about what can be done to relieve your knee pain and get you on the road to recovery, call Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland at (410) 644-1880 to request an appointment, or request one online.