Everyone experiences knee pain from time to time. But if the pain is severe, impacting your daily life, or accompanied by swelling, tenderness or redness, it’s time to see a doctor.
At Complete Orthopedics, our team of orthopedic knee doctors specialize in knee pain treatment and surgery. We can discuss your symptoms, diagnose the problem, and provide you with the best course of action for knee treatment or surgical repair.
Based in New York City and Long Island with operating privileges in six hospitals, we’re fully equipped to provide state-of-the-art knee surgery and orthopedic services. If you’d like to make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon, you can book online or give us a call today.
Here’s a look at some of the common causes and treatments for knee pain and when surgical repair is the best option.
- When to call a doctor for knee pain
- Causes of knee pain
- Treatment and Surgery
Knee pain appears in many forms, ranging from swelling and stiffness to popping and crunching noises. Sometimes the pain feels like weakness or instability. In certain cases, there is redness, and the knee is warm to the touch.
Many different problems can cause knee pain. The most debilitating cause involves underlying medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis, which can lead to disability if left untreated.
Knee Pain Symptoms
Knee pain can cause many different sensations, depending on what’s triggering the symptom.
Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of knee pain:
- Constant ache
- Sharp, shooting pain
- Dull burning pain
- Stiffness and swelling of the knee
- Warm to the touch
- Instability or weakness
- Crunching or popping noises
- Unable to straighten your knee
- Unable to bend the knee
When to call Complete Orthopedics
Call your orthopedic knee doctor if you are experiencing:
- Major pain after an injury
- Severe pain in the knee
- Marked knee swelling
- Pain builds over hours and is associated with swelling, tenderness or redness
- Inability to bear weight on your knee
- Fever, along with redness, pain and swelling in the knee
- Deformity in your knee or leg
Causes of Knee Pain
There are many different causes for knee pain, ranging from sports injuries and arthritis to excess weight.
Knee Pain Caused by Sports Injuries and Accidents
Accidents happen in sports and in everyday life. Here’s a list of the most common knee injuries that can occur from sports injuries and other accidents.
ACL stands for the anterior cruciate ligament, one of four major ligaments in the knee joint. Located in the middle of the knee, the ACL is responsible for stabilizing the knee and preventing the sliding of the tibia under the femur.
An ACL injury is one of the most common sports injuries in athletes who play sports that involve sudden changes in direction. Soccer players and basketball players often need knee surgery due to an ACL injury.
It’s possible to break the bones of the knee (including the kneecap) in an injury, such as a car crash, a fall, or a sports injury. It’s also possible to break knee bones as a result of osteoporosis.
Sometimes knee pain is caused by inflammation in the bursae, fluid-like sacs in the knee that help the tendons and ligaments glide smoothly over the joint. A wide variety of injuries can cause this type of inflammation in the knee.
Patellar tendinitis is irritation and inflammation in the patellar tendon that connects the shinbone to the quadriceps muscle on the front of the thigh. This type of knee injury is common in cyclists, runners, and skiers. We also see patellar tendinitis occur in athletes involved in jumping sports.
It’s possible to tear your meniscus if you suddenly twist your knee. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that helps to absorb shock inside the joint.
Knee Pain from Mechanical Issues
Sometimes simply moving the wrong way can cause an injury to the knee. Here are some of the mechanical issues associated with knee pain:
It’s very painful to dislocate a kneecap. This happens when the patella, a triangular bone that covers the front of your knee, comes out of place. Most often, the bone slides to the outside of your knee. It’s common to see a dislocated kneecap.
Foot or Hip Pain
In some cases, you can experience knee pain due to foot or hip pain that makes you walk differently to avoid pain in those areas. Unfortunately, this change in the way you walk might add more stress to your knee and cause pain.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Iliotibial band syndrome happens to distance runners and cyclists. It happens when the iliotibial band, the band of tissue from the outside of your knee to the outside of your hip, tightens and rubs against the outside of your femur.
In some cases, a piece of cartilage or bone can break off and float into the knee joint where it causes pain.
Arthritis-related Knee Pain
A lot of time, knee pain is caused by arthritis. There are different types of arthritis that can cause knee pain. Here are the most common:
Gout is a type of arthritis that can cause pain in the knees. It is the result of high levels of uric acid that forms sharp crystals. These crystals can cause pain along with swelling and tenderness.
Another type of arthritis that affects the knee is osteoarthritis. While initial symptoms might be mild, eventually osteoarthritis can cause severe knee pain that requires knee surgery.
The joint that is most commonly affected by pseudogout is the knee. This type of arthritis causes sudden, painful swelling in the knee.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects your joints, including the knee joint. It causes pain, stiffness, and swelling that can have a negative impact on your daily life. Knee surgery might be an option for people who want to reduce joint pain and improve their daily life.
The knees are one of the most commonly affected joints in septic arthritis. This type of arthritis is an infection in the joint that causes a lot of pain. It has the ability to cause damage to the cartilage and bone inside of the joint, which makes prompt diagnoses and knee pain treatment very important.
Additional Problems with Knee Pain
In addition to injuries, mechanical problems, and arthritis-related knee pain, there are other reasons you might be experiencing pain in your knees.
Factors such as excess weight, lack of muscle strength, and previous injuries can all increase your risk of having knee issues and pain.
If you are experiencing knee pain, it’s important to listen to your body and have a healthcare provider check your symptoms.
At Complete Orthropedics, our orthopedic knee doctors provide consultation and diagnoses of common issues that cause knee pain. In most cases, we’re able to diagnose your case in the office during your first visit.
We conduct a formal history and physical examination. During the exam, we have a thorough discussion with you about your knee pain, its duration, characteristics and exacerbating or alleviating factors. We also check your knee for visible symptoms, check how far you can move your leg, and push or pull on the joints to see the integrity of the knee.
Next, we conduct any related tests that apply to your situation, including x-rays. If we’re still unable to diagnose your problem, we can then order additional tests such as a CT or MRI scans.
Treatment and Surgery
Your knee pain treatment will depend on your diagnosis. There are many non-surgical treatments for knee pain, including physical therapy, injections, as well as home remedies and alternative medicine options.
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However, in some cases, you may require a knee operation to treat your knee pain. If you require knee surgery, we can help you decide whether you need to have the surgery right away or at a time that best meets your needs.
Some of the most common surgeries associated with knee pain repair include:
- ACL surgery
- Arthroscopic surgery
- Partial knee replacement surgery
- Total knee replacement surgery
1. ACL Surgery
We offer ACL surgery for people who have experienced an ACL injury. In many cases, knee surgery on young patients with high activity levels that help them to return to their normal life or preinjury activity level and lifestyle.
2. Arthroscopic Surgery
We provide arthroscopic surgery for knee pain. Depending on your diagnosis, we might repair your knee using a fiber-optic camera and long, narrow tools. Using this method, we can reconstruct torn ligaments, remove loose bodies, and remove or repair damaged cartilage.
3. Partial Knee Replacement Surgery
In some cases, you might require a partial knee replacement surgery. In this type of surgery, we replace only the damaged part of your knee and replace it with new parts made of metal and plastic. This relatively minor surgery is done through small incisions and has a faster recovery time than a total knee replacement.
4. Total Knee Replacement Surgery
If you require a total knee replacement, rest assured you’re in good hands with the surgeons at Complete Orthopedics. This is our most common procedure. In this knee operation, we replace the damaged parts of the knee joint with metal and plastic parts.
The metal parts are made of cobalt chromium alloy. The femoral component replaces the lower end of the femur and requires making special cuts on the bone for the prosthetic implant to fit snugly. The above image shows a posterior stabilized femoral component which requires sacrifice of the posterior cruciate ligament. The ligament function is reproduced by the polyethylene insert which fits in the tibial component in the image above. Together the parts reduplicate the function of the normal knee.
The modular components are used in revision knee replacement and complex knee replacement surgery. The components allow the surgeon to make intraoperative changes to achieve greater stability according to the patient’s anatomy and bone loss. The stem attaches to the upper part of the modular femoral component. While the femoral component is cemented to the lower part of the thigh bone, the stem is not cemented.
The above images show modular tibial component along with bone augments. The bone augments are used to fill in the bone gaps encountered during surgery. The stem helps to stabilize the tibial component in the shin bone.
Your recovery plan will depend on the type of surgery that you receive.
Our website is rich with surgery recovery guides based on the type of surgery.
Total knee replacement recovery guide
Recovery time for Tibial Osteotomy
We also have several FAQs pages on knee surgeries and treatments.
Complete Orthopedics Knee Surgery and Recovery
Whether it’s the result of a sports injury or a medical condition, knee pain is your body’s way of telling you something’s wrong. While minor pains can be treated with self-care measures, it’s important to know why you’re experiencing the pain in the first place to prevent long-term damage.
At Complete Orthopedics, we take knee surgery and recovery very seriously. Along with professional surgery and knee treatment, we provide you with the knowledge and self-care tips you’ll need to go through a successful recovery process.
Give us a call today or schedule an appointment online.