Knee pain is one of the more common complaints a specialist in orthopedics and sports medicine like James M. Lee, Jr, MD, in Orange, New Jersey, hears from patients. The knee is a very complex mechanism, so the pain may come from the joint itself or from an injury to the surrounding soft tissue. The combination of experience and advanced diagnostic techniques allows Dr. Lee to fully assess the pain and develop a plan to relieve it.
There is no simple answer to this question because the pain may be a combination of problems. Some common conditions that lead to knee pain include:
The most common scenario, especially for those patients that are not athletes, is osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the natural wearing down of cartilage that covers the ends of the bones that make up a joint like the knee. This is simple wear and tear on the joint, so it becomes more common with age. There are ways to slow down that damage such as:
Nothing will reverse it, however, except for a medical intervention such as a knee replacement. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
The knee is just one possible site of osteoarthritis. It can also pop up in other joints such as the hips or fingers.
Some minor knees injuries respond well to self-care, but see Dr. Lee if you are unsure or if the pain continues. Self-care measures include:
Dr. Lee will need to evaluate more serious and persistent knee pain or if there is:
These are indications of an advanced knee injury or a condition that requires medical care. Call Dr. Lee immediately or go to the hospital if there is obvious deformity or you cannot bear weight on the knee.
That will depend on the underlying cause. Dr. Lee will do a full exam, focusing on the knee joint itself. He may perform tests to evaluate the knee and try some conservative treatments to see what works. He may order physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the joint or a knee arthroscopy to assess the damage. In most cases, he can do a surgical repair as part of the arthroscopic procedure, as well.