Knee pain affects everyone in different ways. Depending on the specific knee injury, you may be dealing with joint pain, muscle soreness, limited range of motion or sharp shooting pain. The common factor is that knee pain typically limits your activity level and negatively impacts your quality of life.
Because of the wide range of causes for knee pain, effective knee pain treatment will also tend to vary from patient to patient. While everyone’s individual care path will not be identical, there are still some general milestones that most will encounter.
Whether you are dealing with a knee injury or knee joint degeneration, learning about the most important steps for knee pain treatment can help you as you develop a personalized treatment plan that is right for you. As you read the following comprehensive guide, don’t hesitate to reach out to our caring and dedicated team. We’re here to help and answer any questions you have.
Understanding the Role of Basic Conservative Knee Pain Treatment
Knee pain is extremely common. Almost everyone experiences it in some form or another during their lifetime. Very often, it is in the form of a minor injury such as a sprain or a strain and only requires basic knee pain treatment.
Getting back into action too soon is how a minor sprain can turn into a tear or rupture. However, it’s important not to become too sedentary. Low-impact movement helps get nutrient-rich blood flowing and prevents muscle atrophy.
If knee pain lasts for more than a few days or a week at the most, you should see a doctor for a diagnosis. Basic conservative treatment options a doctor may suggest include over-the-counter medication to manage pain and using heat to release tense muscles and improve blood flow. Many doctors also recommend using an ice pack or other form of cold therapy to relieve inflammation and pain on a temporary basis.
How Biomechanics and Lifestyle Factors Contribute to Knee Injury and Joint Pain
If one area gets out of alignment or suffers a dysfunction, it can affect an area up or down the chain. The knee joint is particularly susceptible to this, as it represents a midpoint between the upper leg and lower leg. This is why it is important to focus not just on preventing overexertion of the knee, but also to ensure that you are practicing proper mechanics. For athletes, workers and the active alike, working with a trainer or physical therapist can help you identify and address any mechanical issues that may be contributing to knee pain.
Focusing on your overall health can also play a direct and important role in knee pain treatment:
- A healthy diet can reduce inflammation and deliver nutrients to tissue in the knee joint
- Regular exercise builds strong muscles and connective tissue that help stabilize the knee and improve range of motion
- Managing weight reduces the stress we place on the knee during daily activities
- Avoiding tobacco products and excessive alcohol consumption improves blood flow and is associated with an active lifestyle
Physical Therapy As Knee Pain Treatment — Improving Range of Motion and Stability
Many patients find success working with a physical therapist as part of a comprehensive knee pain treatment, including injury and joint pain. Physical therapy is not just for surgical or serious injury rehabilitation, but can also be important for pain relief and treatment. By identifying the sources of pain and dysfunction and working to develop targeted interventions, physical therapy can help restore range of motion and improve stability in the knee.
Common physical therapy treatments include:
- Therapeutic exercise
- Active and passive stretching
- Manual therapy to activate joints and improve range of motion
- Other interventions, including ultrasound therapy and electrical stimulation therapy can help with joint pain
Therapeutic Injections and Viscosupplementation Can Be Effective Knee Pain Treatment
If joint pain or injury pain is persistent and interfering with daily activities, doctors may also recommend more involved knee pain treatment. Two common options are pain-relieving steroid injections and viscosupplementation.
By injecting a corticosteroid into the problematic area of the knee, patients can experience improved function and reduced pain for an extended period of time. This can help patients who have been sidelined by a knee injury or joint pain stay active, which improves blood flow, range of motion and prevents muscle atrophy.
Viscosupplementation is an approach to replacing lost joint fluid by injecting hyaluronic acid into the knee to promote smooth joint motion. Since friction contributes to cartilage breakdown and joint pain, viscosupplementation helps to reduce this friction and slow down the process. This helps patients with degenerative joint problems such as arthritis maintain an active lifestyle.
Understanding Your Surgical Knee Pain Treatment Options, from Repair to Replacement
Surgery for knee pain treatment depends on a number of factors. For soft tissue injuries, such as ligament tears or muscle and tendon tears that are very severe, surgeons may recommend immediate surgery if it does not look likely to heal on its own. In other cases, surgery may only become necessary after the injury does not respond to conservative care and/or is worsening.
For conditions such as arthritis that cause joint damage due to wear or tear, knee joint replacement surgery will be the recommendation, but this will generally be only after the above knee pain treatment steps have been fully explored. Depending on the extent or location of the joint damage, orthopedic surgeons can perform a partial knee joint replacement or a total knee joint replacement surgery:
- Partial Knee Joint Replacement Surgery — By replacing only the damaged part of the knee joint, a surgeon can better maintain soft tissue that is not disrupted by joint damage. While performing this procedure and accessing the knee, ligaments and tendons are gently moved aside. The surgeon can then remove any damaged knee joint surface and replace it with a durable replacement.
- Total Knee Joint Replacement Surgery — In this surgical approach to knee pain treatment, a surgeon removes damaged joint surfaces and replaces them with an artificial prosthesis. After placing it correctly, he or she can then secure the implants to the bone with surgical bone cement that acts as a grout.. To replace the cartilage in a total joint replacement, the surgeon uses a strong plastic spacer to cushion the knee.
Upon recovery from any type of knee surgery, patients should follow postoperative instructions closely. It is also essential to complete physical therapy and rehabilitation to ensure you regain function and range of motion. This is especially true if knee pain has kept you from engaging in regular activity.
Another way to give yourself the best chance of recovery is to undergo an outpatient knee procedure if possible. This approach to knee pain treatment is possible by minimizing disruption of surrounding soft tissue and is associated with a quicker recovery time and less risk of complication.
Learn More About Advanced Knee Pain Treatment Options at OJRCA
Patients considering their knee pain treatment options can reach out to Outpatient Joint Replacement Center of America (OJRCA). Our compassionate and highly experienced team uses a proprietary pain prevention protocol developed by board-certified orthopedic surgeon and OJRCA Medical Director, Philip Clifford MD. This approach to knee joint replacement facilitates a streamlined experience and an outpatient procedure where you can recover in the comfort of your own home. Additionally, people who do require hospitalization due to certain medical conditions can still benefit from a quicker recovery thanks to the OJRCA protocol.
Patients who come to us for knee pain treatment in the form of joint replacement surgery experience less pain during recovery and can return to normal activities much quicker. Patients also experience reduced risk of certain complications.
Our mission is to help you get back to a healthy and active lifestyle and the people and activities you love. Your knee pain treatment path should be right for your own needs, and at OJRCA, we’re dedicated to giving you the time and attention you need. Our promise is to treat everyone who comes to us for help like they are family.
Contact us online today or you can call us at (813) 492-4607.