Our knees are arguably one of the most important joints of our body as they have a very important job of being able to bear all of our weight whilst also remaining active to move, twist and turn when we undergo physical activity and also then remaining firmly in place to keep the leg straight for standing. The knee must therefore withstand a lot of stressors and at times may become damaged by our activities and cause pain. There can be many causes for knee pain and these different causes may present themselves with different symptoms. Some knee pain may be brought on by activity-induced stress or injury and some may be caused by a condition that affects the structures of the joint. Understanding the cause can help to treat the symptoms better.
Symptoms can include; a reduction in the ability to move your knee as normal usually with associated pain, pain on first using the knee which may subside after rest, swellings around the knee or a change to the appearance of the muscles around the knee. Some people also experience a creaking or crunching noise when moving the joint which is called crepitus. Causes for knee pain may be varied and can include; osteoarthritis (this is when your knee cartilage reduces and the bones beneath the cartilage then thicken and become damaged), simple strains and sprains (from twisting the joint, overuse or landing awkwardly), tears to the ligaments supporting the knee structures or tears to the meniscus of the knee (the cartilage within the knee). Some more serious causes of knee pain such as dislocation or fractures following a traumatic injury require urgent medical attention.
Treatments for knee pain can often start with the relatively simple forms of weight loss and gentle exercise. As the knee is the main weight bearing joint, carrying extra weight will increase the strain that the joint is under on a daily basis. Gentle forms of exercise which are low impact, such as swimming, can help to reduce stiffness and improve the movement of the joint. Many people will be recommended to see a physiotherapist who can provide a home exercise programme with small, manageable movements to be carried out daily, sometimes with the addition of heat or ice packs which can aid blood flow to the area and encourage your body's natural healing process.
For ongoing conditions doctors can perform simple injections to the knee joint of either a steroid to relieve the pain or of hyaluronic acid (with or without the addition of steroid) which replaces any lost joint fluid to improve the movement of the joint and provide better absorption of impacts. Osteoarthritis is usually treated in the first instance with pain relieving medication, knee joint injections and in severe cases surgery where the knee is surgically replaced. Seeking treatment for your knee pain can mean that you should be able to return to your normal activities with a reduction in pain and discomfort, thereby also allowing you to engage in more physical therapy to help to avoid the problem reoccurring.
Dr Stephen Humble of the London Interventional Clinic has treated many patients successfully who have suffered from knee pain. Working from several different clinic locations across London, we can arrange a consultation for you quickly and conveniently, during which your symptoms and potential causes for your pain would be discussed and a treatment plan suggested. Most forms of treatment can be carried out within our clinics, including the popular hyaluronic acid injections, allowing you to return to an active lifestyle.