Knee Pain – When to See a Doctor
When one talks about pain in the knee, many people feel that it is a condition that can usually affect athletes and elderly people. While these are the high-risk categories, it is important to know that almost anyone can experience this pain. The pain can begin in the joints or in the knee cap area or it may also occur in the ligaments, tendons and cartilages of the knee.
Symptoms of Knee Pain
The most obvious symptom is pain in the knee. But the location of the pain and the severity of the pain will depend on the cause of the pain. Along with knee pain sometimes there can be swelling, stiffness, redness, peculiar sounds may be heard when one moves the knee. The patient might not be able to straighten the knee completely.
Causes of Knee Pain
It is important to know the causes of the pain. Now there can be many reasons which can result in pain in the knee. One might just strain the knee or one might suffer from pain due to an injury like ACL injury or fracture etc. In some cases it can be due to overuse of the knee. Sprained ligament, tendinitis, runners knee, meniscal tear, torn cartilage, gout etc are some of the common causes of pain in the knee.
One of the top causes of pain in the knee in the case of people who have crossed the age of 50 years is osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis and infection in the knee can also result in pain. There can be a number of other conditions that can result in the pain. This includes dislocation of knee cap, an old knee injury that was not treated properly etc.
One needs to understand here that there are factors due to which there are more chances that the person will suffer from this painful condition. Obesity will increase the strain on the knee and it will also increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Expectant mothers are at a risk as they put on weight during pregnancy. If the muscles are not strong enough or if they are not flexible then that too can increase the chances of injury to the knee. Previous knee injuries may also flare up after some years. People who are engaged in certain occupations like sports activities or farming or construction labourers are also more likely to suffer from this problem.
Pain Management at Home
Sometimes if the cause is not very serious then rest can help in providing relief. Use of ice pack on the knee for few minutes can also be useful. One may also opt for compression which involves wrapping of elastic bandage around the knee. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines are also available but it is highly recommended to consult a doctor before taking any medicines.
When must one see a doctor?
If the person has chronic knee pain which is not responding to the home treatments, then it is time to visit a good orthopaedic doctor. If the person has suffered from a major injury and there is redness and swelling on the knee then one must immediately seek medical advice. If you have severe pain and are not able to move the knee then there is no point in wasting time. Just rush to the doctor on priority.
Osteoarthritis is a medical condition in which the pain will increase. If you do not get proper medical treatment in time then it can lead to damage of the joint. It may even result in disability. If the joint seems to be deformed or if you fear that the knee injury has resulted in fracture or if there is too much pain and swelling that has appeared suddenly then it is always better to visit the doctor on priority. One must see the doctor if there is severe pain accompanied by fever, inability to walk or if there is discomfort while walking or doing routine activities like climbing stairs.
The line of treatment adopted by doctors
The doctor will do a physical examination and will ask some questions to determine the cause of the knee pain. Sometimes the doctor may recommend radiology tests like X ray and MRI scan. X ray is used to check if there is degeneration in the knee or if there is a fracture. MRI scan is used to check if there is any issue with the soft tissues. In some cases the doctor may ask the patient to do certain blood tests and arthrocentesis.
The line of treatment will depend on the cause of the pain. In some cases medicines and physical therapy might be enough. Sometimes injections that are injected in the knee might have to be used. However there are few conditions where the only option is surgery.
One of the most common surgeries is Arthroscopic knee surgery in which the surgeon can mend certain injuries. In some cases the surgeon may recommend partial knee replacement in which the partial damaged part of the knee is replaced with artificial parts made from metal. If the damage is significant then the surgeon will recommend total knee replacement in which the entire joint is replaced.
Choice of medical service provider matters
If one chooses the best orthopaedic surgeon and healthcare facility then one need not be worried about the knee issues. Even if one has to opt for knee surgeries the best hospital will always make sure that they make use of latest technology to treat the patients. Some of the most reputed hospitals like us, the CK Birla Hospital, located in Gurgaon, make use of computer navigation system in knee replacement surgeries. The use of these advanced techniques ensures that the patient experiences less pain after the operation. There will be reduced scarring and the recovery of the patient will be faster. We also offer special orthopaedic care to expectant mothers.
So next time you suffer from knee pain do not ignore it as it can result into something very serious. Make sure that you seek the advice of an expert orthopaedic doctor at the earliest.
Connect with Dr. Reetadyuti Mukhopadhyay, Consultant – Orthopaedics at the CK Birla Hospital in Gurgaon. Book your appointment today!