Knee Pain Management and Treatment
Knees are one of the most worked and stressed joints in the body. This isn’t helped by the fact that they are a load bearing joint. Many people develop pain in at least one knee at some point in their life. This can be caused by many things including injury, stress, arthritis, or a variety of conditions like bursitis and gout. Knee pain can include pain when bending or straightening the joint, swelling, sharp radiating pains, or the knee can freeze up prohibiting movement. Symptoms will vary depending on the problem you are experiencing. Of the many causes of knee pain, osteoarthritis is the most common.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive degenerative disease that slowly wears away the cartilage in the joint thus prohibiting the bones from gliding smoothly across one another when the joint is in motion. Although in most cases osteoarthritis develops slowly over time, it has been known to affect a person suddenly. Pain from osteoarthritis may come and go, but it can also be a constant pain. Many people afflicted with this disease report more pain after long periods of inactivity, walking up stairs and kneeling.
There is no known cure for osteoarthritis but there are several things that you can do to treat or lessen the pain. Keeping up an exercise routine can help keep the thigh muscles strong. Weak muscles can only worsen the pain in the knee since your body will have to overcompensate for the lack of muscle strength. Lessening the weight on the knee as a result of routine exercise can also help to reduce the pain.
Many people also look towards joint injections as a way to decrease the pain in their knee after over-the-counter medications, physical therapy, and even surgeries have failed. Two of the most popular options with knee injections include corticosteroids and hyaluronate (also called Hyalgan).
Corticosteroids are commonly injected into many joints of the body including the ankle, knee, small joints in the hand, and shoulder. The corticosteroids ease pain and inflammation by reducing the accumulation of the cells responsible for the irritation. Most people feel relief after only one shot as the drug is fast acting.
Quickly rising in popularity and known for its effectiveness is the injection of hyaluronate or Hyalgan. Hyaluronate is a naturally found chemical in the body so it poses little to no side effects. Since osteoarthritis causes the body to lose cartilage and, therefore, joint lubrication, Hyalgan naturally replaces the lubrication and acts as a shock absorber. Hyalgan can provide serious relief from knee pain for several years. In short-term clinical trials, positive results show decreased pain during movement, at rest, increased joint functionality, longer pain-free walking times, and overall improvement. An overwhelming amount of people have responded positively to Hyalgan injections, even those who had little to no help from corticosteroid injections.
Hillcrest Physical Medicine offers both of these options as well as wellness tips to help increase the strength in leg muscles. Call today to schedule an appointment with Karen Lee, APRN to discuss the best options for relieving you of constant knee pain.