Even those of you who are the fittest still experience joint pain at times. Most joint pain is caused by overuse, also called wear and tear. The knee joint causes most people pain at least once in their lifetime.
The knee joint carries most of your weight on a day-to-day basis. It also is the most unstable joint in the body. The knee moves in many directions, and the degree of movement in the knee is greater than other joints.
As a result, having pain in the knee joint can be debilitating. It limits our ability to complete even the simplest tasks. So, what does an orthopedic surgeon tell us about knee pain? Let’s hear some of the best advice about your painful knees, but we will look at some causes of knee pain first.
Causes of Knee Pain
Knee pain can be caused by injuries or arthritis. Arthritis of the knee, also called osteoarthritis, is a result of overuse or repetitive use. Cartilage and ligaments keep the bones of the knee joint in place. But, with wear-and-tear, the cartilage and ligaments become worn or stretched out. This can lead to bone-on-bone grinding or instability in the knee. The ligaments don’t hold the bones in the correct position anymore.
Along with ligaments and cartilage, your knee is stabilized by the muscles of the leg. The muscles are attached to the bone by tendons. The quadriceps, calf, and hamstring muscles work together to prevent injuries to the knee. But, unless you continue to keep your muscles strong and toned with exercise, the muscles become weaker, tendons can stretch and tear, and the knee joint suffers.
Trauma such as twisting sports injuries or car accidents can cause pain and instability too. Sports injuries can result in torn or partially torn ligaments, tendons, or menisci. A meniscus is a jelly-like pad between the thigh and lower leg bones, which keeps the bones from rubbing on one another.
Best Advice for Painful Knees from an Orthopedic Surgeon
If you have pain or swelling in one or both of your knees, an orthopedic surgeon is likely to advise:
- Diagnostic tests, like an X-ray or MRI.
- Rest, ice or heat, and elevation of your injured knee.
- Depending on the cause of your pain, medications to treat pain and the injury.
- Physical therapy.
- An injection into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation.
Orthopedic Surgeon in the Raleigh, Brier Creek, and Apex, North Carolina
Dr. Brett J. Gilbert is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in pain and injuries of the hips and knees. He treats conditions such as sports injuries, arthritis, and trauma to these joints. Let Dr. Gilbert evaluate your knee pain so he can help you get back to the activities you love.
If you are experiencing hip or knee pain, call (919) 788-8797 to schedule your evaluation or use our online request form. Dr. Gilbert offers telemedicine visits for your convenience, too. Dr. Gilbert uses state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat your knee pain. Call today.