The knee is flexible and very important for the majority of daily activities, a knee injury can be very disabling. The injuries to the knee can take place in the ligaments, tendons or meniscus.
Injuries in the ligaments as the ACL ( anterior cruciate ligament) or the PCL ( posterior cruciate ligament) are usually product of twisting. Some characteristics of a ligament injury include a “popping” sound and the inability to bear weight on the limb with the affected joint. Very often a tear of a ligament will require surgery. Twisting can also injure tendons or meniscus, which causes pain, swelling and difficulty straightening out the leg.
Knee pain can also be a result of normal wear and tear. Osteoarthritis is considered a normal wear and tear condition in which the cartilage wears away from the joint as we age. Without a cartilage cushioning, the knee joint can become a great source of pain. Chondromalacia patella is also considered to be a type of degeneration, and usually means that the cartilage behind the patella is also deteriorating.
The knee pain should be be properly diagnosed before an effective treatment plan can be established. Once a diagnosis is made, there are a number of routes that could be taken, but any of a number of injections will often alleviate pain. A corticosteroid injection directly into the affected joint often brings considerable relief to a patient by reducing inflammation and pain. Viscosupplementation provides lubrication to joints when degeneration has caused significant pain. Nerve blocks are often effective also, especially in patients who have had total knee replacement.
Physical therapy is also often helpful by strengthening the muscles supporting the joint, and ice therapy is another common suggestion as it reduces swelling and inflammation in joints. Anti-inflammatory medication is the most common pharmaceutical route to take, but it’s also possible that a doctor will prescribe neuropathic medications or opioid medication in the case of acute knee injuries. Other possible treatments include, chiropractic therapy, gait analysis, bracing and the application of a TENS unit.