Knee pain is a widespread complaint affecting people of all ages. It can originate from a sports injury or past trauma, such as a fall. Many medical conditions also can lead to knee pain and arthritis. This includes infection and also autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis; childhood diseases such as Rickets or Blount’s disease; or diseases that deposit crystals such as gout. Many types of knee pain can be managed with self-care, such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. Knee braces and physical therapy also can alleviate knee pain, especially after an injury. In more serious cases of debilitating injury or deformity, surgery may be required.
Sometimes, other medical problems also can cause referred knee pain. Many people who develop osteoarthritis in their hips will experience pain in their knees. Remarkably, some people with hip issues have no symptoms in their hips, only their knees. A variety of problems that people develop in the lower back, such as disc compression or arthritis, often can elicit leg or knee pain. Sometimes, despite their back pathology, these individuals only experience pain in their knees or legs and have no pain in their backs.
If you are experiencing persistent knee pain, here are six of the top questions to ask yourself, and if the answer to one or more of these is yes, I recommend having a conversation with your doctor:
- Is knee pain habitually keeping you awake at night or do you wake up during the middle of the night with pain?
- Does your knee pain limit your ability to perform typical daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or getting up and down from a sitting position and in and out of your car?
- Are you afraid that your knee might give way when you pivot or step up or down from a curb?
- Does your knee pain limit leisure activities such as walking, exercising, dancing, golf, tennis, traveling, or even shopping?
- Are you experiencing increased frustration that you are losing your quality of life due to impaired mobility?
- Have you tried other treatments for a suggested period of time, such as exercise, physical therapy, a brace, anti-inflammatory medicines, or injections and still have no relief from pain, or you simply “can’t trust” your knee.
Dr. Leone is a board certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating complex knee problems caused by a broad range of conditions that have led to joint and bone destruction, including: trauma, angular deformity, bad outcomes from prior surgery, infection, rheumatoid or inflammatory arthritis, and childhood diseases. Treatment options include total and partial knee replacement, as well as arthroscopy.