The skilled physicians at Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine successfully treat a large number of patients with knee pain every year. Because we are physiatrists (doctors who specialize in pain management and rehabilitation), we use effective, noninvasive methods of knee pain treatment designed to minimize pain and maximize function. If you are suffering knee pain and the restricted mobility and impairment it brings, contacting one of our five conveniently located Long Island offices for an in-depth consultation may change your life.
Causes of Knee Pain
The knee joint is a complex part of the body, prone to several painful, disabling conditions, commonly including arthritis, patellofemoral syndrome (runner’s knee), and meniscus tears, all of which we will examine in depth below. Other causes of knee pain include fractures of the patella (knee cap), infections, tears or sprains of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and bursitis.
Knee pain frequently results from accidental injuries, such as slip and falls or sports activity. At Long Island Spine, our approach to knee pain therapy is holistic, relying on methods that help your body to heal itself without surgical intervention or downtime. Our goal is to relieve your pain and improve your function as quickly as possible with tried and true methods of knee pain therapy.
Risk Factors for Knee pain
You are at greater risk of developing knee pain if you:
- Are obese
- Lack muscle strength or flexibility
- Engage in sports that put pressure on your knees, (e.g. skiing, basketball, jogging)
- Work at a job that involves repetitive stress to the knees, like construction or plumbing
- Have had a previous knee injury
Although some knee pain is relatively benign and resolves with rest, ice packs, and over-the-counter painkillers, knee pain due to serious injury or degeneration must be addressed by well-trained professionals. It’s important to have a full evaluation of knee pain that is severe, or that doesn’t respond to home remedies, since ignoring such pain may lead to permanent joint damage.
Symptoms of Knee Pain
Symptoms of knee pain differ depending on their origin, but may include:
- Difficulty bending or walking
- Inability to fully straighten the knee
- Locking of the joint
- Popping or crunching noises during movement
- Redness and warmth to the touch
- Knee stiffness and swelling
- Weakness and instability of the knee
In order to provide you with appropriate knee pain physical therapy, and to determine which of our other types of knee pain treatment will be most beneficial to you, we must diagnose your condition.
Diagnosis of Knee Pain at Long Island Spine
Our physiatrists are excellent diagnosticians who always take a full medical history, including underlying medical conditions, prior injuries, medication and supplement regimen, and details of physical exercise as well as recreational and occupational activities. We also perform a comprehensive physical examination. Depending on your individual circumstances, we may administer one or more imaging tests (e.g. X-ray, CT or MRI scan), and/or ultrasound-guided injections to pinpoint your pain’s origin. Our physiatrists are also uniquely skilled in determining when knee pain may be referred pain or pain radiating from another area of the body, such as a pinched spinal nerve or a primary hip condition.
While there are many different types of arthritis that affect the knee, the most common is osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition that most often accompanies aging or follows an injury. Osteoarthritis weakens the ends of bones in weight-bearing joints. The greater the wear and tear on the particular joint, the more force is transmitted to the bone and the more the patient experiences pain and dysfunction.
Other kinds of arthritis that may cause knee pain include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder causing inflammation of the joint
- Gout, a form of arthritis caused by uric acid build up in the joint (more typical in the toe).
- Pseudogout, caused by calcium crystals in the knee, often mistaken for gout
- Septic arthritis, resulting from a serious infection, requiring urgent care
Patellofemoral Syndrome (Runner’s Knee)
Runner’s knee pain usually occurs in the front of the knee, between the patella (kneecap) and the femur (thighbone) and involves maltracking (tilt, subluxation or dislocation) of the kneecap. The disorder is closely associated with certain sports, such as running, skiing, cycling, and sports involving jumping (e.g. basketball and volleyball). Though common in athletes, patellofemoral syndrome can also develop as a result of arthritis of the patella. Patients with runner’s knee have difficulty kneeling, squatting, walking stairs or sitting with a bent knee for an extended period.
A meniscus tear is an injury to one of the strong, rubbery rings of cartilage on top of the shin bone at the inside of the knee. The purpose of the meniscus is to absorb shocks between the shinbone and thighbone. Frequently, a meniscus tear is the result of a sudden twist of the knee while it is bearing weight. In addition to causing pain and swelling, a meniscus tear often leads to clicking, locking or buckling of the knee joint.
Knee Pain Treatments Provided at Long Island Spine
Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine is all about successful treatment. We have expertise in determining which knee pain therapies are likely to work best on your particular problem. Our effective, conservative treatments include:
- Recommending the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) as painkillers
- Prescribing stronger pain medications if necessary for a short period of time
- Taping the affected area for support and pain relief
- Prescribing appropriate orthotic devices to correct alignment or provide support
- Administering knee pain physical therapy to strengthen quadriceps and other muscles
- Administering ultrasound-guided corticosteroid and analgesic injections to help relieve pain and inflammation
- Injecting patients with platelet-rich plasma, known as PRP, to accelerate healing
- Administering knee gel injections to lubricate the joint with hyaluronic acid
- Trialing PEMF, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, to reduce pain and inflammation
It should be noted that hyaluronic acid is a component of the synovial fluid that naturally lubricates the joints and has been shown to be low in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Sometimes Surgery Is Necessary To Resolve Knee Pain Issues
In some cases, particularly those involving fractures of the patella or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, surgical intervention may be required. If this is true in your case, we will refer you to one of our well-respected surgical colleagues. We will, of course, remain available to provide excellent knee pain therapy to speed your post-operative recovery.
Don’t Hesitate — Contact Long Island Spine Promptly
Knee pain can have a negative impact on your activity level and your enjoyment of life. Why suffer needlessly? Make an appointment with Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine. Our talented professionals are eager to improve your knee function and alleviate your pain. Contact us now for a consultation.