Chronic knee pain can be very debilitating and severely affect quality of life when left untreated. Thankfully, working with a qualified knee specialist, such as acclaimed orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Angelo Mattalino at Mattalino Orthopaedic in Pheonix, AZ, can help you regain complete, pain-free mobility.
Seeking Treatment for Knee Pain
If you notice knee discomfort that persists despite several attempts at routine self-care, it is advised to seek medical support as soon as possible. Knee pain, when left untreated, can become progressively worse and increasingly difficult to resolve. Addressing a knee injury at the earliest possible stage is the best way to ensure a complete recovery.
When You Need to Find a Knee Specialist
As we age, occasional knee discomfort (such as following a long run or sleeping in an awkward position) is not unusual and will often resolve itself on its own after a few hours. However, if you notice persistent pain, stiffness, or inflammation that does not go away after one week, it may be time to see a doctor.
The following are specific warning signs you should be aware of. If you are having trouble in one or more of these areas, it is definitely advised to seek medical attention from an orthopaedic specialist as soon as possible.
Difficulty Walking or Climbing Stairs
If you find yourself limping or struggling to go up and downstairs, this could indicate a bone or ligament injury in the knee.
Does your knee feel “wobbly” or unable to hold your weight the way it used to? If you find yourself shifting your weight onto your “good” knee, or having to sit down frequently to take the pressure off, this is a problem that needs to be looked into.
Numbness Around the Knee Joint
Numbness can be as problematic to the knee as pain. This might indicate nerve damage or a circulatory condition.
Redness or Swelling
Any change to the shape or color of your knee joint needs to be addressed immediately. A swollen knee that is tender or warm when you touch it can indicate an infection, inflammatory condition, or acute injury.
Reduced Range of Motion
If you are having trouble bending your leg or fully extending it as you walk, this can indicate inflammation of the ligaments. When left untreated, the knee will become increasingly stiff and difficult to work with, so early intervention is key.
Inability to Complete Routine Activities
If your symptoms are impacting your way of life and ability to get everyday tasks done, a professional evaluation is needed. Sometimes knee pain not only affects our day-to-day activities but also our sleep patterns, which in turn can cause a chain reaction of other health problems.
What Causes Knee Damage?
The knees take on a great deal of wear and tear over the course of a lifetime, so it’s not surprising that this part of the body is particularly prone to injury. Arthritis, excess weight, and either too much exercise or not enough can all contribute to knee problems. It is also common to see patients who previously recovered from a sports injury experience recurring knee pain even years after the injury itself took place.
Some people have no risk factors at all but are genetically predisposed to joint problems. Whatever the source of your knee pain might be, it is important to focus on treatment and on avoiding future injury. A knee specialist will not only help to alleviate your current discomfort but should also give you advice on how to prevent knee problems as you age.
There are proven ways to avoid knee injuries from occurring in the first place. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most sensible things you can do for your knees since extra pounds put unnecessary pressure on the joints. Extra weight also increases the risk of osteoarthritis and injuries from routine activities.
Being physically active is of course ideal, but remembering to warm up before intense activity and following the correct ergonomic techniques are essential to safe exercise. Talking to an expert about how to safely engage in sports and other physical activities should mean that you can stay active at any age without worrying about potential joint damage.
Consider Changing the Way You Exercise
If you have always been a runner but are now finding that recurring knee pain or other injuries are getting in the way of doing what you love, it might be time to consider some lower-impact exercise options (at least temporarily, until your knee has had a chance to completely heal). Swimming, water aerobics, yoga, or even walking instead of running can all provide excellent health benefits without straining the knees.
Avoiding Future Complications
While not all knee pain is serious, ignoring even a minor knee injury can lead to more long-term issues down the road. When continued pressure is placed on a damaged joint, this creates a snowball effect that can eventually lead to a more serious or permanent injury. Knee pain that is treated in its earliest stages is unlikely to return later, especially when proper maintenance care is followed.
Some medical conditions, such as osteoarthritis, can lead to a permanent disability if left untreated. Living with arthritis in the knees can be completely manageable if you address the condition in its earliest stages and work with a qualified knee specialist to maximize the range of motion and minimize pain.
What Knee Services Should a Good Orthopaedic Clinic Offer?
If you’ve decided that the time has come to seek medical intervention for your knee problem, it is important to find a clinic that is run by a qualified orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in knee therapy and repair. Ideally, you will want to work with a clinic that offers the following treatment options:
- Meniscus repair
- Arthroscopic Chondroplasty
- Arthroscopic microfracture procedure
- ACL reconstruction
- Knee arthroscopy
- Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy
- Visco-supplementation for arthritis of the knee
- Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) Machine
- PRP injections
Menisci are two c-shaped bands of cartilage inside the knee joint. When torn, tremendous pain can result. Thankfully this damage can be repaired during a relatively routine surgical procedure.
This is an incredible technology that employs a microscopic camera to see inside the knee joint, allowing your doctor to view clear images of what is happening inside the knee and make a quick diagnosis.
There are several variations of arthroscopic knee repairs that can be performed by an orthopaedic surgeon. These treatments typically involve removing injured cartilage or other knee components so that healthy tissue can fill in in its place.
The center of the knee — also known as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) — helps connect the femur to the tibia. If torn, this part of the knee will require reconstruction to ensure that a normal range of motion can be achieved.
This is a non-surgical treatment that can be very helpful for patients who have arthritis in their knees. It is a gel-like solution that is injected into the knee joint to take the place of lost synovial fluid, which is essential for cushioning the knee.
Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) Machine
CPM technology is an innovative way to improve the range of motion in the knee. It gently exercises the knee joint without any effort required on the part of the patient. Regular use of a CPM machine can greatly reduce pain and stiffness while increasing the range of motion.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is another non-surgical treatment that shows great results. The patient’s own platelets, extracted from a blood sample, are injected into the knee joint. The growth factors that form thanks to the PRP injection work to repair the joint at the cellular level.
Finding the Best Orthopaedic Clinic in Arizona
Working with a reputable clinic and expert knee specialist is the best way to ensure that you will have access to the ideal knee specialist plan for you. Do your research to ensure you are being treated by a physician who is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and who offers a wide range of both surgical and non-surgical treatment options.
Call Us If You’re Ready to Enjoy an Active, Pain-Free Lifestyle Once Again!
If you would like to learn more about your options for treating knee pain, we are here to help. Contact us today at Mattalino Orthopaedic in Pheonix, AZ, so that we can get you on the road to recovery.