Knee Pain and Knee Surgery
The knee is a vulnerable joint that bears a great deal of stress from everyday activities or from high-impact activities, such as jogging and aerobics. Many knee problems are a result of aging and continual wear and stress on the knee joint. Other knee problems are a result of an injury or a sudden movement that strains the knee.
No matter how you have injured your knee, the Orthopedic team at Sierra Vista can help care for and treat your knee issues. Common knee problems include the following:
- Sprained or strained knee muscles or ligaments. A sprained or strained knee ligament or muscle is usually caused by a sudden twist of the knee or a blow to the knee. Symptoms often include swelling, pain and difficulty in walking.
- Torn cartilage. Trauma to the knee can tear the pads of connective tissue that act as shock absorbers call the menisci. Cartilage tears can often occur with sprains. Some cartilage tears can be treated by wearing a brace during an activity to protect the knee or might require surgery to repair the tear.
- Tendonitis. Inflammation of the tendons may result from overuse of a tendon during certain activities such as running, jumping, or cycling. Tendonitis of the patellar tendon is called jumper's knee. This often occurs with sports, such as basketball, where the force of hitting the ground after a jump strains the tendon.
- Arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee, and is a degenerative process where the cartilage in the joint gradually wears away. Osteoarthritis may be caused by excess stress on the joint such as repeated injury or being overweight, and often affects you more as you get older.
Diagnosing Knee Problems
After you complete medical history and physical exam by the Sierra Vista team, other tests for knee problems may include:
- X-ray. This test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to make images of internal tissues and bones.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This test uses large magnets to make detailed computer images of organs and structures within the body. This test is used to determine damage or disease in a surrounding ligament or muscle.
- Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan). This test uses X-rays and computer technology to make images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of bones and muscles, and are more detailed than general X-rays.
- Arthroscopy. A minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube (arthroscope), which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. The resulting images of the joint are used to evaluate any degenerative or arthritic changes in the joint; to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation and detect bone diseases and tumors.
- Radionuclide bone scan. A nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the patient's bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.
After your evaluation, a doctor might recommend a course of physical therapy or other treatment. If initial treatment methods do not provide relief, and X-rays show destruction of the joint, the Orthopedist may recommend total joint replacement for the knee.
If you are experiencing knee pain, contact the Orthopedic team at Sierra Vista for an evaluation.