A knee pain diagnosis is an important procedure for a better understanding of the discomfort brought on by knee pain.
The knee’s main function is for extension and flexion through its joint. The knee may also rotate and twist; furthermore, the knee also aids in supporting the body while doing the said actions. To be able to perform all those functions, the knee depends on a number of the body’s structures which includes: cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments.
The discomforts brought on by knee pain can be devastating. Knee pain is one of the most common complaints brought by patients to their doctor. Brought about by today’s active society, the incidence of knee problems increases. It has a variety of risk factors, causes, and treatments.
What Does Knee Pain Mean?
Pain may occur in the knee because of certain conditions involving the joint in the knee, bones, and soft tissues surrounding the knee or the nerves associated to the knee area. It may also be caused by certain diseases. Because of the many reasons that may cause the pain, an appropriate knee pain diagnosis must be done to accurately identify the cause.
An inflammation of a joint is called arthritis. Different types of arthritis exist. Osteoarthritis is mainly due to aging. It is because of a degeneration of the affected cartilage. It may as well be caused by being overweight and the overuse of cartilage. Because of the absence of cartilage, the bones around the joints bump into each other causing pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. In rheumatoid arthritis, the main problem lies within our own immune system. The body identifies the tissues surrounding the joints as foreign objects. Therefore, antibodies are released which then destroy these tissues causing pain. Gout (See: Gout Symptoms), on the other hand, is because of high levels of uric acid in the body. Uric acids are a buildup around the joints which later crystalize. The crystals formed cause intense pain in the affected area. The pain and discomfort caused by arthritis can be very devastating as mobility is limited.
In rare cases, knee pain may also be caused by infections. Infection may occur in the joints and bones. This type of pain is a serious case as some infections are very hard to treat even with the use of very strong antibiotics. Signs of infection include: pain, warmth and paleness in the affected area, fever, and chills. These infections are often caused by an open wound such as puncture wounds in the knee area. Sharp objects that have punctured the area may have contained infectious microorganisms in them. A knee pain diagnosis caused by infection is done through the aspiration of fluid that has accumulated in the affected area. The fluid is then sent to the laboratory for examination through a microscope. Antibiotics are prescribed depending on the organism that has caused the infection.
Tumors in the joints, such as: a giant cell tumor and synovial sarcomas may also cause extreme pain. They can cause localized pain.
How is a Knee Pain Diagnosis Done?
A knee pain diagnosis is done through a detailed history and physical examination. It doesn’t rely on a single test. This is to accurately determine the main cause of the pain and not just jump to a conclusion.
A history examination involves gathering information about the nature of the pain. The physician asks about how the pain started, if it happened before, the exact location of the pain, and how long the pain has been present. The physician may also ask about your past medical problems, lifestyle, and different medications taken.
During the physical examination, the physician will ask you to expose the affected knee. The physician will inspect the knee and the surrounding area. In addition, you may be asked to perform range of motion exercises. Exercises will be done to stress the menisci of the knee, its tendons and ligaments to evaluate their integrity. These exercises may aid in determining if injuries exist in these areas.
The doctor may also suggest an X-ray, CT scan, and MRI if the problem cannot be identified through physical examination. Furthermore, if inflammation or arthritis symptoms occur, fluid is withdrawn from the knee area to be examined under a microscope. This may help in determining the cause of the pain. If uric acid is found within the fluid, gout arthritis will be suspected while certain organisms may signal an infection.
How to Manage Knee Pain
A knee pain diagnosis may take a while, and treatment depends mainly on the diagnosis. However, certain home-care remedies exist to manage knee pain. One is by protecting the knee from further trauma as this may increase the pain. A knee pad offers good protection. Stress on the knee may further increase the pain. Resting the knee once in a while reduces stress and gives the knee ample time to heal. Ice packs also help reduce swelling for most injuries. In addition to ice packs, elevating the knee may also decrease swelling.
Other Musculoskeletal System Diseases, Symptoms and Diagnosis