During the physical exam, your doctor is likely to:
- Inspect your knee for swelling, pain, tenderness, warmth and visible bruising.
- Check to see how far you can move your lower leg in different directions.
- Push on or pull the joint to evaluate the integrity of the structures
in your knee.
In some cases, your doctor might suggest tests such as:
- X-ray. Your doctor may first recommend having an X-ray, which can help detect bone fractures and degenerative joint disease.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan. CT scanners combine X-rays taken from many different angles, to create cross-sectional images of the inside of your body. CT scans can help diagnose bone problems and subtle fractures. A special kind of CT scan can accurately identify
gout even when the joint is not inflamed.
- Ultrasound. This technology uses sound waves to produce real-time images of the soft tissue structures within and around your knee. Your doctor may want to move your knee into different positions during the ultrasound to check for specific problems.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses radio waves and a powerful magnet to create 3D images of the inside of your knee. This test is particularly useful in revealing injuries to soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, cartilage and muscles.
- Lab tests. If your doctor suspects an infection or inflammation, you’re likely to have blood tests and sometimes a procedure called arthrocentesis, in which a small amount of fluid is removed from within your knee joint with a needle and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Treatments will vary, depending upon what exactly is causing your knee pain.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to help relieve pain and to treat underlying conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
Strengthening the muscles around your knee will make it more stable. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy or different types of strengthening exercises based on the specific condition that is causing your pain.
If you are physically active or practice a sport, you may need exercises to correct movement patterns that may be affecting your knees and to establish good technique during your sport or activity. Exercises to improve your flexibility and balance also are important.
Arch supports, sometimes with wedges on one side of the heel, can help to shift pressure away from the side of the knee most affected by osteoarthritis. In certain conditions, different types of braces may be used to help protect and support the knee joint.
In some cases, your doctor may suggest injecting medications or other substances directly into your joint. Examples include:
- Corticosteroids. Injections of a corticosteroid drug into your knee joint may help reduce the symptoms of an arthritis flare and provide pain relief that may last a few months. These injections aren’t effective in all cases.
- Hyaluronic acid. A thick fluid, similar to the fluid that naturally lubricates joints, hyaluronic acid can be injected into your knee to improve mobility and ease pain. Although study results have been mixed about the effectiveness of this treatment, relief from one or a series of shots may last as long as six months.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP contains a concentration of many different growth factors that appear to reduce inflammation and promote healing. These types of injections tend to work better in people whose knee pain is caused by tendon tears, sprains or injury.
If you have an injury that may require surgery, it’s usually not necessary to have the operation immediately. Before making any decision, consider the pros and cons of both nonsurgical rehabilitation and surgical reconstruction in relation to what’s most important to you. If you choose to have surgery, your options may include:
- Arthroscopic surgery. Depending on your injury, your doctor may be able to examine and repair your joint damage using a fiber-optic camera and long, narrow tools inserted through just a few small incisions around your knee. Arthroscopy may be used to remove loose bodies from your knee joint, remove or repair damaged cartilage (especially if it is causing your knee to lock), and reconstruct torn ligaments.
- Partial knee replacement surgery. In this procedure, your surgeon replaces only the most damaged portion of your knee with parts made of metal and plastic. The surgery can usually be performed through small incisions, so you’re likely to heal more quickly than you are with surgery to replace your entire knee.
- Total knee replacement. In this procedure, your surgeon cuts away damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone and kneecap, and replaces it with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.
“The office people are great and my current provider is an excellent healthcare giver. It only took 45 mins from walking in the door and checking out at the end of the appointment. I recommend this healthcare facility.”
“Compassionate and understanding medical dr that understands my pain. Front desk and staff are very nice. The radio frequency ablation on my neck and back have improved my pain and range of motion.”
“I have al ot of problems. I have had neck fusion and SI joint fusion and now have a disc put in lower back. Now planter fastic in foot and nuro told me couple of weeks ago I have fibromyalgia and said they know that I’m in alot of pain and to go to pain management i
I found APS and f I didn’t have this kind of place I don’t know what I would do.
I have been taking pain meds since 2004 but right now it’s at the point I think I have so much pain that the meds only last 2-3 hrs but I love the people the work with you and the treatment I’ve gotten.”
“Great staff Michael Gilmore is good and Jennifer Stacey is an awesome Apn and she is really smart and professional every visit”
“Doctor was really nice and all the people in the office were nice.
“The front staff was terrific, friendly, and very prompt with their check in procedures and my wait time was amazingly short!!! The initial nurse was so efficient & professional as well as very nice. My provider is Samantha who REALLY IMPRESSED me with her knowledge and her thorough coverage and knowledge of my extensive medical records upon seeing me. She (Samantha is quite amazing) and I truly felt she recognized my issues and grasped the severity of my situation and orthopedic mobility issues”
“They are all very efficient and professional at APS. I am looking for relief from my pain but cannot take opioids for my job. I appreciate that they don’t try to push opioids on me.”
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