Treatments for Knee Pain

By Edward J. Frankoski, D.O.

A common complaint that affects people of all ages is knee pain. General pain can be the result of various ailments, diseases, injury, or most often normal wear and tear which occurs with aging. Arthritis, gout, and other types of infections are medical conditions that also contribute to knee pain. 

The knee is made up of ligaments, cartilage, fluid, and bone which all work together. If any part of the knee structure is damaged or diseased, everyday life may be severely impacted. In order to determine the right treatment and recovery method, it’s best to define the exact kind of pain to your physician.

Knee pain may vary depending on the location and the severity. Some signs and symptoms may include:

Swelling and stiffness

Redness and warmth to the touch

Weakness or instability

Popping or crunching noises

Inability to fully straighten the knee

Inability to bear weight on your knee

Knee feels like it “gives out”

Knee feels “locked” and cannot be
    straightened or flexed

Difficulty climbing stairs

Visual deformity

Many types of minor knee pain may respond well to self-care measures such as icing, wearing a knee brace, and elevating legs at the end of the day. However, in some cases, one may require pain management intervention to relieve the pain.

Non-surgical, non-invasive treatments include:

Physical Therapy – Strengthening exercises focused upon quadriceps, hamstrings (biceps femoris), and hip musculature can help stabilize the knee and slow or prevent further degenerative changes.

Pharmacological Intervention – NSAIDs to reduce inflammation are often prescribed.

Corticosteroid Injection – An injection into the knee joint can often provide pain relief.

Knee Viscosupplementation – A thick and viscous fluid can be injected in one or a series of injections for pain due to arthritic changes classified as mild to moderate.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) – Nerves are heated using radiofrequency energy in an injectable type of procedure for 90 seconds, with results of pain relief lasting 6-12 months.

Amniotic Allograft Injection  – Amniotic product morselizes the amnion tissue in an effort to preserve its structural properties in an injectable form.

Bone Marrow Aspirate Concentrate (BMAC) – The patient’s own bone marrow is used to regenerate tissue and create bone formation.

Your physician will help you determine which method is best for you before suggesting surgery. Surgery is an invasive and expensive path to pain relief and is beneficial to only select patients. This is decided on factors such as body mass index (BMI), age, invasiveness, and/or other co-morbidities.