Knee pain is one of the most commonly reported types of pain. In fact, a recent National Health Interview Survey reported that 18% of U.S. adults have experienced knee pain in the last 30 days. Knee pain can be caused by osteoarthritis, sports injury or trauma, and even obesity. (It might surprise you to learn that two out of three obese individuals develop symptomatic osteoarthritis at some point in their life.) Learn more below about the causes of knee pain and the treatment options available to you.
Knee Pain & Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of knee pain. Though the cause of OA is unknown, there are certain factors that can put you at a higher risk for developing OA, including increased age, being female, being overweight, having had past joint injuries, and having certain diseases such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, gout, or Paget’s disease of bone. Other risk factors include:
- Repetitive strain on the knee
- Lack of physical activity
- Improper body alignment
The symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee are usually easy to detect. Symptoms include:
- Knee pain or stiffness when active – especially when you start an activity.
- Knee pain even while standing or walking short distances, going up and down stairs, and getting in and out of chairs.
- Stiffness in the knee when you get out of bed.
- Swelling in the knee joint.
- Motion accompanied by a grating or crunching feeling in the knee.
Other types of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, and post-traumatic arthritis, which may occur if bone and cartilage from a previous injury have not properly healed.
The Orthopedic Evaluation
At Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, knee pain is evaluated and treated with the aim of getting you back to the activities you love. With these goals in mind, your orthopedic physician will take you through these four phases:
- Medical History. Your medical history, which includes past operations, prescription drug use, and lifestyle habits, may help your orthopedist determine the cause of your knee pain.
- Physical Examination. During a physical exam, the physician will observe how you walk, sit, and lie down. The physician will also test joint strength, range of motion, reflexes, and look for any swelling or abnormalities in the skin.
- X-Rays and Imaging. An x-ray may reveal information that a physical exam cannot. For example, an x-ray may reveal the source of the knee pain is actually located outside the knee. X-rays can also reveal bone spurs, the degree of deterioration, joint deformities, cysts, sclerosis, and improper alignment.
- Further Testing. Some patients may undergo basic lab tests. These tests can identify types of arthritis and rule out diseases that could be causing your knee pain.
Total Knee Replacement With Stryker
Every year, more than 500,000 Americans undergo a knee replacement procedure for their knee pain. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons, between 90% and 95% of patients who undergo knee replacement surgery report significant restoration of function and reduction of pain.
At Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, accomplished minimally invasive surgeon, Dr. Rosemary Buckle, performs total knee replacement surgery using Stryker technology. In addition to having skill and experience with Stryker, Dr. Buckle also serves on the production, design, and educational team for Stryker’s joint replacement technologies.
In a Stryker total knee replacement procedure, the end of the femur (thigh bone) and the top of the tibia (shin bone) is resurfaced. Here’s how the total knee replacement procedure is performed:
- An incision is made on the front of the knee, and the kneecap is gently rotated to the outside of the knee, maximizing the surgeon’s workspace.
- The end of the femur is then cut so that it will precisely fit the metal femoral component.
- Next, the femoral component is attached to the end of the femur.
- Now that the femur is ready, the surgeon cuts the tibia so that it is flat on top. The tibia is sized to fit the metal and plastic components.
- A metal component is inserted into the tibia, and a plastic insert is snapped into place.
- If necessary, the patella (kneecap) may also be adjusted to better fit the new knee.
- Lastly, the surgeon will perform several tests to ensure stability and range of motion before stitching up the surgical incision.
Why Choose Stryker Implants?
- Stryker implants are unique because they feature a single radius design. This means that as the knee flexes, extends, and rotates, the radius remains exactly the same. As a result, motion is made easier and the quadriceps (thigh muscles) don’t have to work as hard.
- Stryker’s Triathlon Knee System features an X3 Advanced Bearing technology, a patented technology only available through Stryker. This technology has a proven lower wear rate than other artificial knee systems.
- After three years of use, the Stryker Triathlon Knee had lower revision rates than five of the most frequently used brands, including DePuy LCS, Vanguard, Genesis II, Nexgen, and PFC Sigma.
At Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, your physician will go over the best knee pain treatment options for you, whether surgical or non-surgical. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us.