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Knee Pain

Common Causes of Knee Pain

Knee pain can severely limit daily activity and diminish quality of life. The most common causes of knee pain are:

  • Injuries such as sprains, strains, fractures and ligament tears
  • Arthritis – usually osteoarthritis but, more rarely, rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cartilage damage and other degeneration
  • Excess body weight that puts undue stress on the knees
  • Muscle imbalance – usually results in pain in the kneecap
  • Referred pain – such as pain in the foot that affects how you walk, causing pain in the knee

Getting to the Root Cause of Knee Pain

There are many causes of knee pain, not all of them originating in the knee. Since treatment will depend upon the root cause of your pain, take these steps to make sure an accurate diagnosis is made.

  • See your family doctor.
  • Attend a knee pain seminar to learn about diagnosis and treatment methods. 
  • Your family doctor may refer you to an orthopaedic specialist, or you may make an appointment to see one of our orthopaedic specialists directly.

Diagnostic Testing

Your family doctor or orthopaedic specialist may use one or more of the following evaluation methods to arrive at a proper diagnosis.

  • Physical examination
  • X-ray
  • MRI
  • Blood test for rheumatoid arthritis

Treatment Options

Typically, your doctor may recommend one of the following treatments.

  • Medication – typically oral anti-inflammatories
  • Activity modification or rest
  • Injections – cortisone or a hyaluronic acid such as Synvisc® or Hyalgan®
  • Physical therapy – MidMichigan Health offers comprehensive rehabilitation services at one of our convenient locations. Ask your doctor about getting a referral to our services.
  • Assistive devices such as orthotic shoes, canes, crutches, walkers, and similar devices.
  • Weight management 

Surgery

  • Arthroscopic surgery – a minimally invasive surgery involving small incisions and the use of a fiber-optic scope. Board-certified orthopaedic surgeons at MidMichigan Health can use arthroscopy to perform procedures such as anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction, debridement and lateral releases.
  • Osteotomy – the removal of a small wedge of bone to take pressure off the pinch point
  • Knee replacement surgery – If your condition warrants a knee replacement, MidMichigan offers a special surgical program called Joint Camp that provides faster recovery, higher patient satisfaction, lower risk of infection and improved outcomes, compared to traditional surgery. Joint Camp is available at our Medical Centers in Alma and Midland.

Learn More about Joint Camp 

Managing Joint Pain

Your joints endure an incredible amount of stress each day. They connect your bones, support your weight and above all, allow you to move. Though your joints are designed to cope with all of stresses you place on them, sometimes they suffer from wear and tear. Unfortunately, the result is mild to severe joint pain. You can take comfort in knowing that managing joint pain or evening preventing it may be easier than you might think. MidMichigan Health Physical Therapist Jennifer Root P.T., D.P.T., provides an overview of the causes and types of joint pain and how to manage it.