Arthritis is a condition that an estimated 54.4 million Americans have a clinical diagnosis for, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This isn’t taking into consideration the number of people with arthritis that haven’t gone to a practitioner for an official diagnosis.
One commonplace for arthritis to strike is your knees. However, not all knee pain stems from arthritis. An orthopedic surgeon like Dr. William Hefley can determine the cause of your knee pain and provide the appropriate treatment.
Signs of Knee Arthritis
Knee arthritis is very common and the biggest sign is prolonged symptoms that just don’t go away no matter how much you rest. One of the first signs of arthritis in your knee is pain. You may experience pain when you wake up in the morning or after a long day of physically exerting activities. It is common to experience knee after exercising or being active. Generally, knee pain from arthritis gradually worsens over time.
You will also notice swelling, tenderness, or redness in your knee if you have arthritis. All of these symptoms are likely to get worse with time, as well. It is also possible for you to lose range of motion in your knee. This means you won’t be able to bend your knee as much as you used to.
Other Conditions That Cause Knee Pain
Just because you have knee pain, doesn’t necessarily mean you have arthritis. There are a plethora of other conditions that cause knee pain, as well. Here are some examples:
You have fluid-filled sacs near your knees known as bursae. They cushion your muscles, tendons, and bones. Bursae can become inflamed and cause pain. This tends to occur when you move or position your knee in a manner that applies pressure to the bursae around your joint. Bursitis will cause your knee to feel stiff or achy and appear red or swollen. You may feel more pain when you move your knee or place pressure on it. Once diagnosed, your doctor can guide you on how to heal bursitis. Once it is healed, your knee pain will subside.
Your knee has two main tendons that are fibrous cords that connect muscle to bone. Repetitive motions that place stress on your knees, such as running and jumping, can cause a tendon to swell, which is a condition known as tendonitis. Typically, tendonitis will cause a dull ache that worsens when you move the knee. Tenderness may occur, as well. If you have swelling, it’s usually mild with tendonitis. Similar to bursitis, tendonitis can be treated effectively by following your doctor’s recommendations.
Meniscus (Cartilage) Tear
You have a meniscus in your knee, which consists of two pieces of cartilage. You can tear your meniscus by rotating or twisting your knee too forcefully. This injury will cause pain, stiffness, and swelling as soon as the tear happens. It can also affect range of motion. While the recovery can be a little extensive, once the tear heals, your knee pain will subside.
MCL Tear/ACL Tear
You have a medial collateral ligament (MCL) and an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). These are two connective tissues that connect parts of your knee and help it maintain stability. If you tear one of these ligaments, you’ll experience severe pain and a limited range of motion. Swelling usually develops immediately. You might also feel like your knee is about to “give way.” Unlike arthritis, this is an acute injury. It develops abruptly and will continue to cause you pain that’ll worsen over time if you continue to use your knee without giving it time to heal.
Choose Our Orthopedic Surgeon for Your Knee Pain
Dr. William Hefley is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with a wealth of experience treating all types of conditions affecting the knee, including arthritis and many acute injuries. If you are experiencing knee pain and want to get an accurate diagnosis, we can help. Visit us today and get the high quality medical care you deserve.
Book an appointment with Dr. Hefley by calling (800) 336-2412, or use our online appointment request tool. We look forward to serving you soon!