Who knows the value of strong functional knees more than Aspen area residents and athletes? For the hikers, bikers, climbers, skiers and runners of the Roaring Fork Valley, knee joint pain is the harbinger of ruined plans. Missing the jaunt to Moab for some mountain biking, or being left behind while your posse heads up to Uncle Bud’s Hut, just adds insult to injury
It’s good to know, however, that if and when sudden knee pain or a knee injury occurs, OrthoAspen offers elite-grade care, close to home.
OrthoAspen in affiliation with Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), ranked #1 for orthopedics for 10 straight years by U.S. News & World Report, offers specialty orthopedic care to help patients return to the sports and activities they love—safely and effectively.
Common Causes and Symptoms of Knee Joint Pain
The knee joint is incredibly complex, therefore, when discussing knee joint pain, it’s helpful to understand the basic anatomy of the knee itself. As the largest joint in the human body, the knee is made up of four major ligaments, three bones, two major tendons, protective cartilage, muscles and connective tissue. When one of these components of the knee is compromised by a knee condition or injury, it can significantly affect and disrupt the healthy function and movement of the knee.
One of the major causes of knee joint pain is osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is the most common. The way osteoarthritis impacts the knee is by gradually eroding the cartilage of the knee. Eventually, this protective cushioning between the bones diminishes.
In addition to general knee joint pain, the additional following symptoms may indicate the presence of osteoarthritis in the knee:
- Pain on the inner side of the knee
- Knee pain when bending the knee
- Pain accompanied by swelling that becomes worse after a period of rest
- Pain in the knee that worsens with activity
- Noise/sensation that occurs with movement of the knee (popping, clicking, grinding)
- Knee instability
- Problems in knee range-of-motion
Although the symptoms above may indicate the presence of knee arthritis, they can also indicate other knee problems. The best way to know for sure what’s causing your knee joint pain is to schedule a consultation with an orthopedic physician who specializes in the knee. A consultation typically includes a physical examination, X-ray, MRI and/or other diagnostic testing depending on the individual.
Seven Knee Joint Pain Treatment Options That Don’t Require Surgery
Although there’s no cure for knee arthritis, there are several treatment solutions to help address uncomfortable and painful symptoms. At OrthoAspen, we have dedicated knee specialists, fellowship trained in sports medicine, and specifically trained in addressing knee conditions and injuries. Whenever possible, our physicians utilize conservative treatment methods to address knee joint pain. No matter what is causing knee pain, an OrthoAspen physician will find the best personalized treatment plan to find relief.
Here are seven non-surgical treatment methods to address knee joint pain:
- Activity Restriction
Sometimes, a painful knee joint simply needs time to heal. Depending on your diagnosis, your orthopedic doctor may recommend temporarily pulling back on certain activities that may aggravate joint pain. That can mean anything from climbing stairs or staying out of the half-pipe on Buttermilk for a period of time..
- Physical Therapy
Certain stretches and exercises can help strengthen the muscles in the leg that support the knee. Physical therapy can also help encourage pain-free range-of-motion in the knee. With locations in Aspen and Snowmass, Aspen Valley Hospital offers expert care, right where you need it.
- Device Assistance
Certain devices such as canes, braces, knee sleeves and specialized shoe inserts/orthotics can help provide stability to the knee.
- RICE Method
Rest, ice, compression and elevation or RICE method is a common and beneficial way to address knee joint pain, as well as many additional orthopedic-related conditions. A bag of frozen peas and some guilt-free binge watching might just do the trick!
Your OrthoAspen physician may prescribe non-narcotic pain relievers such as anti-inflammatories and nonsteroidal medication (NSAIDs) to help reduce pain and swelling.
In certain scenarios, corticosteroid injections can be provided to reduce extreme, chronic pain in the knee joint.
- PRP Treatments
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) treatments are a type of minimally invasive regenerative medicine that utilizes the body’s own healing mechanisms (from the blood) to heal and restore certain orthopedic conditions, including knee joint problems.
What Happens If Conservative Methods Don’t Work?
Although conservative treatment methods are often successful in addressing knee joint pain, some patients benefit from undergoing a partial or full knee replacement. The advantage of choosing OrthoAspen is that our surgeons utilize state-of-the-art equipment and technology—including MAKO Robotic-Arm Assisted Technology.
OrthoAspen offers the best and most comprehensive orthopedic care, close to home. Our fellowship-trained medical team’s expertise in treating injuries and conditions that come with our active mountain lifestyle is enhanced by OrthoAspen’s affiliation with New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery, ranked #1 for orthopedics for the past 10 years by U.S. News & World Report. OrthoAspen doctors now benefit from HSS’s undisputed research leadership, proprietary conservative treatment and surgical protocols to create a minimally invasive and highly individualized treatment plan. As the premier orthopedic practice on the Western Slope to utilize MAKO technology for surgical procedures, OrthoAspen provides patients with the most precise and innovative method of surgical intervention for knee joint pain.
If you’re ready to pursue knee pain treatment, book your consultation now, or please call us at 970-544-1289 for any questions you may have.