Knee Joint Doctor Pottstown, PA
Why You Should Not Ignore Your Knee Pain
If you are having knee pain, but you are unsure about whether or not it is severe enough to warrant a visit to a knee joint doctor in Pottstown, PA, the following information may help you make a deducted decision. Whether you have slipped and fallen, felt a pop in your knee while playing sports, or have been in a car accident, if you’re feeling some degree of knee pain, you should not ignore it. The best thing you can do is to monitor your knee and your symptoms. If you believe you are having a medical emergency, you should go to the emergency room.
Waiting to See a Knee Pain Doctor
Many people, especially those who don’t have a lot of symptoms outside of their knee, will delay seeing a knee joint doctor in Pottstown, PA. Instead they choose to wait it out with the hopes that it will heal on its own. Usually it will; however, for about 2 in 10 people, they will find themselves in one of the following:
- The pain persists for several days or weeks
- The pain increases
- Movement in the knee is hindered
- There is an inner-feeling that the knee is very badly injured
- The swelling persists even with ice, heat, rest, compression, or elevation
- The knee is stable and feels like it might give out
A situation such as that above should not be ignored. Each of these signs are a good indicator that the knee has endured a moderate to severe injury. A knee joint doctor in Pottstown, PA can assess your knee and provide you with an accurate diagnosis. From here, a treatment plan can be developed.
Surgery is Not The Only Option
One of the most common misconceptions about knee injuries is that surgery is the only effective treatment. This is not true. Sometimes surgery is necessary; however, a knee joint doctor Pottstown, PA families respect will often try other treatments that are considerably less invasive – if at all. These include:
- Fluoroscope injections
- Physical therapy
- PRP treatment
- Stem cell treatment
- Steroid injections
- Exercise plans
- Wellness and lifestyle recommendations
- Natural herbs
When you choose a Pottstown, PA knee joint doctor who is trusted by men, women, and families, you can feel confident in knowing you will be in good hands. At Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania, our doctors are experienced, trained, and certified. They have decades of experience in diagnosing and treating knee pain, and take an approach that is the least invasive, time consuming, and costly.
- We are committed to our patients.
- We are recognized for our excellence.
- We provide personalized care.
- We put our patients first.
- We utilize the most effective treatments.
- We treat patients of all ages.
- We will listen to your needs.
Our clinic accepts many different types of insurance. If you don’t know whether or not your insurance is accepted, please call us to find out if we can assist you. Our billing department may be able to provide you with reimbursal forms to submit to your insurance provider. If you are not insured, please ask about our affordable rates. For an appointment with a knee joint doctor in Pottstown, PA please call Premier Osteoarthritis Centers of Pennsylvania.
How Does Weight Affect Knee Pain?
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common causes of knee pain. It is a degenerative condition caused by the gradual wearing down of the cartilage of the knee joint. The cartilage is there to cushion the bones of the joint and keep them from rubbing up against each other. As the cartilage wears down, it can cause pain and inflammation.
Being overweight or obese puts you at greater risk for osteoarthritis of the joints of the lower extremities, such as the knees and hips. Obesity increases the risk of osteoarthritis by four or five times. The good news is that your weight is a modifiable risk factor. While it is best to maintain a healthy weight if possible, even a small or moderate weight reduction can help to decrease your risk of arthritis pain in your knee.
There are several significant ways that losing weight can decrease your risk of knee pain due to arthritis.
Your overall inflammation in the body, including the knee, is likely to go down if you reduce the stores of fat in your body. This is because pro-inflammatory chemicals are released by fat tissues. If your knee joint is already inflamed due to arthritis, the pain can become worse if these chemicals act on it.
Less Pressure on the Joints
The pounds of pressure on your knees when you walk is equivalent to about 1.5 times what you weigh. Therefore, if you weigh 200 pounds, you put 300 pounds of pressure on your knees when you walk across a flat surface. The force is greater when you walk up or down an incline. Losing weight means less pressure on your joints.
Slower Cartilage Loss
Weight loss can benefit you even if you already have osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that losing weight can help to slow down progression of the disease due to cartilage loss. The more weight you lose, within a healthy range, the greater the benefit you are likely to see. Severe osteoarthritis in the knee is often treated with knee replacement surgery. Slower degeneration of cartilage can help to delay this surgery. If your symptoms are manageable with conservative measures, knee replacement surgery may not be necessary at all.
In addition to possibly helping to ease your knee pain, a chiropractor may be able to recommend healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes that can aid with losing weight and maintaining weight loss. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of the certified professionals on our staff.
5 Common Types of Physical Therapy Interventions for Knee Pain
Physical therapy is used to treat movement disorders and to rehabilitate after surgery or an injury to the musculoskeletal system. The goal is to, first, reduce the patient’s pain and, second, to regain strength, flexibility, and full range of motion. The specific interventions that you may receive from a physical therapist depend on your condition, but your treatment may involve one or more of the following.
A knee joint doctor Pottstown, PA may guide you through a special exercise routine during your appointment or teach you how to perform it at home. Exercise in knee joint therapy is used to relieve pain, address imbalances and strengthen weak or atrophied muscles. It may be performed in response to a particular injury or to counteract the effects of a sedentary lifestyle that has yet to cause any specific injury.
2. Manual Therapy
Manual therapy includes several techniques that involve the therapist treating the patient by using his or her own hands. Examples of manual therapy include mobilization and passive range of motion during which the therapist manually moves the patient’s limbs and joints. Another example of manual therapy, one that many people are familiar with even in non-clinical contexts, is massage.
3. Electrical Stimulation
Following certain types of surgeries and traumatic injuries, muscles can become dormant. Electrical stimulation applies a low level of current that helps to restore movement and function by causing the muscles to contract involuntarily. The same types of electrical current can also be used to stimulate nerves for pain relief.
4. Hot and Cold Therapy
While lay people know that applying heat or cold to an injury can be effective at promoting pain relief and healing, physical therapists know how to optimize these therapies for the greatest effectiveness. Heat increases blood flow to an injured area, helping to relieve pain and increase mobility in the case of a muscle spasm. Ice or cold packs cause the blood vessels to constrict, which helps to reduce swelling and inflammation.
You may be most familiar with ultrasound as a diagnostic imaging tool, but it can also be used therapeutically. High-pitched sound waves can generate heat and promote circulation. Ultrasound can be used in physical therapy either alone or in combination with other interventions. For example, it can help to enhance the delivery of topical medicines, such as steroids or anesthetics, through a process called phonophoresis.
One of our knee joint doctors, Pottstown, PA can perform an evaluation to determine which interventions are likely to be most effective for you. Contact our office for an appointment.
What exercises are recommended, and what exercises should be avoided during rehabilitation for a knee injury?
During physical therapy for rehabilitation of a knee injury, the patient will be given specific exercises by the physical therapist in order to strengthen and stabilize the knee joint. These exercises include strengthening the front of the thigh (quadriceps), back of the thigh (hamstrings), calf, and hip. Consult your doctor and your physical therapist before starting any exercise program. Your physical therapist should ensure you perform the exercises properly before doing them on your own.
If you have any pain or discomfort while doing prescribed exercises, see your doctor or physical therapist.
Some exercises your physical therapist may recommend include the following:
- Quad sets
- Straight leg raises
- Straight-leg raise to the front
- Straight-leg raise to the back
- Hamstring curls
- Heel raises
- Heel dig bridging
- Shallow standing knee bends
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) has an exercise guide that includes directions and pictures. Consult your doctor or physical therapist before trying any of these exercises on your own.
Some exercises to avoid following knee injury include the following:
- Full-arc knee extensions
- Deep squats
- Hurdler’s stretches
These exercises can further stress already damaged knee joints.
What is the recovery time for a knee injury?
The recovery time for a knee injury depends on the type and severity of the injury. If the injury is significant enough to require surgery and/or physical therapy, the recovery time will be longer.
Simple strains or sprains can last for one to two weeks. More extensive injuries requiring arthroscopic surgery may take one to three months to heal.
Major traumatic injuries to the knee may take up to a year to heal.
Following the doctor’s instructions for rest, immobilization, staying off your feet, and avoiding exercise that aggravates the injuries will help speed recovery.
Physical therapy can also speed recovery time. It is important to follow directions of your physical therapist to ensure you are doing the exercises correctly and attaining the best results.
Chronic knee injuries that do not require surgery may flare up from time to time. Physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone injections are used to provide temporary relief.
What is the prognosis of a knee injury?
The prognosis of a knee injury depends on the type and severity of the injury.
Most minor knee injuries (strains, minor sprains) heal on their own with conservative treatment. The prognosis for these types of injuries is good.
Ligament or cartilage injuries that lead to dysfunction or instability of the knee may require surgery. These injuries generally respond well to surgery and patients can ultimately gain full or nearly full range of knee motion.
What are complications of knee injuries?
Knee injuries are rarely life-threatening, though severe injuries may be disabling. Some knee injuries lead to chronic, irreversible damage to the knee and may result in complications such as long-term dysfunction. Knee-joint dislocations can cause blood vessel injuries and can lead to severe disability.
When to Consider Therapeutic Injections for Knee Arthritis Pain
Someone may want temporary relief from knee osteoarthritis pain so they can postpone knee replacement surgery or pursue other treatments.
Examples of treatments include participating in physical therapy to strengthen muscles around the joint or dieting to assist with weight loss, which relieves pressure on the joint. Other people may seek temporary relief so they can participate in a particular activity, such as a vacation that involves lots of walking or hiking.
Cortisone and hyaluronic injections are commonly used for fast, temporary relief from knee osteoarthritis pain.
Cortisone injections may begin working within 24 hours of the injection, and the effects of a cortisone injection typically last between 6 weeks to 6 months. The goal of a cortisone injection is to reduce inflammation, which is often the underlying cause of pain.
Hyaluronic acid (viscosupplementation) injections tend to work more slowly than cortisone, the full effects may not be felt for about 2 weeks, but the effects may last longer. The primary goal of a hyaluronic acid injection is to lubricate the knee joint. This treatment is not always covered by insurance.
Some people who get cortisone injections experience a painful “cortisone flare.” A flare may last a couple of hours or a couple of days after the injection. Experiencing a cortisone flare does not mean that the cortisone injection will not work.
Not all people who get cortisone or hyaluronic injections experience a decrease in knee pain.
Stopping an Arthritis Flare
Significant knee pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness can be caused by an arthritis flare. Arthritis flares are associated with autoimmune forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
A cortisone injection may be recommended to stop the inflammation of an arthritis flare. Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
An inflammatory flare in the knee joint results in excess fluid in the knee’s joint capsule. A physician can use a hand-held ultrasound probe to verify there is excess fluid in the knee. This fluid can be drained before the cortisone injection. Using ultrasound also allows the doctor to see the exact location of the needle within the joint and precisely place the cortisone injection. Ultrasound imaging is painless.
Preventing the Progression of Knee Osteoarthritis
Knee osteoarthritis is defined by the loss of articular cartilage in the knee joint. Articular cartilage does not heal easily, so the damage and loss of cartilage are often progressive and permanent. However, some researchers believe injections that use regenerative medicine can stop the progression of osteoarthritis and even spur healing.
These regenerative medicine injections include:
Platelet rich plasma injections (PRP): PRP therapy attempts to take advantage of the blood’s natural healing properties to repair damaged joint tissue, including cartilage tissue. It is derived from a sample of the patient’s own blood. PRP is extremely safe as the platelets are naturally occurring within your body and the activated concentrated platelets bring growth factors and anti-inflammatory agents into the injected region of concern especially when injected under ultrasound guidance.
Stem cell injections: Researchers theorize that, when injected into an osteoarthritic knee, stem cells can signal the body’s own reparative process; suppress inflammation; slow down cartilage degeneration; and/or decrease knee pain.
Prolotherapy: Prolotherapy involves several injections -15 or 20 – during one treatment session. During treatment, a physician will inject an irritant, such as a dextrose solution, into the arthritic knee joint and surrounding tissues. Limited research suggests this process may stimulate natural tissue repair in the body.