Chronic pain in your knees can reduce mobility and limit your activities. If left untreated, relatively simple knee problems can progress to the point where you can have trouble walking without pain. Luckily, there are many treatments that can reduce or relieve knee pain and help you enjoy your life again.
The following links provide basic information on common causes of knee pain and the newest treatment options:
Early Diagnosis Provides Better Treatment Options
The earlier a problem is diagnosed, the more treatment options you have available, so don't delay getting a medical opinion. We partner with many experienced and highly trained orthopedists to give our community a wide range of medical expertise and access to the latest medical technology.
If you want a medical opinion, review our list of Boulder Valley orthopedists to schedule a consultation.
Causes of Knee Joint Damage and Pain
The most common cause of joint damage, sometimes called degenerative joint disease, occurs when cartilage in the joint wears down, causing the bones to rub together. Signs and symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include:
- Pain during or after movement.
- Warmth in the joint.
- Stiffness when you wake in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
- Loss of flexibility because you can’t move your joint through its full range of motion.
- Creaking or crackly sound during movement.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but non-surgical treatments can relieve knee pain and help you remain active. If the joint degenerates to the point that non-surgical treatments no longer help relieve pain, you should consider knee surgery.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Knee ligaments and cartilage are soft tissues that support the knee joint. They can tear or get injured during sports or other strenuous activities. These soft tissues are most vulnerable to injury:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) can get injured when you change direction rapidly, slow down when running, or land from a jump. People who participate in skiing and basketball and athletes who wear cleats are susceptible to an ACL injury.
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL) usually gets injured from a direct hit to the outside of the knee. These injuries often happen during contact sports such as football or soccer.
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) can get injured from a direct hit to the front of the knee or a misstep. It’s located at the back of the knee joint.
- Meniscus is the most common cartilage that tears. Meniscus tears can occur when twisting, pivoting or decelerating.
- Bursitis is an overuse injury that produces inflammation and excessive fluid within the knee joint. This can occur from running.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Knee Pain
Anti-inflammatory medications or injections can sometimes relieve pain by reducing swelling in the knee joint. Physical therapy and exercise can also relieve pain by strengthening a weak joint. More information about these treatment options can be found at:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy and exercise
Surgical Options for Treating Knee Pain
If pain medications, physical therapy, cortisone injections or walking aids don’t give you relief, then surgery may be the right option for you. Boulder Community offers a comprehensive range of services through our experienced, board-certified orthopedic surgeons supported by highly-trained nurses and technicians.
These knee surgeries are performed at BCH.
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