Knee or Joint Problems
The knee, the largest joint in the body, is used extensively in many activities. Comprised of bone, cartilage, ligaments and fluid, it’s where the three bones of the upper and lower leg – femur, tibia and patella – meet. Its hinge-like movement provides stability and strength to support the weight of the upper body. This stability and strength, along with flexibility, are needed for us to crouch, jump, pivot, run, stand, and walk. Assisting the knee in doing their job are the bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons; the supporting and moving parts.
Does your knee make unusual noises, like a click, grind or pop? Do you have pain when you kneel? Do your knees lock or buckle? Do you have pain when you run, sit for long periods of time or go down stairs? Are your knees swollen? Do you have stiff knees in the morning? Is there a body lump at the front of your knee? You may be suffering from a knee problem.
Knee problems may be caused by diseases (most commonly arthritis, a degenerative disease where the cartilage in the joint gradually wears away), injuries caused by a direct blow or sudden movement that strains the joint beyond its normal range of motion (ROM), and over-use.
Whatever the cause, knee problems can have a big impact on your life.
Get a Diagnosis
It’s vital that you get a proper diagnosis of your knee problem from a physician who will take your medical history, perform a physical examination and order diagnostic tests to be completed.
Be prepared to share how long your symptoms have been present, and the problems you’ve been encountering with your knee. Share any injuries or health problems that may have caused or can be contributing to the situation.
During the physical examination, the doctor may bend, press, rotate or straighten the knee to feel for injury and see how well the joint moves and find the location of the pain. You may be asked to stand, squat and walk, so he or she can assess how well the knee functions.
Diagnostic tests can include arthroscopy, biopsy, bone scan, computerized axial tomography (CT) scan, joint aspiration, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and x-ray. An accurate diagnosis is the first step in your overcoming knee pain and stopping it from returning!
A knee problem can interfere with many things, from participating in sports to just being able to get up and walk! Forget about jogging or high-impact aerobics; but you may participate in gentle exercise, like water aerobics, swimming or walking.
High Risk for Military Veterans
For those in the military, knee injuries are an increasing problem. Knees are one of the most injured parts in military training. Ligaments can become partially or completely torn, cartilage can be injured, fractured or develop a degenerative condition, bones can break, fracture and chip, tendons can have inflammation and the patellar tendon can be torn. Rough helicopter or aircraft landings, where servicemen and women are jolted to the ground from a substantial height, also contribute to knee problems.
Military veterans are used to an active lifestyle, and damage to the knees can make mobility a problem. That’s why knee problems are among the ailments that make veterans eligible for disability compensation. The following conditions, symptoms and examples of the knee and lower leg are listed on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Disability Benefits Questionnaire: ankylosis of the knee, functional limitations, knee cartilage problems, knee instability, locked knee, meniscus lesions, and subluxation of the knee.
Take control of your knee problem today! An orthopedic surgeon, a doctor trained in both surgical and non-surgical treatment of bones, joints and soft tissues, treat extensive injuries and diseases of the knee. Rheumatologists treat arthritis of the knee.