The knee pain that many individuals experience every now and then can be triggered by various factors. If the individual might have an injury to the ligaments, tendons or muscles that surround the knee. The best way to know for sure is to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis. The doctor will perform tests to determine the exact cause of the knee pain so that appropriate treatment can be started.
The doctor will perform a complete physical exam and review the history of the symptoms. In most cases, this includes the type of pain, what alleviates it and what worsens it.
The doctor will also check for swelling, stiffness and redness that might indicate arthritis. Knee pain on only one joint might indicate osteoarthritis while pain in both is likely rheumatoid arthritis.
The pain of arthritis has the tendency to worsen after periods of inactivity and improves with movement. Remember that this can vary from tendon or ligament injuries that can become worse during movement. Additionally, arthritis can trigger generalized ache while injuries to a ligament or tendon can lead to localized pain.
Imaging tests for arthritis
An X-ray can reveal any changes to the bone which indicates arthritis. When it comes to osteoarthritis, it develops as the cartilage in the knee wears out. Once this occurs, the bone rubs on bone and result to the development of bone spurs.
Take note that an X-ray is a very useful tool in confirming osteoarthritis. Oftentimes, it will reveal the narrowing of the space between the bones as the cartilage thins out as well as the presence of bone spurs. If the doctor could not find anything in the X-ray, an MRI is requested which reveals injuries to the surrounding soft tissue and can rule out arthritis as the cause.
For those who have rheumatoid arthritis, the doctor will utilize a blood test to determine if the knee pain is related to arthritis. This type of arthritis is an autoimmune condition that triggers inflammation to the lining of the knee joint.
With a blood test, it reveals active inflammation as well as other factors linked to the condition. If an individual has rheumatoid arthritis in the knees, the test will reveal a low red blood cell count, elevated white blood cells and platelet count. Additionally, the doctor might aspirate fluid from the knee joint to confirm a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Considerations to bear in mind
Knee pain should not be ignored. If the individual allows an injury or condition to be left untreated, it can lead to a more serious condition. If treatment is started early, the recovery period is faster.
A doctor should be consulted for proper diagnosis so that the appropriate treatment can be started.