Knee pain frequently asked questions
Are you suffering from chronic knee pain? Maybe you have osteoarthritis and have just learned you need to have knee surgery. Or perhaps you’re just curious about the acute, persistent pain in your knee. Regardless of what brought you here, we know facing chronic knee pain can be a tough period in your life, and you’re likely to have a few questions. We hope our list of frequently asked questions can leave you feeling a little more knowledgeable about this condition.
First, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Many adults, particularly athletes and active adults, suffer from chronic knee pain – and the leading cause, osteoarthritis, affects over 27 million adults in the United States alone. While this condition can affect any joint in the body, it is found most often in weight-bearing joints like the knee. The CDC estimates that 46% of people will develop osteoarthritis or knee pain symptoms in their lifetime. Since there is currently no cure for these symptoms, it is important to diagnose and manage the condition as soon as possible.
Get in touch with us or visit our blog if you can’t find the answer you’re looking for in our frequently asked questions list. We are more than happy to talk with you about your available treatment options, and what to expect going forward.
1. What are the common symptoms of knee osteoarthritis?
The main symptoms commonly associated with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee are:
- Knee aches and pain that worsens when you are active and improves with rest
- Stiffness, especially in the morning and when standing up
- Cracking and popping when moving the knee
2. What causes osteoarthritis of the knee?
Although it’s difficult to be absolutely certain of the specific cause of OA in your knee, some contributing factors are:
- Previous injury
- Wear and tear on the knee over many years
- Advancing age
- Excessive weight
- Genetics: It may “run in the family”
- Gender: Women are more likely than men to have OA of the knee
3. How do you diagnose osteoarthritis of the knee?
Diagnosis of osteoarthritis is simple and non-invasive. A physician will perform a physical exam of your knee to check for the range of motion and ask about any pain you feel. They will also ask questions about family history and levels of activity. An X-ray is used to look at the knee joint for misalignment and check the cartilage that promotes healthy movement of the knee. An ultrasound can also be performed to examine additional structures of the knee such as the meniscus, ligaments and tendons.
4. What are the levels of osteoarthritis of the knee?
Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is a chronic condition that gradually worsens over time. Athletes, in particular, are at a higher risk for developing OA due to increased pressure on load-bearing joints. The levels range from mild: slight pain when walking or moving the joint, to severe: debilitating pain. Learn more about the progress of OA on our knee osteoarthritis page.
5. When should I seek treatment for my chronic knee pain?
The best solution is treatment of the condition to manage pain, reduce damage in the future, and promote the full range of motion of the knee. It is recommended to be as proactive as possible about treatment to ensure sustained ability to compete. See a physician if you ever feel pain in your knee for more than a couple of weeks, regardless of age. The earlier you seek treatment the easier it is to prevent excessive damage to the knee joint, which can prevent the need for eventual knee replacement.
6. How do you treat knee pain?
Treatment is different for every patient. It is important to consult with a physician to find the best treatment for you. Simple changes, such as diet and exercise, can be an effective form of treatment for very mild cases of knee pain. In most cases, medical treatment of some kind is required.
Medical treatments vary by severity. For many patients, incorporating a knee brace into activities is a great option to promote the proper range of motion. Viscosupplementation, the injection of healthy fluids into the knee joint, is also commonly used. Another option is Platelet Rich Plasma therapy. Physical Therapy is often used in conjunction with one or both treatments above.
At Reflex, we believe in preventing or postponing the need for knee replacement surgery as long as possible. Given other less invasive options, it is important to explore available treatments with one of our physicians.
7. What is platelet-rich plasma therapy?
Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) is a relatively simple process in which your body’s potent healing factors are concentrated from a sample of blood and re-injected into a damaged or injured area (i.e. knee joint). This is a procedure that can be easily performed in the clinic, and takes approximately 45 minutes.
8. How does PRP work?
Platelets are a treasure trove of several healing factors which work to reduce pain and inflammation in the knee joint, as well as promote healing and improve joint function and decreased pain.
9. What is Hyaluronan?
Hyaluronan is a natural substance found in the fluid that surrounds a healthy knee. This fluid is called synovial fluid and it helps cushion, lubricate and protect the knee. In people with chronic knee pain or Osteoarthritis, the synovial fluid becomes thinner and less able to do its job. This requires supplementation to reinvigorate the knee and provide needed nutrients to the joints.
10. How do Hyaluronan injections work?
When Hyaluronan is injected into the knee it replenishes the fluid in the knee and helps restore the ability of the synovial fluid to cushion, lubricate and protect the knee. This Joint Fluid Therapy is designed to help reduce knee pain.
11. Are knee injections painful?
Most patients do not express feeling any pain during the injection or after the procedure. It will feel similar to a flu shot, with only mild discomfort.
12. What is viscosupplementation?
Viscosupplementation is another name for our Joint Fluid Therapy. It is the injection of fluids into a joint to alleviate and repair damage done to the knee through wear and tear.
13. Do I need to be referred by my general practitioner?
No referral is necessary for an initial knee consultation for most insurance companies. You can call us directly at (503) 719-6783 to set up your initial evaluation, or fill out our Appointment Form.
12. How long does an appointment last?
A typical first-time consultation will last about 60 minutes here at Reflex, but this can vary depending on the physician. A typical injection-only appointment will last 15 minutes.
13. Will my private medical insurance cover the costs?
Reflex knee injection treatments are covered by most insurance providers. The process of obtaining reimbursement varies from plan to plan. Reflex will contact your insurance provider on your behalf before you begin treatment to find out if Joint Fluid Therapy is covered by your insurance plan. Our financial associate will go over the expected costs based on personal insurance at the end of your initial evaluation.
14. Will Medicare cover the costs?
Yes. Reflex knee injection treatments are eligible for reimbursement by Medicare.
We hope our list of Osteoarthritis frequently asked questions has been helpful to you. Please let us know if you have any more questions about the condition or possible treatments.
If you have other questions, please call our office at (503) 719-6783