What are the consequences of knee pain?
Whether from aging or an injury, knee pain can keep a person from doing the things they enjoy. Sports, travel or hiking, may become difficult or impossible with knee pain.
More serious consequences can include
- Unable to perform a physically demanding job or any job
- Participation in family life is limited, such as activities with a child or partner
- Mental health challenges. Pain can contribute to depression
- Financial burdens medical expenses or expenses related to missing work
What causes knee pain?
Knee pain is a common complaint that may occur after an acute injury or from the general wear-and-tear that happens with age. Pain may be an annoying dull ache or a sharp pain that makes weight-bearing activities impossible.
In addition to the pain, there may be swelling and inflammation in the knee or a crunching sensation when the joint moves.
However, if knee pain is from an injury, causes severe discomfort, or is an ongoing problem, a joint and pain specialist may be asked to determine the cause of the pain and to recommendations for treatment.
Dr. Singla examines the findings and recommendations by doctors who have treated someone alleging knee pain exists and was caused by an accident or negligence. She will also review the opinions and reports of other Independent Medical Examiners who have issued an Expert Witness opinion. She may conduct an IME prior to issuing her objective conclusions.
Knee pain may occur from an acute injury, overuse, aging, or an underlying medical condition. Common causes of knee pain include:
- Runner’s knee
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury
- Meniscus injury
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Can a sports injury cause knee pain?
Athletes who engage in high-impact activities, such as basketball or football, are prone to knee injuries and pain.
A knee injury, no matter the cause, increases risk of developing arthritis-related knee pain later in life.
Professional athletes may experience repetitive injuries to the knee, or any joint. They are especially vulnerable to arthritis and chronic pain, in that regard.
What happens during a medical-legal knee pain evaluation?
Features of a knee pain IME include reviewing with the examinee:
- Type of pain
- Location of the discomfort
- When it started
- How it has changed over time
- Treatment to date
- Pre-existing related conditions or pain in the same area
In Dr. Singla’s clinical practice, she generally examines the knee and may run diagnostic imaging tests, such as X-rays or an MRI, to confirm or rule out suspected causes of knee pain.
In a medicolegal assessment, Dr. Singla may be asked to review imaging ordered by another practitioner or request new imaging.
How is knee pain treated?
For minor knee pain, discomfort may be alleviated at home with rest, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.
If pain persists or is severe from the outset, non-surgical treatments for knee pain include
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Steroid injections
- Regenerative medicine
A physician takes into consideration the cause of the pain.
A repetitive injury is treated differently than a sudden impact injury. Injuries can be occupational such as carpal tunnel syndrome, or sports injuries among amateur and professional athletes.
A degenerative disease may benefit from regenerative medicine. In fact, some impact injuries can lead to degenerative diseases later in life.