Why do I have knee pain?
We use our knees every day. As we age, these joints lose their lubrication and the cartilage wears down, causing painful friction between the tibia and femur.
As the cartilage wears away, the bone underneath it degenerates and the other parts of the joint such as the ligaments and muscles, are also affected. This leads to chronic pain and a specific condition called Osteoarthritis (OA). Believe it or not, OA can affect your knee as early as your 20s or 30s – particularly for athletes who have had a prior knee injury.
The cartilage in your knee can also degenerate faster by certain factors including obesity, knee injury, and high-impact sports.
How do I know if I am developing Osteoarthritis?
We’ve compiled a number of resources to help you understand the implications of living with Osteoarthritis (OA). Some signs that you are developing OA include:
- Sharp pains in your knee(s) while playing sports
- Swelling and/or pain in your knee(s) after playing sports
- Taking ibuprofen to be able to play a sport (or taking it right after playing to reduce pain)
- An aching or soreness in your knee(s), especially with movement
- Pain and/or swelling after overuse or long periods of inactivity
- Joint stiffness, especially in the morning and when standing up
- Cracking, popping, and or grinding in the joint when walking and during certain movements like squatting
- Discomfort caused by ascending or descending stairs and inclines.
I’ve played sports for years. Should I worry about my knees?
In a word, yes. Studies show that if you’ve trained, practiced, and played a sport at an above novice level, you are more likely to develop Osteoarthritis (degeneration or destruction of the joint). Examples of high-impact sports include basketball, soccer, football, skiing, ballet, track & field, ice skating, tennis, and many others.
The earlier you begin treating OA, the more likely you are to prevent further damage. Therefore, the most important thing you can do is schedule an evaluation – especially if you are beginning to feel soreness or stiffness in your knees.
Even if you aren’t yet experiencing pain, an assessment of your knee can determine whether your knee joint is beginning to break down. Starting treatment now can actually initiate repair of your joint before the condition progresses.
I damaged a ligament/meniscus in my knee. Will that affect my knees later on?
Unfortunately, those who have experienced a previous knee injury are at 7 times greater risk of developing Osteoarthritis. Researchers have determined about 50% of patients who suffer a traumatic injury to the knee – such as an ACL or meniscus tear – develop OA between 7-10 years later. As your OA progresses, the pain and inflammation can interfere with your daily activities and bring your participation in athletic events to a screeching halt.
By ignoring your knee pain and trying to “play through it,” you are accelerating the breakdown of your cushioning cartilage. Eventually, the damage will be irreparable, and there will be nothing you can do to save your joint.
Give us a call at (503) 719 – 6783 to schedule an evaluation of your knee today, so you can begin reaping the benefits from injection therapy, enhance your performance, and feel less pain during the activities you love.