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Basics of Knee Pain

Like other joints that carry your weight, your knees may be at risk for "wear and tear" arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of the disease. The smooth articular cartilage (cushion) that helps your knee joint glide may wear thin. Your first sign may be some discomfort and stiffness in your knee when you wake up in the morning. The pain flares when you're active and gets better when you rest. 


If you don't get treatment for arthritis of the knee, the condition keeps getting

worse until resting no longer relieves your pain. The knee joint gets stiff and

inflamed. Bone spurs might build up at the edges of the joint. When the

cartilage wears away completely, bones rub directly against each other.

This makes it very painful for you to move. If you become less active to

avoid the pain, the muscles controlling your joint get weak, and you may

start to limp. 

You're more likely to get arthritis if you have a family history of the disease.

You're also at risk if you are elderly, obese or have an injury that puts stress

on your knee cartilage. You can still get arthritis even if you don't have any risk factors. 

Treatment options

While you cannot reverse the effects of arthritis, early nonsurgical treatment may help control your symptoms and decrease your pain and disability.  Surgery can help you if your condition is severe, the nonsurgical treatment has failed, and your quality of life is severely compromised by your knee pain. 

Nonsurgical treatment

If you have early arthritis of the knee, possible treatments include: 

  • Rest your knee from overuse (avoid running, jumping or high impact activity).

  • Follow a physical therapy program of gentle, regular exercise like swimming, water aerobics, walking on even, non-inclined terrain, or cycling to keep your joint functioning and improve its strength and range of motion. 

  • Use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Motrin, diclofenac, Aleve, naproxen, ibuprofen, etc. for pain (if you have no medical contraindications). Discuss with your PCP before starting. 

  • Corticosteroid injections in the knee can provide temporary relief  in your knee

  • You may need to lose weight if you are overweight.

  • As the disease progresses, you may need to use a cane. 

Knee replacement surgery

If you have advance stages of arthritis and your knee is severely limiting you on a daily basis, you may be a candidate for partial or total knee replacement surgery (arthroplasty).  This operation is intended to cure your pain and improve your ability to walk. Additional information can be obtained here.  Please contact our office to schedule an appointment if you would like to discuss partial or total knee replacement surgery with Dr. Kahlenberg: 203-705-2376.

knee pain

Disclaimer: All materials presented on this website are the presented for information only and should not be construed as medical advice. Each patient’s specific condition is different, and a comprehensive medical assessment requires a full medical history, physical exam, and review of diagnostic imaging. If you would like to seek the opinion of Dr. Kahlenberg for your specific case, we recommend contacting our office to make an appointment.

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