"Ooohhh? my aching knee!!!" Insider Secrets on How You Can Get Relief Quickly and Easily!
When your knee hurts, getting relief is all that's on your mind. Getting the right relief, though, depends on knowing what's wrong. The correct diagnosis will lead to the correct treatment.
Know Your Knee!
The knee is the largest joint in the body. It's also one of the most complicated. The knee joint is made up of four bones that are connected by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The femur (large thigh bone) interacts with the two shin bones, the tibia (the larger one) located towards the inside and the fibula (the smaller one) located towards the outside. Where the femur meets the tibia is termed the joint line. The patella, (the knee cap) is the bone that sits in the front of the knee. It slides up and down in a groove in the lower part of the femur (the femoral groove) as the knee bends and straightens.
Ligaments are the strong rope-like structures that help connect bones and provide stability. In the knee, there are four major ligaments. On the inner (medial) aspect of the knee is the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and on the outer (lateral) aspect of the knee is the lateral collateral ligament (LCL). The other two main ligaments are found in the center of the knee. These ligaments are called the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). They are called cruciate ligaments because the ACL crosses in front of the PCL. Other smaller ligaments help hold the patella in place in the center of the femoral groove.
Two structures called menisci sit between the femur and the tibia. These structures act as cushions or shock absorbers. They also help provide stability for the knee. The menisci are made of a tough material called fibrocartilage. There is a medial meniscus and a lateral meniscus. When either meniscus is damaged it is called a "torn cartilage".
There is another type of cartilage in the knee called hyaline cartilage. This cartilage is a smooth shiny material that covers the bones in the knee joint. In the knee, hyaline cartilage covers the ends of the femur, the femoral groove, the top of the tibia and the underside of the patella. Hyaline cartilage allows the knee bones to move easily as the knee bends and straightens.
Tendons connect muscles to bone. The large quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh attach to the top of the patella via the quadriceps tendon. This tendon inserts on the patella and then continues down to form the rope-like patellar tendon. The patellar tendon in turn, attaches to the front of the tibia. The hamstring muscles on the back of the thigh attach to the tibia at the back of the knee. The quadriceps muscles are the muscles that straighten the knee. The hamstring muscles are the main muscles that bend the knee.
Bursae are small fluid filled sacs that decrease the friction between two tissues. Bursae also protect bony structures. There are many different bursae around the knee but the ones that are most important are the prepatellar bursa in front of the knee cap, the infrapatellar bursa just below the kneecap, the anserine bursa, just below the joint line and to the inner side of the tibia, and the semimembranous bursa in the back of the knee. Normally, a bursa has very little fluid in it but if it becomes irritated it can fill with fluid and become very large.
Is it bursitis... or tendonitis...or arthritis?
Tendonitis generally affects either the quadriceps tendon or patellar tendon. Repetitive jumping or trauma may set off tendonitis. The pain is felt in the front of the knee and there is tenderness as well as swelling involving the tendon. With patellar tendonitis, the infrapatellar bursa will often be inflamed also. Treatment involves rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication. Injections are rarely used. Physical therapy with ultrasound and iontopheresis may help.
Bursitis pain is common. The prepatellar bursa may become inflamed particularly in patients who spend a lot of time on their knees (carpet layers). The bursa will become swollen. The major concern here is to make sure the bursa is not infected. The bursa should be aspirated (fluid withdrawn by needle) by a specialist. The fluid should be cultured. If there is no infection, the bursitis may be treated with anti-jnflammatory medicines, ice, and physical therapy. Knee pads should be worn to prevent a recurrence once the initial bursitis is cleared up.
Anserine bursitis often occurs in overweight people who also have osteoarthritis of the knee. Pain and some swelling is noted in the anserine bursa. Treatment consists of steroid injection, ice, physical therapy, and weight loss.
The semimembranous bursa can be affected when a patient has fluid in the knee (a knee effusion). The fluid will push backwards and the bursa will become filled with fluid and cause a sensation of fullness and tightness in the back of the knee. This is called a Baker's cyst. If the bursa ruptures, the fluid will dissect down into the calf. The danger here is that it may look like a blood clot in the calf. A venogram and ultrasound test will help differentiate a ruptured Baker's cyst from a blood clot. The Baker's cyst is treated with aspiration of the fluid from the knee along with steroid injection, ice, and elevation of the leg.
Knock out knee arthritis... simple steps you can take! Younger people who have pain in the front of the knee have what is called patellofemoral syndrome (PFS). Two major conditions cause PFS. The first is chondromalacia patella. This is a condition where the cartilage on the underside of the knee cap softens and is particularly common in young women. Another cause of pain behind the knee cap in younger people may be a patella that doesn't track normally in the femoral groove. For both chondromalacia as well as a poorly tracking patella, special exercises, taping, and anti-inflammatory medicines may be helpful. If the patellar tracking becomes a significant problem despite conservative measures, surgery is need.
While many types of arthritis may affect the knee, osteoarthritis is the most common. Osteoarthritis usually affects the joint between the femur and tibia in the medial (inner) compartment of the knee. Osteoarthritis may also involve the joint between the femur and tibia on the outer side of the knee as well as the joint between the femur and patella. Why osteoarthritis develops is still being scrutinized carefully. It seems to consist of a complex interaction of genetics, mechanical factors, and immune system involvement. The immune system attacks the joint through a combination of degradative enzymes and inflammatory chemical messengers called cytokines.
Patients will sometimes feel a sensation of rubbing or grinding. The knee will become stiff if the patient sits for any length of time. With local inflammation, the patient may experience pain at night and get relief from sleeping with a pillow between the knees. Occasionally, locking and clicking may be noticed. Patients with osteoarthritis may also tear the fibrocartilage cushions (menisci) in the knee more easily than people without osteoarthritis.
So how is the arthritis treated? An obvious place to start is weight reduction for patients who carry around too many pounds.
Strengthening exercises for the knee are also useful for many people. These should be done under the supervision of a physician or physical therapist.
Other therapies include ice, anti inflammatory medicines, and occasionally steroid injections. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements may be helpful. A word of caution... make sure the preparation you buy is pure and contains what the label says it does. The supplement industry is unregulated... so buyer beware!
Injections of the knee with viscosupplements - lubricants- are particularly useful for many patients. Special braces may help to unload the part of the joint that is affected.
Arthroscopic techniques may be beneficial in special circumstances. Occasionally, a surgical procedure called an osteotomy, where a wedge of bone is removed from the tibia to "even things out," may be recommended. Joint replacement surgery is required for end stage knee arthritis.
Research is being done to develop medicines that will slow down the rate of cartilage loss. Targets for these new therapies include the destructive enzymes and/or cytokines that degrade cartilage. It is hoped that by inhibiting these enzymes and cytokines and by boosting the ability of cartilage to repair itself, that therapies designed to actually reverse osteoarthritis may be created. These are referred to as disease-modifying osteoarthritis drugs or "DMOADs." Genetic markers may identify high risk patients who need more aggressive therapies.
Newer compounds that are injected into the knee and provide healing as well as lubrication are also being developed. And finally, less invasive surgical techniques are also being looked at. Recent technological advances in "mini" knee replacement look very promising.
Dr. Wei (pronounced "way") is a board-certified rheumatologist and Clinical Director of the nationally respected Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and has served as a consultant to the Arthritis Branch of the National Institutes of Health. He is a Fellow of the American College of Rheumatology and the American College of Physicians. Dr. Wei is the editor of the arthritis-treatment-and-relief.com website.
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Things are moving forward and new and advanced procedures are being developed for those who originally could not receive the standard Lasik procedure. Dr.
Implant Dentistry - The Convenient and Safe Alternative to Dentures
If you are missing a tooth or a group of teeth, you may find that you are afraid to smile, you don't like to speak because you think you sound funny, or you may not be able to eat certain foods that you enjoy. Until recently, your only option was to replace these missing teeth with dentures.
Generic Drug: Its Pros and Cons
A generic drug can be defined as an identical, or bioequivalent to a brand name drug in its dosage form, safety, strength, route of administration, quality, performance characteristics and intended use. Although generic drugs are chemically identical to their branded counterparts, they are typically sold at substantial discounts from the branded price.
NIH Official Altered Drug Study
NIH Official Altered Drug StudyDr. Edmund Tramont, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease Division of AIDS, altered the conclusions from a safety report on pregnant women taking the drug nevirapine in order to cover up its negative side effects.
Three Questions People Are Asking About Health Care in America
Q. Why is there so may uninsured people in America?A.
Cetyl Myristoleate Seperating Fact From Fiction
I am a strong believer in Cetyl Myristoleate for the treatment of arthritis. For the last three years I have been researching and writing about Cetyl Myristoleate.
Lipitor Lawyer: Statin Drugs Cause Muscle Damage in 98%
Doctors have been encouraged to prescribe the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins quite liberally. Patients who suffer heart attacks often have elevated levels of cholesterol, so statins like Lipitor are prescribed to lower the cholesterol.
Be Informed About The Medications You Take
The recent withdrawal of the prescription drugs Vioxx and Bextra have arthritis patients concerned about their health, lawyers busy with lawsuits, and Congress poring over thousands of pages of documents obtained from the manufacturer. The drugs, part of a family of medications known as COX-2 inhibitors, have recently been shown to increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes among users who take the drugs for long periods of time.
Naturopathic Medicine is an holistic approach that relies on natural remedies. Sunlight, air, and water are thought of as natural healers; this, along with nutritional supplements and massage therapies are all part of naturopathic medicine.
Online Pharmacies are Making it Possible for Internet Consumers to Acquire Prescriptions Online
Internet Pharmacies are convenient and quick, but some websites selling prescriptions may be putting your health at risk. Consumers must take into account risk factors involved with ordering prescriptions online.
3 Facts Everyone Should Know About Stem Cells
Cord BloodCord Blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth. Cord Blood is routinely discarded with the placenta and umbilical cord.
Jet Lag Pills - Panacea or Placebo Effect?
We live in an age that demands an instant cure for every conceivable ailment under the sun and so it's no surprise that jet lag has joined the band of conditions for which there is the promise of a cure in the form of a pill. But can a pill really provide the panacea to jet lag, or are the results of taking such pills nothing more than imagined.
Health Information: Coping With Stomach Ulcers
Do you suffer from ulcers?If yes, what kind is it and how do you cope?In American society where most people depend on junk food, ulcers can become a familiar and persistent health problem.Some of these foods contain additives and chemicals that can become toxic in our bodies and so cause various health ailments including ulcers.
Online Pharmacy Watch: DEA Does Spring Cleaning Of Illegal Internet Pharmacies
Since early 2004, it has become more apparent every day that the online pharmacy industry is being destroyed. Who is doing such damage to bring the industry crashing down, you ask? So far, the people responsible are savvy businessmen who are using their skills to create temporary safety nets for black-hat operations using loopholes in international security.
Three Antioxidants (ginko biloba, grade seed extract, and selenium) for Alzheimers Treatment
Checklist of Treatments for Alzheimer's DiseasePart 3 of 83. Three Antioxidants: ginko biloba, selenium, grape seed extract.
OxyContin Addiction: Doctors & Drug Lords
OxyContin is a narcotic drug, an opiate, that has been approved by the FDA to legally treat chronic pain. Chronic pain is documented medical condition, a progressive disease of the nervous system and spine that causes constant a patient to experience constant, excruciating pain.
Prescription Drug Side Effects: Treating From The Outside Or The Inside?
Throughout time there have always been two opposing points of view as to how to maintain good health, or how to regain it after having lost it. This conflict has continued since ancient times .
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