Knee pain can affect people of all ages and can interfere with everyday life. There are several possible causes of knee pain, ranging from normal wear and tear over time to autoimmune diseases.
Common Causes of Knee Pain
Arthritis is one of the most common causes of knee pain. While arthritis is generally associated with age-related wear and tear, inflammatory forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can affect younger people.
Osteoarthritis wears away the cartilage in the knee over time, and may eventually result in the bones rubbing together. This can cause stiffness and pain. While osteoarthritis is more common in people over the age of 50, a younger person may develop this condition in the knee as the result of injury.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease characterized by inflammation of the joint lining. Because it is an autoimmune disease, it is more likely than osteoarthritis to affect younger people. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks the synovium, a membrane that lines the knee joint. This results in inflammation that can damage the cartilage in the knee. In addition to pain and stiffness, people with rheumatoid arthritis may experience inflammation and swelling of the knee.
Nonoperative treatment is often recommended in the early stages of arthritis, including anti-inflammatory medications, ice, and physical therapy. However, nonsurgical management of arthritis pain is not always effective. Symptoms of arthritis can interfere with a patient’s everyday activities and can make it difficult to get around. For these patients, knee replacement surgery is often the best option to relieve knee pain and restore function.
Sports-Related Injuries and Trauma
Trauma and sports-related injuries can also cause knee pain. These injuries often occur in the ligaments, tendons, and cartilage in the knee. Many sports-related injuries can be treated with nonoperative methods like rest, ice, compression, and elevation. However, some ligament tears may require surgery to restore full function to the knee.
How Dr. Harwin Can Help
Dr. Harwin’s practice focuses on knee pain that requires knee replacement surgery. If knee pain interferes with your everyday life, Dr. Harwin will be happy to evaluate you to determine whether you are a candidate for knee replacement surgery. Dr. Harwin will never recommend surgery if it is not the best option for a patient. If he feels that your knee pain would be best treated with nonoperative measures, he will refer you to a colleague who can treat you with nonsurgical methods.
While candidates for knee replacement surgery must be chosen selectively, and surgical eligibility depends on the individual patient, candidates generally have severe pain and stiffness that interferes with daily activities; is present while patients are at rest; and does not improve with nonsurgical methods.
Dr. Harwin offers both partial and total knee replacement procedures to treat knee pain, as well as revision knee replacement procedures for patients who experience wear and tear or loosening of a previously-placed knee implant. Partial knee replacement or knee resurfacing may be recommended if the arthritis damage is limited to one section, or compartment, of the knee. In a partial knee replacement, only the damaged portion of the knee is resurfaced. This approach is often recommended for younger patients who are younger and have less overall wear and tear. The goal of partial knee replacement is to preserve as much of the natural bone as possible.
Because traditional knee implants often don't fit the bone properly, Dr. Harwin uses implants that are specially designed to better fit both men and women. He also uses implants that provide better stability throughout the arc of motion of the knee.
Because he is located in New York City, Dr. Harwin sees patients from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds, and offers surgical solutions to fit the needs of all of his patients. He offers bloodless surgery for patients whose religions forbid blood transfusions, including Jehovah’s Witnesses. He also treats Asian-American patients who come from cultures in which sitting or kneeling on the floor is common for dining or formal events. Traditional knee replacement implants do not provide the range of motion that these patients need. As a solution, he offers knee replacement implants that allow for a greater range of motion than traditional knee implants.