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Treating Pain for: Knee

Knee pain and loss of knee function can drastically impact your quality of life. Fortunately, New England Baptist Hospital (NEBH) can help.

We are a specialty hospital: Our entire hospital focuses solely on orthopedics, with expertise spanning routine treatments to the most complex surgery. So whether it's a sports injury or degeneration of the knee that comes with age, NEBH has knee experts ready to get you moving again.

Our approach to treating knee pain is based on decades of researching outcomes and experience in caring for more patients with knee problems than any other Massachusetts hospital. 

Finding the Cause of Your Knee Pain

Anatomy of Knee.jpgDiagnosing a knee problem typically begins with a medical history and thorough physical examination. Your doctor will ask you about your pain and what lifestyle you'd like to get back to. Plane radiographs, such as X-rays, are often suggested. 

Sometimes further testing, such as an MRI, is needed to make a precise diagnosis. For these cases, NEBH has dedicated musculoskeletal radiologists and neuroradiologists. Their specialized expertise in reading images gives us a distinct advantage in pinpointing the cause of knee pain, particularly if it involves the natural breakdown of the knee due to age. 

Knee problems can evolve with age as a result of changes in lifestyle and the natural aging process. 

Young Adults

Knee pain in young adults usually is caused by either trauma or overuse.

Common traumatic knee injuries, such as those that occur during sports, include anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, combined knee ligament injuries and meniscal tear. These types of injuries often require surgery.

Common knee problems due to overuse include patellofemoral pain (runner's knee), tendonitis, bursitis and osteochondritis dissecans. Mild cases of these conditions are treated non-surgically, while severe cases often involve complex surgery. NEBH serves as a major referral center for these severe cases. 

Middle-Aged Adults

People aged 40 to 65 years may suffer many of the same traumatic injuries seen in young people. They're also prone to problems associated with the knee breaking down as part of the natural aging process.

Articular cartilage breakdown — which can signal the beginning of osteoarthritis or posttraumatic arthritis — is the most common form of knee degeneration. At NEBH, we apply a variety of advanced non-surgical techniques that have proven effective in treating this source of knee pain. 

Seniors

While knee joint replacement may be an option for treating knee pain in middle-aged people, it becomes a more serious possibility in adults aged 65 years and older. Learn more about knee replacement at NEBH. 

Developing a Personalized Treatment Plan

Once a diagnosis is made and your team understands your goals for treatment, we'll develop a personalized treatment plan for you. The plan covers everything from preadmission screening and education through treatment and rehabilitation.

Whenever possible, we try to treat knee problems without surgery. Common non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone injections and viscosupplementation (hyaluronic acid, an alternative to steroids) injections
  • Bracing to keep your knee from moving and allow it to heal
  • Outpatient physical therapy

These non-surgical treatment options may be used prior to surgery or by themselves without surgery. If they haven't relieved your knee pain or improved function, knee surgery may be appropriate. (For some diagnoses, knee surgery will be the best and first treatment option.) Your doctor will work with you to make the best decision based on your particular needs.

Click here to consult with one of our expert orthopedists, or call NEBH at 855-370-NEBH (6324) for a referral.