About Knee Pain
The knee is one of the most common sites of pain. It is a weight-bearing joint, so in addition to all the wear-and-tear that happens from moving it every day, it also has the forces of body weight and gravity acting upon it. When structures in and around the knee—bone, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments—become damaged, the result is pain and sometimes even disability.
Knee pain has many potential sources. These can be:
- Knee osteoarthritis
- ACL injuries or injuries to other ligaments, instability
- Meniscus injuries
- Tendinitis and tendinosis
Basic Knee Anatomy
The knee is one of the more complicated joints. It involves three bones—the femur (thigh bone), the tibia (shin bone) and the patella (kneecap)—as well as a number of ligaments and tendons. Articular cartilage wraps the ends of the femur and tibia so they glide together smoothly, while pads of cartilage called menisci (singular meniscus) act as shock absorbers between the femur and tibia. Cartilage can also be found on the underside of the patella.
Major tendons that attach muscles in the area to bone include the patellar tendon and the quadriceps tendon. The knee also has a number of ligaments that connect the femur and tibia to each other. These include:
- Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
- Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
- Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
- Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
"I have arthritis in my SI joints which caused pain down my right leg at night. I was awake every two hours. Back surgery was not for me. I searched the internet for regenerative medicine and found Dr. Lehman. Dr. Lehman is an expert in regenerative medicine. She's compassionate and always available to answer my concerns. Dr. Lehman did PRP injections on my left side first and a month later the right side. It's been three months and the pain is only a slight ache. I'm convinced I will be pain free very soon. Highly recommend Dr. Lehman."- B.M. / Healthgrades / Feb 25, 2021
"Dr Lehaman takes pride in her practice . I can not reccomend her enough. She takes pride in her work and wants her patients to feel better. I wish I would have met her 2 years ago before all the other treatment I went through. I was so much better in 3 weeks and could use my arm again after 2 years of not being able to... I would give a 100 stars if I could"- D.S. / Google / Feb 17, 2021
"Had injection for Achilles pain with great results. Dr. Lehman immediately connects with you as a team player to get you well, kind, caring, knowledgeable, schedules her time as if you're the only patient in the office, not in a hurry, answers any and all questions, explains procedures and options, doesn't sell anything, just potential solutions to your pain, wish more family and internal docs would recommend Dr. Lehman as an option before recommending surgical specialists. Also a shout out to Jennifer in the front office for her efficiency in keeping things running smoothly. Thank you Dr. Lehman...grateful for you and your expertise!!"- R.W. / Google / Jan 19, 2021
"Dr. Lehman is the reason my 99 year old mother is still able to keep walking, relatively pain free. Because of her age, no one will perform surgery on my mothers knees. Dr. Lehman meet with mom about 3 years to discuss what can actually be done to help mom with her painful knees. Since that time, mom has been able to get fairly long term relief from the treatments Dr. Lehman has offered. Thank you Dr. Lehman, we owe you so much!!"- N.A. / Google / Jan 19, 2021
"Excellent treatment and results, Had 3 rotator cuff tears which Dr. Lehman treated with plasma and stem cell injections. 4 months later no pain and full range of motion! Much better option than surgery! Highly recommend Dr. Lehman and her expertise."- Anonymous / Vitals / Dec 05, 2020
Types of Knee Pain
Knee osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis, sometimes known as wear-and-tear arthritis, is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the articular cartilage of bones in a joint breaks down, eventually leading to painful joint fluid environment. These tiny fragments of worn off cartilage cause an irritating chemical reaction in the knee fluid of the joint, which can be a large source of the pain. This explains why a joint that isn’t “bone-on-bone” can be quite painful and why a “bone-on-bone” knee can sometimes not hurt.
The knee is one of the most common sites for osteoarthritis. There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but its progression can be slowed. Traditionally, a total knee replacement was a patient’s only option for advanced knee osteoarthritis.
Meniscus tears: The menisci sit between the femur and tibia and act as a shock absorber for and secondary stabilizer of the knee. The meniscus can become torn due to age-related degeneration or trauma. Meniscus injuries are extremely common. Due to a lack of blood vessels in the area, the meniscus cannot easily heal itself. Surgery to remove these torn areas is commonly performed, but when arthritis is also present, this surgery often proves ineffective.
Ligament injuries: Four ligaments—ACL, PCL, LCL, and MCL—act as the primary stabilizers for the knee joint. ACL tears are a common source of knee pain, creating instability and preventing patients from engaging in rotational and side-to-side movement. ACL tears and other forms of ligament injuries can sometimes be treated without surgery, but full tears require a tissue graft to repair.
Tendinopathy: The quadriceps tendon, which attaches the quadriceps muscle to the kneecap, is the main tendon in the knee joint area. There is also the patellar tendon, but since it connects the kneecap to the tibia it is actually a ligament. Either or both of these tissues can become frayed and weakened through wear and tear, or torn by way of traumatic injury.
New Options for Treating Knee Pain
Nearly every form of traditional knee pain treatment, be it surgical or nonsurgical, has its problems. Some, such as corticosteroid injections, can be toxic to surrounding tissue. Others, such as ACL reconstruction and total knee replacement, are complex and invasive surgeries that require a long recovery. Some medications, including opioids, only treat symptoms rather than the root cause of knee pain and can be extremely addictive.
But what if there was another option? A nonsurgical approach that is safe, effective, and easy to recover from? Enter orthobiologic treatments using a person's own growth factors and cells, commonly referred to as cellular therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
Each month, researchers produce more scientific evidence pointing to the viability of bone marrow and PRP for orthopedic pain conditions. What’s more, knee pain conditions are some of the most studied and most receptive in relation to this type of treatment.
ACL injuries: Traditionally, the only way to repair a torn ACL is through costly, invasive surgery. That may still be the most appropriate treatment option for some people, but with the advent of orthobiological treatment, there is another effective, less invasive option. Bone marrow injections have been shown in research to improve pain, function, and structural integrity in treating ACL tears.
Knee osteoarthritis: Knee osteoarthritis is a lifelong condition that may eventually require a total knee replacement. Conventional treatments focus on reducing pain but can carry complications. Both bone marrow and PRP have been shown in research to improve pain, function, swelling, and in some cases, increase articular cartilage thickness.
Tendinopathy: Treatment for tendinopathy is limited to pain- and inflammation-reducing medication and surgical repair. Corticosteroids, a powerful anti-inflammatory drug that can reduce pain, can actually increase the risk of a tendon rupture when used to treat tendinopathy by weakening the tissue. PRP and cells can both improve pain and quality of life without the risk of further tendon injury, according to research.
Meniscus injuries: Meniscus injuries, while common, can be difficult to treat due to a lack of blood supply. Researchers have found that PRP can increase the formation of new blood vessels in and near the meniscus, which can speed healing and reduce pain. The use of bone marrow has been shown in some studies to be effective in promoting meniscus regeneration as well.
If you are looking for an effective alternative to surgery for your painful knee condition, request an appointment with Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics. Through ultrasound-guided injections, Dr. Lehman can pinpoint the source of your knee pain and deliver safe, effective healing compounds from your own body.
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